Veterinarians and shoulder injuries

Ronald Ailsby, M.D., College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, says large animal veterinarians face acute and chronic repetitive-strain injuries daily to their upper extremities. Symptoms of shoulder pain and arm weakness encompass at least 50 different diagnoses.

Speaking at the 2009 AABP meeting, Ailsby says prevention is the key to future function. The cause of the problem has to be recognized and eliminated. In most cases prevention is based on the following principles:

1) The brachioplexus has to be protected and all actions have to avoid repetitive impingement on the rotator cuff. Shoulder and arm position is critical and requires knowledge of anatomy and a thorough understanding of the problem both by the caregiver and the patient.

2) In order to obtain maximum functional improvement and prevention some modification in the position of the arm during the pelvic examination in large animals is required.