Veterinarian injuries associated with bovine TB testing livestock in Michigan, 2001

Michigan Department of Community Health, 201 Townsend, P.O. Box 30195, Lansing, MI 48909, USA.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.17). 04/2009; 89(3-4):185-90. DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2009.02.014
Source: PubMed


Testing all the cattle in an entire state with a uniform procedure for each animal affords an opportunity to relate human injury data to a known number of animals handled while carrying out a standardized procedure. Our objective was to describe the type and incidence density of injuries associated with TB-testing a large number of cattle herds, and to delineate the various factors associated with the risk of injury. A survey was mailed to all veterinarians (N = 259) who had completed at least five official bovine TB (bTB) herd tests in Michigan in 2001. We collected data regarding basic demographics and health status, work experience, veterinary specialty, and practice information. Each veterinarian was also requested to complete a separate injury questionnaire for each injury received while TB testing livestock in 2001. Accurate addresses were found for 247 eligible veterinarians, 175 (71%) of whom returned the survey. Thirty-six veterinarians reported a total of 53 injuries (10 major, 12 minor and 31 self-treated). Hands (29%) and legs (21%) were the anatomic locations most frequently injured, with sprains/strains (30%) and abrasion/contusion (30%) the most common types of injuries sustained. The overall incidence density of injuries was 1.9 per 10,000 animals tested. Female gender (RR = 3.3), being employed by the government (RR = 4.5), and smoking (RR = 6.0) were significantly associated with a higher rate of injury. Significant colliniearities were found between some risk factors associated with an increased rate of injury and participants thought 81% of their injuries could have been prevented. These results are explained by the administrative structure of the bTB testing program in Michigan, and the changing demographics of the veterinary workforce.

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    • "Resources spent on whole herd testing of the livestock population contribute a significant part of the total expenses. Hidden costs rarely mentioned in the current BTB surveillance include such things such as injuries among the livestock owners, veterinarians, and technical staff that conduct BTB testing [35] and loss of production (e.g., temporary drop in milk production) that often occurs following restraint of cattle to administer and/or read ante mortem tests. Finally, there is an industry perception that the number of tests being done and the cost of surveillance in relation to the number of BTB herds found are excessive. "
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