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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess proportionate mortality from all causes for male and female US veterinarians during 1979 through 2015.

SAMPLE

Death records for 11,620 veterinarians.

PROCEDURES

For this proportionate mortality ratio (PMR) study, information for veterinarians who died during 1979 through 2015 was obtained from AVMA obituary and life insurance databases and submitted to a centralized database of US death records to obtain underlying causes of death. Decedent data that met records-matching criteria were imported into a software program for calculation of PMRs for all causes stratified by sex and indirectly standardized for age, race, and 5-year calendar period with 95% CIs.

RESULTS

11,620 decedents consisted of 11,049 (95%) males and 571 (5%) females with a median age at death of 77 years. Proportionate mortality for all veterinarian decedents was higher than expected for melanoma (PMRs, 2.1 and 2.2 for males and females, respectively), suicide (PMRs, 2.1 and 3.5 for males and females, respectively), and transportation injuries (PMRs, 1.7 and 1.6 for males and females, respectively). Proportionate mortality for all decedents was lower than expected for respiratory cancers (PMRs, 0.6 and 0.5 for males and females, respectively), diabetes mellitus (PMRs, 0.7 and 0.4 for males and females, respectively), heart disease (PMRs, 0.9 and 0.6 for males and females, respectively), and respiratory disorders (PMRs, 0.7 and 0.6 for males and females, respectively).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results indicated proportionate mortality from malignant melanoma, transportation injuries, and suicide for male and female veterinarians was higher than the general population. These data may help stakeholders improve veterinarian workplace safety and health guidelines.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association