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  • Author or Editor: Susan G. Gerberich x
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Objective—To evaluate the magnitude and consequences of work-related injuries and associated factors among veterinary technicians certified in Minnesota.

Design—Cross-sectional survey.

Sample—1,427 certified veterinary technicians (CVTs).

Procedures—Surveys were used to collect data on demographics, personal characteristics, injury occurrences in the 12 months prior to survey completion, and injury consequences. Annual injury rates were estimated on the basis of demographic and work-related characteristics. Risk of injury associated with various factors was estimated by calculation of incidence rate ratios, controlling for multiple factors.

Results—465 of 873 eligible CVTs reported 1,827 injury events (total and bite injury rates, 237 and 78 injuries/100 persons/y). Primary injury sources were cats and dogs, and most injuries occurred during animal restraint or treatment. Self-reported most severe injuries involved bites; cuts, lacerations, or scratches; bruises or contusions; and abrasions. Injury consequences included treatment and restricted work activity. Risk of work-related injury was lower for CVTs who worked < 40 h/wk than for those who worked ≥ 40 h/wk. The risk was higher for CVTs working in small animal or mixed mostly small animal facilities and lower for those working in mixed large and small animal facilities, commercial or industry operations, and government or regulatory facilities, compared with CVTs in colleges or universities. Handling 4 to > 6 (vs < 4) animal species during the 12 months prior to the survey and belief that injuries are not preventable were also associated with higher risk of injury.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Several factors associated with the risk of work-related injury among CVTs were identified. Beyond these risk factors, investigation of additional exposures is integral to relevant intervention strategies.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To identify risk and protective factors for work-related bite injuries among veterinary technicians certified in Minnesota.

Design—Nested case-control study.

Sample—868 certified veterinary technicians (CVTs).

Procedures—A questionnaire was mailed to CVTs who previously participated in a survey regarding work-related injuries and did (cases; 301 surveys sent) or did not (controls; 567) report qualifying work-related animal bite injuries in the preceding 12 months. Descriptive statistics were summarized. Demographic and work-related variables for the month preceding the bite injury (for cases) or a randomly selected month (controls) were assessed with univariate analysis (489 CVTs) and multivariate analysis of a subset of 337 CVTs who worked in small or mixed mostly small animal facilities.

Results—Responses were received from 176 case and 313 control CVTs. For the subset of 337 CVTs, risk of bite injury was higher for those < 25 years of age (OR, 3.82; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.84 to 7.94) than for those ≥ 35 years of age, for those who had worked < 5 years (OR, 3.24; 95% CI, 1.63 to 6.45) versus ≥ 10 years in any veterinary facility, and for those who handled ≥ 5 species/d (OR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.06 to 3.74) versus < 3 species/d. Risk was lower for CVTs who handled < 10 versus ≥ 20 animals/d (OR, 0.23; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.71).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Several work-related factors were associated with the risk of work-related bite injury to CVTs. These findings may serve as a basis for development of intervention efforts and future research regarding work-related injuries among veterinary staff.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association