OBJECTIVE To identify the scope of occupational hazards encountered by veterinary personnel and compare hazard exposures between veterinarians and technicians working in small and large animal practices.
DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.
POPULATION Licensed veterinarians and veterinary staff in Minnesota.
PROCEDURES A survey of Minnesota veterinary personnel was conducted between February 1 and December 1, 2012. Adult veterinary personnel working in clinical practice for > 12 months were eligible to participate. Information was collected on various workplace hazards as well as on workplace safety culture.
RESULTS 831 eligible people responded, representing approximately 10% of Minnesota veterinary personnel. A greater proportion of veterinarians (93%; 368/394) reported having received preexposure rabies vaccinations than did veterinary technicians (54%; 198/365). During their career, 226 (27%) respondents had acquired at least 1 zoonotic infection and 636 (77%) had been injured by a needle or other sharps. Recapping of needles was reported by 87% of respondents; the most common reason reported by veterinarians (41%; 142/345) and veterinary technicians (71%; 238/333) was being trained to do so at school or work. Recent feelings of depression were reported by 204 (25%) respondents. A greater proportion of technicians (42%; 155/365) than veterinarians (21%; 81/394) indicated working in an environment in which employees experienced some form of workplace abuse.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Veterinary personnel in Minnesota were exposed to several work-related hazards. Practice staff should assess workplace hazards, implement controls, and incorporate instruction on occupational health into employee training.
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.
Recent state and federal legislative actions and current recommendations from the World Health Organization seem to suggest that, when it comes to antimicrobial stewardship, use of antimicrobials for prevention, control, or treatment of disease can be ranked in order of appropriateness, which in turn has led, in some instances, to attempts to limit or specifically oppose the routine use of medically important antimicrobials for prevention of disease. In contrast, the AVMA Committee on Antimicrobials believes that attempts to evaluate the degree of antimicrobial stewardship on the basis of therapeutic intent are misguided and that use of antimicrobials for prevention, control, or treatment of disease may comply with the principles of antimicrobial stewardship. It is important that veterinarians and animal caretakers are clear about the reason they may be administering antimicrobials to animals in their care. Concise definitions of prevention, control, and treatment of individuals and populations are necessary to avoid confusion and to help veterinarians clearly communicate their intentions when prescribing or recommending antimicrobial use.