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Prevalence of musculoskeletal problems among veterinarians in relation to their job

A. Kozak, G. Schedlbauer, C. Peters, A. Nienhaus

VETERINARY work could pose an elevated risk of certain injuries and conditions. The aim of this study was to assess the self-reported prevalence of musculoskeletal disorders in the upper extremities and neck among veterinarians practising in Germany.

A survey was conducted of members of the German Federal Veterinary Council. The presence and severity of musculoskeletal disorders and work-related injuries were assessed. The types of physical work undertaken and job demands of the respondents were also recorded.

The responses of 3051 veterinarians were included in the final analysis. The largest category of practitioner was small animal (49 per cent) and the proportion of women working in this field was significantly higher (75 per cent) than in mixed and large animal practices; therefore the everyday tasks performed varied by gender.

In total, 67 per cent of respondents had experienced some kind of musculoskeletal disorder in the neck, 61 per cent in the shoulder, 25 per cent in the elbow and 35 per cent in the hand/wrist. Female veterinarians were significantly more likely to report neck problems compared with their male colleagues, who were significantly more likely to report elbow symptoms. The probability of having severe musculoskeletal disorders in the upper extremities increased in line with the size of the animals treated most often. Vets over the age of 40 were found to be at increased risk of having physical disabilities in the neck, shoulder, elbow and hand compared with their younger colleagues. Vets that frequently performed dental procedures were at increased risk of musculoskeletal problems in the neck region. The risk of severe problems in the elbow was associated with frequently carrying out rectal palpations.

The authors conclude that musculoskeletal disorders are highly prevalent among German veterinarians and that the ergonomics of certain tasks, as well as accident prevention in the workplace, should be improved to reduce this prevalence.

PLOS One (2014) 9, e89362

doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089362

Short- and long-sightedness in horses in the UK

A. Bracun, A. D. Ellis, C. Hall

OPHTHALMOLOGICAL screening in horses is usually limited to a basic assessment of vision and screening for ocular lesions. A normal refractive state is defined as when distant images are focused on the photoreceptive layer in the eye. This can only occur when eyeball length is proportionate to optical power. Refractive errors are defined as when the image is focused in front of (myopia) or behind (hyperopia) the retina. This study aimed to survey the refractive state of horses and ponies from a variety of backgrounds in the UK.

Horses and ponies kept at yards across the Midlands region of the UK were opportunistically sampled via local contacts. A total of 333 equids (666 eyes) were included in the final analysis. Each animal was taken into a darkened stable and allowed to acclimatise before streak retinoscopy was performed.

Of the horses tested, 228 (68.5 per cent) were free from refractive errors in either eye and, of all the eyes tested, 557 (83.6 per cent) were within the normal refractive range. Of the 109 eyes with refractive errors, 59 were hyperopic and 50 were myopic. Four horses were found to be hyperopic in both eyes, while none were myopic in both eyes. No cases of astigmatism were found. While sex, height, age and management style were not found to be related to refractive state, there was a significant effect of breed. Warmblood and shire breeds were more likely to be hyperopic, while thoroughbred crosses were more likely to have myopia.

The authors conclude that further research is needed to determine the effect of refractive errors on the visual ability of horses and that refractive error testing could be used in determining performance potential and the underlying causes of behavioural problems.

Veterinary Ophthalmology (2014)

doi: 10.1111/vop.12158

Safety and efficacy of aurixazole as an anthelmintic in cattle

C. Alessandro, M. Sakamoto, W. D. Zanetti Lopes and others

NEMATODE infection in cattle can cause decreased growth, lower reproductive performance and lower milk yield. Anthelmintics are the main method of nematode control in cattle, but incorrect or indiscriminate use has led to increased resistance to several of the main anthelmintic agents. The aim of this study was to test the safety and efficacy of a relatively new molecule, aurixazole, for treatment of helminth infections in cattle.

The clinical safety of the compound was evaluated in 20 adult male cattle. The animals were divided into two groups of 10; a treatment group that was treated once with 24 mg/kg aurixazole orally, and a control group that received saline solution orally. Cattle were evaluated clinically from 45 days before treatment until 14 days after treatment. No clinical signs relating to the medication were observed and the authors concluded that clinical, biochemical and haematological measurements remained within normal parameters following aurixazole administration.

To assess the efficacy of the drug, 32 naturally infected calves were randomly divided into four groups of eight. One group was treated orally with 24 mg/kg aurixazole, another was treated orally with 7.5 mg/kg fenbendazole, another was treated orally with 5 mg/kg albendazole and the other group was kept as a control and given saline solution orally. Faecal egg count reduction tests were subsequently conducted for each animal.

Aurixazole was found to have an efficacy of at least 99 per cent on all days after treatment, reaching maximum efficacy (100 per cent) on two of these dates. The authors conclude that aurixazole administered orally at 24 mg/kg can be considered an efficient and safe anthelmintic for cattle, with efficacy similar to other anthelmintics. However, they note that the oral route of administration is unusual for cattle and that further studies are required to assess the efficacy of aurixazole against helminths that are resistant to other molecules.

Research in Veterinary Science (2014)

doi: 10.1016/j.rvsc.2014.03.007

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