Research/studies Services

Inexperienced vet techs at greater risk of injury: study

St. Paul, MN – Veterinary technicians may be at greater risk of sustaining a work-related injury if they have less experience or a heavier workload, according to a recent study from the University of Minnesota.

Researchers surveyed 1,427 veterinary technicians who were certified in Minnesota and found that workers with less than five years of experience and 40-hour-plus workweeks – as well as those who treated more than four species – were more likely to be injured.

Dogs and cats were responsible for most injuries, according to the researchers. The most common types of injuries involved bites; cuts, lacerations or scratches; bruises or contusions; and abrasions.

Lead researcher Dr. Leslie Nordgren told Safety+Health magazine that few studies previously have analyzed work safety risks for veterinary technicians.

“We found that work experience is an important factor in reducing bite-related injuries,” Nordgren said. “Those workers with more experience are less likely to be bitten. This likely reflects the importance of training and mentoring newer workers.”

Another key finding was the importance of having adequate staff to help veterinary technicians, Nordgren said.

The study was published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.