Author(s): M. Muvhali and T. Singh

Source: Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology; June 2021 Vol 34, No 2

Abstract: The increase in global pet ownership has led to the pet-care industry’s growth, making pet grooming an occupation that has seen considerable growth. Yet, little is known about their occupational environment, exposures and the associated health effects. Veterinary workers may be the most closely comparable group, owing to their similar occupational exposures. This review explores both the comparable biological, chemical and other hazards identified in veterinary practices and their impact on the health of veterinary workers; it also considers how research findings among these workers may help determine the direction in which studies among pet groomers must focus. Studies reported on the following: veterinary workers have a high prevalence of sensitisation to animal allergens and latex, which lead to both respiratory and skin effects such as asthma and contact dermatitis. Zoonotic infections among veterinary workers are also common. Research on respirable dust and bioaerosol exposure among veterinary workers is still limited, but current evidence from veterinary and pet-grooming establishments shows the need for further investigation. Other physical, ergonomic and noise hazards need to be investigated further in pet-grooming settings. Inadequate training on health and safety aspects and poor personal protective equipment use was observed in veterinary workers and pet groomers. The need for more research among pet groomers is necessary, as there seems to be little to no information on a variety of occupational exposures and their health effects. Future studies need to focus on the environmental conditions, hazards and also on workers’ health and prevention strategies.

Keywords: pet groomers; pet allergy; biological hazards; infectious disease; allergens