Objective: Swine veterinarians are known to be at risk for respiratory symptoms and airflow obstruction. The present study reassessed the prevalence of respiratory complaints and pulmonary function abnormalities in swine veterinarians and sought to characterize their response to bronchodilators.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted during the American Association of Swine Veterinarians annual meeting. Subjects completed a respiratory symptom and workplace exposure history questionnaire and spirometry. Subjects with airflow obstruction were assessed for a post-bronchodilator response with beta2 agonist administration.
Results: Participants included 58 veterinarians (mean age, 45.5 years). Work-related symptoms assessed by questionnaire included rhinitis symptoms (60.3%), cough and chest tightness (55.2%), and wheezing (35.1%). Airflow obstruction was detected in 11/58 (19%) of subjects by spirometry. Only 2/9 (22.2%) met American Thoracic Society criteria for reversibility with bronchodilator administration.
Conclusions: Respiratory symptoms and airway obstruction remain common findings in swine veterinarians. Airflow obstruction was not consistently reversible with beta agonists, suggesting that swine barn exposure may be a risk factor for irreversible airflow obstruction.