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More than 60 per cent of large animal vets injured at work, survey finds

Almost a fifth of vets surveyed had to take time off work as a result of their most severe injury, it showed.

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More than 60 per cent of large animals vets injured at work, survey finds

More than 60 per cent of farm vets admitted to sustaining animal-related injuries following work with production animals.

 

A British Veterinary Association (BVA) survey showed that one in five respondents rated their injuries as ‘quite’ or ‘very severe’, with the most common cause of injury a result of kicks, crush injuries, laceration, scratches and bites.

 

Almost a fifth of vets surveyed had to take time off work as a result of their most severe injury, it showed.

 

One vet told the survey: “Regrettably, I am giving up large animal work because it is too dangerous.


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“I am the lead earner in my house [but] cattle work is simply too dangerous now because of the risk of serious kick and crush injuries.”

 

BVA president Simon Doherty said he had first-hand experience with such injuries, having had his arm broken whilst working with cattle and suffering back problems as a result of repeat lambings and calvings.

 

He had to give up his own work in a large animal practice after rupturing a spinal ligament calving a heifer with a uterine torsion.

 

Risk assessments

Mr Doherty said: “These figures show the serious risk of injury that production animal vets run in the course of their work, even when handling facilities are relatively good.

 

“Animals on farm can be large, heavy and unpredictable, and farmers and vets up and down the country have seen colleagues injured on farms and frequently unable to work as a result.

“Health and safety assessments by farmers, vets and veterinary employers can reduce these injuries and save lives by informing action plans to minimise avoidable risk.”

 

Safe and well-maintained facilities and restraining equipment, such as cattle crushes, pens, gates and safe escape routes, are also key to reducing injuries to humans as well as animals, he said.

 

Mr Doherty added: “I would encourage farmers and vets to start the conversation and take action to minimise avoidable risks.”

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