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Animals 2013, 3(1), 85-108;

Prevalence and Risk Factors Associated with Musculoskeletal Discomfort in Spay and Neuter Veterinarians

Spay ASAP Inc., Hartland, VT 05048, USA
Received: 10 December 2012 / Revised: 25 January 2013 / Accepted: 30 January 2013 / Published: 4 February 2013
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Simple Summary

This study examined musculoskeletal pain and discomfort in spay and neuter veterinarians using an internet-based questionnaire. Hand pain was most common in the right thumb and wrist, and body pain was most common in the lower back, shoulders, and neck. Several work-related risk factors for discomfort were discovered, including long career in spay and neuter, increasing weekly hours in surgery, and decreasing job satisfaction. Although most respondents felt posture during surgery was important, few spay and neuter veterinarians have received any instruction in posture or ergonomics in surgery. 


A cross-sectional study to investigate musculoskeletal discomfort (MSD) surveyed 219 veterinarians who currently or previously perform spays and neuters at least 4 hours per week. Participants were asked about the presence and severity of hand and body MSD during the previous month, whether MSD interfered with work or daily activities, whether they attributed their MSD to their spay/neuter work, and whether MSD had ever necessitated absence from work. The period prevalence of MSD was 99.1%, with 76.7% experiencing hand or wrist pain and 98.2% experiencing body pain. Hand discomfort was most commonly reported in the right thumb and/or thumb base (49.8%) and the right wrist (37.9%). Body discomfort was most commonly reported in the lower back (76.7%), shoulders (72.6%), and neck (71.7%). Increasing career length, increasing weekly hours in surgery and decreasing job satisfaction were the work-related factors with the greatest relative contribution accounting for variation in hand pain severity and total pain. Although 94.4% of respondents felt that posture during surgery is important, only 30.6% had received any instruction in posture and positioning for surgery. Future interventions should aim to optimize surgical efficiency, surgeon work schedules, and working environment. Analysis and intervention studies are required to determine further causes of MSD in these veterinarians and develop interventions to prevent MSD. View Full-Text
Keywords: spay; neuter; veterinarian; ergonomics; pain; MSD spay; neuter; veterinarian; ergonomics; pain; MSD

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White, S.C. Prevalence and Risk Factors Associated with Musculoskeletal Discomfort in Spay and Neuter Veterinarians. Animals 2013, 3, 85-108.

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