Occupational risks of working with horses: A questionnaire survey of equine veterinary surgeons

Parkin, T.D.H. , Brown, J. and Macdonald, E.B. (2018) Occupational risks of working with horses: A questionnaire survey of equine veterinary surgeons. Equine Veterinary Education, 30(4), pp. 200-205. (doi:10.1111/eve.12891)

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Abstract

Limited scientific evidence from other countries and plenty of anecdotal evidence suggest that the risk of personal injury in equine veterinary practice is high. However, a comprehensive description of the types of risks to which equine veterinary surgeons expose themselves has not previously been available. The aim of this study was to quantify the number, types and causes of personal injury sustained by equine veterinary practitioners in the UK. An interview (and online) questionnaire-based survey was conducted with a large number of equine veterinary practitioners. Questions were designed to identify the number of injuries sustained during the respondent's career to date and to acquire details of the worst injury sustained including cause, treatment and short- and long-term outcomes. A total of 2292 injuries were reported by 620 respondents, equating to one injury every 3 years 7 months in those respondents. Most ‘worst’ injuries occurred while the veterinary surgeon was conducting most common reasons for equine examination. The most frequent sites of this ‘worst’ injury were the leg and the head with the main cause of injury being a kick with hindlimb. Of all reports, 33% of injuries resulted in a hospital admission of which 43% required hospital admission for longer than 24 h and 7% of reports resulted in a loss of consciousness. The main limitation of this work is the descriptive nature of the survey. It would be unwise to assume that the procedures identified as being most commonly associated with injury in the study are more risky than other less commonly conducted procedures. In conclusion, equine veterinary practice is a risky profession. Greater emphasis on and awareness of methods to avoid or mitigate risk should be a priority for anyone working with horses and their employers.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Equine
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Brown, Dr Judith and Parkin, Professor Timothy and MacDonald, Professor Ewan
Authors: Parkin, T.D.H., Brown, J., and Macdonald, E.B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Equine Veterinary Education
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0957-7734
ISSN (Online):2042-3292
Published Online:29 January 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 EVJ Ltd.
First Published:First published in Equine Veterinary Education 30(4):200-205
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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