Objective: There are many occupational hazards associated with the practice of swine veterinarians. To reassess the prevalence of respiratory complaints and pulmonary function abnormalities in this group.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study conducted during the American Association of Swine Veterinarians annual meeting. Subjects completed a respiratory symptom/work history questionnaire and performed spirometry.
Results: Participants included 122 veterinarians (median age=42.5 years). Work-related symptoms included rhinitis symptoms (69%), cough and chest tightness (53%), wheezing (31%). Airway obstruction was seen in 24% of participants. Veterinarians with airway obstruction reported working more hours per week in hog barns than did practitioners with normal pulmonary function (P=0.009).
Conclusions: Respiratory symptoms were common in the swine veterinarians tested as was airway obstruction. The association with these findings and hog barn exposure suggests that working in these facilities is still a risk factor for airway disease.