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Be careful out there, equine veterinarians

A new study shows that equine practitioners have it rough.
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Mar 26, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

Equine practitioners: You might want to stock up on painkillers and bandages when you make your next supply order. No, not for the horses, but for yourself.

Australian researchers have reviewed data gathered from a Health Risks of Australian Veterinarians study. They discovered that of the 2,188 injuries reported in the study, 72 percent were associated with animals. Of that number, 29 percent involved horses.

The researchers found that 38 percent of the horse-related injuries were sustained in stock or handling yards, 37 percent were in open paddocks, and 16 percent were sustained in stables. Being kicked or struck by the horse accounted for 79 percent of the injuries, and the areas practitioners were most commonly injured included the lower extremities (33 percent of cases), the head and neck (26 percent), and the upper extremities (20 percent).

The study, published in Veterinary Record, also pointed to earlier research which indicated that veterinarians are up to nine times more likely to suffer a severe injury in work-related accidents than medical doctors. “These results add to the evidence that horse-related incidents are a serious source of traumatic injuries to veterinarians,” the authors wrote. “Efforts are needed to improve veterinarians’ awareness of safe handling practices and the use of appropriate safety precautions.”