All animals are capable of inflicting bites and scratches. Small animals, such as laboratory rodents and rabbits, usually deliver relatively minor, albeit painful, wounds. Bites inflicted by larger animals can potentially result in tissue damage.
Bite and scratch wounds can become infected by the animal’s normal bacterial flora found on the oral mucous membranes or saliva, or by human skin bacterial flora.
Proper handling techniques, certain restraining devices, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) can help to prevent bites and scratches.
- Inappropriate handling can cause discomfort, pain, or distress, which may result in injury for the animal and/or the handler due to bites or scratches
- Any individual who picks up or restrains an animal must be trained in proper handling techniques, and should also be trained in the proper handling and general restraint techniques for each and every species they are assigned to on an approved animal use protocol
- Additionally, all staff should be familiar with the appropriate first aid procedures specific to each species being handled and/or restrained
- For additional training and resources, please contact the ULAM Training Core at firstname.lastname@example.org or (734) 763-8039. Questions and concerns can also be directed to your ULAM Faculty Veterinarian
- For some species, protective gloves may be needed to protect against bites and scratches
- Standard latex or nitrile gloves will provide some protection against bites and scratches
- Gloves made from materials resistant to punctures, such as Kevlar and stainless steel mesh, can be worn over impermeable gloves or under other protective gloves to reduce bite punctures
FIRST AID AND REPORTING
- In the event of a bite or scratch during animal handling or research-related activities, follow the procedures as outlined in the First Aid Protocols located on the Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) website
- Report all work-related injuries and illnesses (including animal bites) to the Work Connections Office within 24 hours by completing and faxing the Illness or Injury Report Form to (734) 936-1913
- Complete the Laboratory Incident and Near Miss Report Form for all animal care or animal research-related incidents
QUESTIONS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
- If you would like to request supplemental training in the proper methods of handling/restraint, please complete the ULAM Training Request Form. Training can be requested on an individual basis, or for your entire lab staff
- If you have general questions about work-related injuries, or how to report a laboratory safety incident, please contact the EHS Office. For specific questions about proper animal handling and restraint techniques, please contact your ULAM Faculty Veterinarian