There are standards for precautions in veterinary medicine that are designed to help stop the spread of certain diseases from animals to the humans caring for them. Among these standards are guidelines that specifically target medical waste disposal at these clinics.
In 2003 there was an outbreak of African monkey-pox infection inside the United States. Of the 71 individuals who became infected with the disease, 18 were individuals working inside of veterinary clinics. As a result, authorities realized the potential risk that these workers were facing, and the immediate need for infection control methods in veterinary medicine. African monkey-pox is just one of 868 known human pathogens that are zoophytic. Others include plague, salmonellae, and Q fever.
Veterinary Medical Waste Disposal
The AVMA defines veterinary medical waste as being sharps, tissues, contaminated materials and animal carcasses. They recommend that these items be handled with care and packaged in a way that prevents spills or leaks. Sharps used for the treatment of animals need to be placed inside of puncture and leak resistant rigid containers that are able to be sealed permanently. If the waste has not been sterilized, it should be placed inside of containers that bear the universal biohazard symbol.
Sharp containers used in veterinary medicine should be found in every area where animals are being cared for. All used syringes should be placed inside of these boxes after fluids have been drawn or medicines have been injected into an animal – infected or not. You are not permitted to cut needles before disposing of them, nor should the syringe be removed by hand. If there is a need to remove the syringe from the needle prior to disposal, it should be done using the needle removal device found on many sharps containers.
As with other healthcare facilities, sharps containers should never go above 2/3 capacity and the contents should never be transferred from one box to another. The safest method for removal and replacement is with a licensed medical waste disposal company. MedWaste Management can assist you in finding permanent locations for sharps containers inside of your clinic and replace them for you on demand.
Following the guidelines for infection control is extremely important in veterinary medicine. Animals are carriers for numerous diseases, many of which can be transmitted to humans. Transmission is not just through contact with blood or other bodily fluids. In some instances these diseases are airborne, making the handling of all materials that an infected animal has come in contact with critical.
In order to secure the health and safety of the individuals working inside of your veterinary clinic, and the general population, always follow the guidelines stated for medical waste disposal in veterinary practices. Working with a professional medical waste disposal company will significantly cut the risk of infectious materials being exposed to workers and patient-owners.