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Am J Ind Med. 2003 Jul;44(1):46-57.

Work environment and occupational health of Finnish veterinarians.

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Uusimaa Regional Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland.



Health and work environment of Finnish veterinarians was evaluated by The Finnish Veterinary Association and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health in a questionnaire survey.


The questionnaire was mailed in the spring of 2000 to all veterinarians under 65 years of age and working in Finland (n = 1169); 785 (67%) responded.


A veterinarian's work was physically demanding, and often involved an elevated risk of accident. The risks were considered moderately or considerably high by over half of the respondents, and the highest risks occurred among veterinarians working in equine, mixed (both small and large animals), or in production animal practice. The veterinarians were committed to their work, although, at the same time they experienced work-related stress and fatigue. Particularly veterinarians working in towns, or those involved in education and research, reported the most stress. Serious work-related exhaustion was experienced most often by women in the youngest and by men in the oldest age groups. On average, the veterinarians spent over 100 hr a month on call. Over two-thirds of the participants in the survey reported their general state of health as good or fairly good, while less than 5% of the participants reported their health as rather poor or poor.


The work of a Finnish veterinarian, the work environment, and the risks of the work varied greatly depending on the tasks assigned to the veterinarian. This has to be taken into consideration when occupational health services are planned for veterinarians.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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