Respiratory symptoms and airway obstruction in swine veterinarians: a persistent problem

Am J Ind Med. 2004 Oct;46(4):386-92. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20080.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Airway Obstruction / etiology*
  • Airway Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Toxins / analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory System / pathology*
  • Respiratory System / physiopathology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Swine
  • Veterinarians*


  • Bacterial Toxins