Over the weekend I came across an interesting article in the Australian Veterinary Journal whilst I was having a look at some recent injury prevention publications in Australia. Last month’s issue of the journal contained an article summarising cattle-specific injuries reported in the Health Risks of Australian Veterinarians Survey (HRAV). Of the 2188 serious injuries reported by the 1397 participants, 30% involved cattle. Most of the injuries were incurred in the stock yards/handling yards (82%) and involved procedural activities such as pregnanacy testing. Understandably pregnancy testing-associated injuries were caused by kicks (41%) or being crushed or pushed against (35%), and injuries to upper limbs, the trunk, and lower limbs ranged from bruising and open wounds to dislocations and fractures.
The Authors state that “62% (of the injured veterinarians) also reported the use of some safety precautions at the time of injury: 38% of overall injuries and 43% of injuries that were incurred while undertaking obstetric activities occurred during the use of restricting enclosures such as cattle crushes. A number of veterinarians commented on the inadequacy or poor condition of the crush being used at the time of injury.”
This suggests that not only should veterinarians be aware of the risk-minimising techniques for handling large animals such as cows, farmers and other cattle producers need to be made aware of the risks associated with inadequate and/or poorly maintained equipment such as cattle crushes.