A British study has been commissioned to investigate injuries suffered by horse vets in their day to day work.
The British Equine Veterinary Association has commissioned a group from the University of Glasgow, led by veterinary epidemiologist Dr Tim Parkin, to conduct the research.
The survey-based study was launched at the 2013 BEVA Congress in Manchester.
It is hoped that the findings will help to keep vets and aspiring vets appraised of the potential risks of equine practice and help guide training and education to minimise risk and reduce financial losses associated with time off work.
Anecdotal evidence indicates that many of the 2500 equine veterinary surgeons working in Britain may sustain a significant number of injuries as part of their work with horses, according to the latest issue of Equine Science Update.
However, the prevalence and type of these injuries has never been quantified.
BEVA members based in Britain are being asked to complete a broad-based online questionnaire about their equine work-related injury and illness history.
Questions include the number of lifetime injuries, details of most significant injuries during working lifetime, injuries to other involved parties, details of any chronic equine work related health issues and time lost from work per year due to injury and illness.
Participants will remain anonymous and the confidential data will be analysed to estimate the occurrence of different types of injury or illness affecting equine vets and horse handlers, to quantify time off work and to estimate the financial cost of equine work-related injury to the industry in terms of days off work.
“The results should help equine vets and their employers to develop measures to control the risks to which they are exposed,” outgoing BEVA president Keith Chandler said.
“Sector educators will be able to adapt training requirements accordingly and horse owners, horse-keepers and trainers can be made aware of the safest ways to prepare and handle horses to reduce chances of injury.
“We are hoping that all our members will recognise the importance of participating, for the future safety and efficacy of our industry.”
The study also has funding support from the Veterinary Defence Society.