7 - First Aid for Animal Care Related Injuries


Rodent or Rabbit Bites and Scratches, Injuries from Dirty Animal Cages

Most rodent/rabbit bites and scratches will be to the hand, fingers, or forearm. Bite wounds may bleed profusely and can be acutely painful. Some personnel may experience allergic reactions (itching, inflammation, and/or swelling) to saliva or scratches. If these do not subside rapidly or become more intense after repeated exposure to animals, the procedure outlined in Section III.A of the Occupational Health Program for Personnel working with Animals should be followed.

Immediate First Aid
  1. Massage area around wound to encourage bleeding.
  2. Wash the area with a povidone iodine scrub for 3 to 5 minutes, rinsing periodically.
  3. Dry using sterile gauze pad.
  4. Apply first aid antibiotic cream and bandage.
  5. Report injury to at least one co-worker

Needle Stick Injuries

Needle stick injuries can range in severity from merely pricking a fingertip with a sterile needle to accidental puncture by a non-sterile needle or auto-injection with a controlled substance or infectious agent. Any needle stick injury should be reported to a superior as soon as possible. Decisions about after care will be based on the agent injected.

Immediate First Aid

Follow procedure outlined for rodent bites.