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Risk factors associated with work-preventing musculoskeletal discomfort in the upper extremities of bovine practitioners

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  • 1 1Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 4J8, Canada.
  • | 2 2School of Rehabilitation Science, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 4J8, Canada.
  • | 3 3Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 4J8, Canada.
  • | 4 4Division of Ergonomics, School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To identify risk factors associated with work-preventing musculoskeletal discomfort (MSKD) in the upper extremities (defined as neck, shoulders, upper back, arms, elbows, wrists, and hands) of bovine practitioners.

SAMPLE

116 members of the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners.

PROCEDURES

Data from a previously described cross-sectional survey of western Canadian bovine practitioners underwent further analysis. The survey, developed to glean information about MSKD in bovine practitioners, was a modified standardized Nordic questionnaire that included questions regarding personal and work characteristics and incidence and location of MSKD during the preceding 12 months along with perceptions about most physically demanding tasks. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with work-preventing upper extremity MSKD.

RESULTS

18 of 116 (15.5%) respondents indicated they had experienced work-preventing upper extremity MSKD during the preceding 12 months. The final multivariable regression model indicated that practice type (mixed animal vs primarily [> 50%] bovine; OR, 3.20; 95% CI, 0.96 to 10.67), practitioner height (OR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.87 to 0.99), and number of veterinarians in the practice (OR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.66) were significantly associated with the odds of work-preventing upper extremity MSKD.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested that reproductive examination of cattle was not a significant risk factor for upper extremity MSKD in bovine practitioners. Further research into the effects of biomechanical, organizational, and psychosocial workplace factors on the development of MSKD in bovine practitioners is necessary to help inform prevention strategies to foster career longevity in this increasingly diverse practitioner group.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Robyn Reist (robyn.reist@usask.ca).