Animal Use Safety Data: Canines

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Working Safely With Canines


Zoonosis: A disease that can be transmitted from animal to human. This brochure provides basic information regarding zoonotic risk and who can be contacted for further assistance.

This information is provided to assist you in understanding the potential occupational hazards associated with the use of canines and the need in some instances to take precautions to minimize the potential for animal-to-human zoonotic disease. Also of concern is possible disease transmission from human to animal. This is most acute when working with potentially immunocompromised animals, such as in immunology or oncology experiments.

How Can I Protect Myself?

Gloves, masks and a laboratory coat (or other dedicated protective clothing such as a scrub suit) should be worn when working with dogs. In some cases protective eye wear is also indicated. Do not eat, drink, or apply cosmetics while working in an animal use area, and always wash your hands after handling dogs. Remember that unfixed tissues, body fluids, and other materials derived from dogs may also pose a risk.

Contact Enterprise Risk Management at 593-2237 for any concerns or questions you have about working with dogs or any vertebrate animal and occupational risks. Help with training personnel in specific work practices to minimize risk can be obtained by contacting the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) at 593-3344.

BE ADVISED: All personnel working with dogs are eligible to enroll in the Occupational Health Program (OHP). Contact Enterprise Risk Management at 593-2237 for additional information.

If you work with canines:

Dogs used in research have been vaccinated against rabies. However, it may be prudent to consider prophylactic immunization.

Bites and scratches may also pose serious problems through trauma and/or bacterial infection. Dogs may also have eneteric bacteria such as Salmonella released in the feces so cage washers and any personnel who must clean bedding should wash hands with disinfectant hand soap before leaving the facility. Dogs, like most mammals, can shed fur so anyone with allergies to fur, dander or animal bedding should wear personal protective clothing to minimize discomfort. Dogs may also carry biting insects, such as fleas, so personal protective equipment may also be used in this instance as well.

The following links describe some of the potential illnesses associated with dogs and may be found on-line:

Who is at risk for infection?

Bites or scratches involving dogs or injuries from objects contaminated with body fluids from dogs require immediate first aid and medical attention.

Notify your supervisor!

For immediate life threatening injuries contact the University Police Department at 593-2611 or dial 911.

This page was last updated on: October 12, 2015