Can Learning Theory Lower Equine Vets’ Injury Risk?

One vet shares how learning theory techniques can help teach difficult horses to stand calmly and accept treatments.

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What jobs do you consider dangerous? Firefighting? Construction work? Law enforcement? How about horse health care?

In a recent survey into occupational injuries in the United Kingdom, equine veterinarians came out on top, and not in a good way. The survey results showed that this profession is more dangerous than any other civilian occupation in the U.K.

“The average veterinarian will sustain seven or eight work-related injuries throughout their career that will impede them from practicing,” said Gemma Pearson, BVMS, MRCVS, a senior clinical training scholar in equine practice at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, in Scotland.

To get a better idea of the work risks equine veterinarians face and how to mitigate them, Pearson surveyed 168 U.K.-based practitioners and presented her results at the 11th International Society for Equitation Science Conference, held Aug. 6-9 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Eighty-one percent of them said they had sustained at least one injury from a patient in the past five years, and 67% said they put themselves in potentially dangerous situations either daily or a few times a week

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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