Respiratory allergies among veterinarians: two cross-sectional surveys from 2006 to 2012

  • M. Schelkle
  • J. Braun
  • R. Jörres
  • R. Schierl
  • Holger DresselEmail author
Original Article



Animal-related allergy is known to be an occupational hazard among veterinarians; however, there is a lack of data showing to which extent these are affected. We aimed at describing the prevalence of respiratory allergies in this population.


In two repeated cross-sectional surveys in 2006 and 2012 in Bavaria, we examined the prevalence of wheezing, asthma and allergic rhinitis by questionnaires. We additionally performed multiple regression analysis to identify associated factors.


Overall participation rate was above 60%, leading to sample sizes of 512 in 2006 and 596 in 2012, respectively. Prevalences of allergic symptoms ranged from 5.1 to 5.6% for asthma, 17.0 to 20.2% for rhinitis, and 11.4 to 14.3% for wheezing, as well as 7.2 to 11.3% for wheezing without having a cold. The percentage of women in this occupation grew between the first and second survey. There were gender differences in both surveys concerning age and practice type (p < 0.0001). Women had a lower mean age (42.1 vs. 53.0 years in 2012) and worked much more often exclusively with small animals (50.2 vs. 15.9% in 2012). There was a borderline significantly higher prevalence for allergic rhinitis in women than in men in 2012 (20.1 vs. 13.7, p = 0.052). Having allergic rhinitis was clearly associated with wheezing, wheezing without cold and asthma.


In a repeated cross-sectional survey at an interval of 6 years among veterinarians, we found a relatively stable overall prevalence of wheeze, wheeze without having a cold, asthma and allergic rhinitis.


Occupational allergies Veterinarians Allergic rhinitis Asthma 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

420_2017_1226_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (46 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 46 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Schelkle
    • 1
  • J. Braun
    • 2
  • R. Jörres
    • 1
  • R. Schierl
    • 1
  • Holger Dressel
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.WHO Collaborating Centre for Occupational Health, Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental MedicineUniversity Hospital MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention InstituteUniversity of Zurich, University Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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