Working Safely With Animals
By Ben Waterworth

No matter what industry you are involved in when it comes to animals, you should always maintain a proper level of care and hygiene around whatever creature you work with. These are not only just for your safety, but for the safety of others as well as the animals you are working with. Potential hazards involved in working with animals involve physical injuries to yourself and the animals (depending on their size) as well as other diseases and bacteria that can be transferred from humans to animals and vice versa. These are just a few tips in order to maintain a healthy relationship and safe and clean environment when working with your animals.

Injuries of the Physical Kind

Animals aren’t able to communicate to us the same way other humans can, so when it comes to pain, fear or numerous other emotions it is possible for an animal to suddenly lash out and bite or scratch to do what it feels is protecting itself. You should always wear proper safety equipment such as gloves and goggles and depending on the animal you work with you may need special clothing or other equipment on the ready if anything else bad goes down. Infections are common whilst working with animals so always make sure you have anti bacterial washed nearby to wash your skin after contact. You should even consider restraints on the animal should it become a problem in working with it.

Diseases

There are diseases that are capable of being transferred from animals to humans and these are referred to as Zoonotic diseases. Most of the time they are harmless and will result in nothing more than an infection and/or a cold, but there are some viruses such as the Hendra virus that can prove fatal. Always check the relevant documentation on what diseases are capable from the animal you are working with and take the proper precautions.

Horses

If your industry involves the use of horses, then strict hygiene control is necessary. The previously mentioned Hendra virus is very strong when it comes to horses so you should always have strong antiseptic materials and anti bacterial wash on hand and thoroughly clean all skin and clothes after working with your horse.

Q Fever

Another highly infectious and dangerous disease is Q Fever. This is highly prevalent amongst cows, sheep, cats & dogs, goats and can even be found in kangaroos. It is a type of pneumonia as well as hepatitis and it is of the biggest risk to people who work frequently with these animals. If you do work with them frequently, you should find a doctor that can give you a vaccination to prevent the disease as it will go a long way should a sudden outbreak occur. Other steps you can take involve not consuming food or drink near these animals or putting on products such as make up. You can also go a long way to preventing them by wearing gloves and other protective equipment around the previously mentioned animals.

Domestic Dogs & Cats

Although most of us own either a cat or a dog or in some cases both, there are still hygienic requirements when working or living around them. There are potential harmful diseases that can be found in both animals’ faeces, one such bacteria that are called Toxoplasma and are found mainly in cat poo. This bacteria can be harmful to young children and babies, and proper care and hygiene should always be taken when cleaning up any cat related faecal matter.

Allergic Reactions

A large proportion of the human population have allergic reactions to certain animals, and some of these can become quite serious if not treated properly. In working with certain animals you will become exposed to all sorts of different excrement from different types of animals and it is even possible for you to have allergic reactions to animal urine. All proper safety procedures should be undertaken to ensure you remain in constant control of your reactions to this matter.

Prevent It Before It Becomes A Problem!

All people working with animals can take these simple steps to ensure their safety as well as their animal’s safety

  • If you are performing any form of surgical or manipulation procedure, doing this inside properly sanitised areas wearing the right equipment
  • Wear working clothes around the animals, and not clothes you would just wear everyday or around the house
  • Leave these clothes at your place of business to avoid transmitting any bacteria at your house
  • Always maintain cleanliness of your animal cages at your place of work
  • Making sure you avoid direct skin contact with such things as urine, faeces or other animal bodily fluids
  • Making sure you and your other workers are all trained efficiently and know what to do in an emergency situation

Working with animals should not be a hassle, it should be a fun experience for everyone to enjoy! Make sure you follow this advice in this article and you will forever have a pleasant experience!

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