Approximately 53,000 Certified Veterinary Technicians (CVTs) are at risk of traumatic occupational injuries (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2004) that are costly in terms of medical expenses, lost work time, and career loss. A two-phase study, using mailed questionnaires, identified total injury experience and consequences and risk factors for animal bites among all 1,427 Minnesota CVTs.
Methods . Phase 1 comprehensive data were collected on injury events, consequences, and exposures from the previous 12 months (74% response) to identify annual injury rates and potential risk factors. Phase 2, a nested case-control study, examined relations between exposures and animal bites in small animal clinics that CVT cases (n=176) reported in the previous 12 months; controls (n=313) reported no bites. Exposure data were collected from cases (month prior to the bite injury) and controls (randomly selected months) (61% response) to facilitate multivariate analyses, based on Directed Acyclic Graphs.
Results - In Phase 1 (873 respondents), 1,827 injury events were reported by 445 CVTs. Injury rates (95% Confidence Intervals) per 100 persons per year included all injuries, 236.8 (226.2 . 247.9) and bites, 77.7 (71.7 . 84.2). Increased rates involved: <6 years handling animals; ≤ 3 years working as a CVT; working in small animal clinics. Primary injury types were bites, cuts/lacerations/scratches, and contusions, and leading sources were cats and dogs involving animal restraint or treatment. Consequences included: treatment, restricted work, and lost work time. Multivariate modeling identified a decreased risk for working <40 hours/week and increased risks for: handling >6 types of animals per day; handling animals <6 years; and working in emergency clinics; or small animal clinics. Phase 2 multivariate analyses indicated increased risks of bite injury for: age <35 years versus 35+; <5 versus 10+ years experience; "frequently" and "infrequently to never" versus "always," having adequate help; handling 5+ versus <3 animal types per day; and decreased risks for no prior bite injury history) and handling <10 versus 20+ animals per day.
Conclusions . The CVTs' environment places them at risk of injuries with serious consequences. In addition to documented risks, further examination of relevant exposures is integral to the development of relevant interventions
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2009. Major: Environmental Health. Advisors: Susan G. Gerberich, PH.D., Bruce H. Alexander, PH.D., 1 computer file (PDF); xviii, 198 pages, appendices A-E.
Nordgren, Leslie Dianne.
The etiology and consequences of injuries to veterinary technicians..
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