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- Author or Editor: Brigid L. Elchos x
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OBJECTIVE To review publications that address female reproductive health hazards in veterinary practice, summarize best practices to mitigate reproductive risks, and identify current knowledge gaps.
DESIGN Systematized review.
SAMPLE English-language articles describing chemical, biological, and physical hazards present in the veterinary workplace and associations with adverse reproductive outcomes or recommendations for minimizing risks to female reproductive health.
PROCEDURES Searches of the CAB abstracts database were performed in July 2012 and in May 2015 with the following search terms: veterinarians AND occupational hazards and vets.id AND occupational hazards.sh. Searches of the PubMed database were conducted in November 2012 and in May 2015 with the following medical subject heading terms: occupational exposure AND veterinarians; anesthetics, inhalation/adverse effects AND veterinarians; risk factors AND pregnancy AND veterinarians; pregnancy outcome AND veterinarians; and animal technicians AND occupational exposure. Two additional PubMed searches were completed in January 2016 with the terms disinfectants/toxicity AND female AND fertility/drug effects and veterinarians/psychology AND stress, psychological. No date limits were applied to searches.
RESULTS 4 sources supporting demographic trends in veterinary medicine and 118 resources reporting potential hazards to female reproductive health were identified. Reported hazards included exposure to anesthetic gases, radiation, antineoplastic drugs, and reproductive hormones; physically demanding work; prolonged standing; and zoonoses.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Demographic information suggested that an increasing number of women of reproductive age will be exposed to chemical, biological, and physical hazards in veterinary practice. Information on reproductive health hazards and minimizing risk, with emphasis on developing a safety-focused work culture for all personnel, should be discussed starting in veterinary and veterinary technical schools and integrated into employee training.
Objective—To evaluate the prevalence of suicide risk factors, attitudes toward mental illness, and practice-related stressors among US veterinarians.
Sample—11,627 US veterinarians.
Procedures—Between July 1 and October 20, 2014, a Web-based questionnaire was made available through the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), VIN News Service, JAVMA News, and email messages to US veterinarians sent by a veterinary medical association, agriculture or livestock department, or health department of each state (except Maine) and Puerto Rico.
Results—Of 11,627 respondents, 3,628 (31%) were male. Modal age category was 30 to 39 years, and modal range for years practicing veterinary medicine was 10 to 19 years. There were 7,460 (64%) respondents who primarily practiced small animal medicine, and 4,224 (36%) who were practice owners. There were 1,077 (9%) respondents with current serious psychological distress. Since leaving veterinary school, 3,655 (31%) respondents experienced depressive episodes, 1,952 (17%) experienced suicidal ideation, and 157 (1%) attempted suicide. Currently, 2,228 (19%) respondents were receiving treatment for a mental health condition. Only 3,250 of 10,220 (32%) respondents somewhat or strongly agreed that people are sympathetic toward persons with mental illness. The most commonly reported practice-related stressor was demands of practice.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In this survey, approximately 1 in 11 veterinarians had serious psychological distress and 1 in 6 experienced suicidal ideation since leaving veterinary school. Implementing measures to help veterinarians cope with practice-related stressors and reducing barriers veterinarians face in seeking mental health treatment might reduce the risk for suicide among veterinarians.