The high rate of severe injuries associated with racing greyhounds poses a significant problem for both animal welfare and the racing industry. Using accelerometry to develop a better understanding of the complex gait of these agile canines may help to eliminate injury contributing factors. This study used a single Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) equipped with a tri-axial accelerometer to characterise the galloping of thirty-one greyhounds on five different race tracks. The dorsal-ventral and anterior-posterior accelerations were analysed in both the time and frequency domains. The fast Fourier transform (FFT) and Morlet wavelet transform were applied to signals. The time-domain signals were synced with the corresponding high frame rate videos of the race. It is observed that the acceleration peaks in the dorsal-ventral accelerations correspond to the hind-leg strikes which were noted to be fifteen times the greyhound’s weight. The FFT analysis showed that the stride frequencies in all tracks were around 3.5 Hz. The Morlet wavelet analysis also showed a reduction in both the frequency and magnitude of signals, which suggests a speed reduction throughout the race. Also, by detecting abrupt changes along the track, the wavelet analysis highlighted potentially hazardous locations on the track. In conclusion, the methods applied in this research contribute to animal safety and welfare by eliminating the factors leading to injuries through optimising the track design and surface type.
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