Hat hair, don’t care: vets urged to wear helmets for many equine procedures

  • A leading veterinary group is encouraging all vets, nurses and handlers to wear safety helmets when working with horses.

    VetPartners, which owns practices including Rainbow Equine Hospital in North Yorkshire and Liphook Equine Hospital in Hampshire, ran a campaign titled Hat Hair — Don’t Care, to highlight the importance of wearing helmets.

    The company teamed up with manufacturer Charles Owen to provide hats and silks to practices, for staff to wear when carrying out certain procedures.

    The advice was to wear the hats when leading horses, holding them for examinations or procedures including lameness work-ups, lungeing, grooming, picking out feet, turning out, clipping, removing shoes, giving injections and tubing, as well as loading and riding.

    Vets were also urged to consider wearing hats for swabbing stallions, or any procedure involving a stallion’s reproductive organs, hind limb nerve-blocking and injecting horses of “known or declared poor temperament”.

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    VetPartners equine executive member Carrie Goodbourn, who is overseeing the campaign, said: “Head injuries are sadly a high risk for vets and nurses in practices and they occur in all sorts of circumstances. People can be seriously hurt, and in some cases, suffer life-threatening injuries, so the health and safety of our colleagues has to be top of our agenda.

    “In other professions and disciplines within the equine industry, the wearing of hard hats has for a long while been accepted as the norm and a mandatory safety requirement. In taking those steps, we  are aligning ourselves with leading, respected organisations like the British Horse Society, which have been active in advocating the wearing of hard hats for many years.”

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