Stabbed self while injecting cat

samus

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Anyone stab themself while/after injecting a cat? I gave my cat subcutaneous B-12 today and gave myself a little poke putting the syringe cap back on. It's a tiny needle (insulin syringe), and the wound was about the size you give yourself if you have to check your blood sugar. I squeezed as much blood as possible out (a couple drops) to try to rinse out anything that got in.

Who else is a klutz with needles? Any infections I should worry about? My cat is on steroids (bowel problems) and one vet speculated that she might have toxo (because of her uneven sized pupils), but if she had that I'd probably already have caught it by now....
 

denice

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I think wait and see is about all you can do.  Hopefully it doesn't get infected.  Squeezing it to get it to bleed some is probably the best thing you could have done.   I think the only other communicable disease between cats and humans is rabies, I am sure that isn't a concern.
 

stephenq

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Anyone stab themself while/after injecting a cat? I gave my cat subcutaneous B-12 today and gave myself a little poke putting the syringe cap back on. It's a tiny needle (insulin syringe), and the wound was about the size you give yourself if you have to check your blood sugar. I squeezed as much blood as possible out (a couple drops) to try to rinse out anything that got in.

Who else is a klutz with needles? Any infections I should worry about? My cat is on steroids (bowel problems) and one vet speculated that she might have toxo (because of her uneven sized pupils), but if she had that I'd probably already have caught it by now....
I've done that, kinda freaks you out right?  Nothing ever came of it.... :)
 

ruthm

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Oh my goodness, been there, done that many many times, you were trying to put the cap back on the syringe right? .....
   My girl was diabetic, and I know plenty of others who have stabbed themselves plenty of times. It never had any other effect than irritation and momentary pain.
 

betsygee

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 It never had any other effect than irritation and momentary pain.
I agree.  At one point last year, I had two cats on sub-q fluids at the same time and another one who needed vit. B injections.  I stuck myself a few times but it didn't do any harm.
 

fyllis

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In 20+ years of nursing, I only had one needle stick injury and I am SO grateful it was a clean needle (not used). 

There is strict protocol in the human medical field regarding needle safety and we are taught the proper handling, usage and disposal of needles. The protocol is much more lax in veterinary medicine and I think that is partially due to the low incidence of bloodborne pathogens such as Hepatitis-B and C, and HIV. However, there are transmittable pathogens in animals that can be introduced to humans via a dirty needle stick such as Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Blastomyces, Pasteurella, and Streptococcus which could be present on a used needle which are picked up from the animals skin when the needle is injected. In addition to the pathogens, there substances such as modified live vaccines, antimicrobials, chemotherapeutics, euthanasia solutions, and anesthetics that could pose potential risks ranging from local irritation to systemic reactions. 

Other dangers and risks can escalate when the stick hits a nerve in your finger or goes into the bone! 

Of course, those people with a compromised immune system themselves would be at a higher risk. That would include, but not be limited to, diabetics, cancer/chemo patients, anyone on blood thinners (that would allow a quicker transportation of any pathogen or other substance to enter the blood stream), anyone with a cold or the flu, allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, depression, mononucleosis, HIV/AIDS and those who are elderly, smoke and/or consume alcohol. Stress and anxiety can lower your immune system as well.  

Wow! Right? The infections that result are referred to as "oppotunistic infections" because they take advantage of weak immune systems. Having multiple conditions increases your risk - me, for example! I am 'elderly' (yea, even though I am only 58, I fall into that category), blood thinners, allergies, a smoker, social drinker, stress, depression, and I am on several cardio meds. Do you think my immune system is compromised? DUH! 

OK, so how can we avoid accidental needle sticks? First, NEVER recap a used needle! There is always that one-in-a-million chance of sticking yourself and it just is NOT worth the risk! 

Also, there is a great risk to the trash collectors because the containers often break, or needles can project through the plastic containers when juggled around in the trash. Not to mention, there ARE drug abusers who will go around on 'trash night' and rumage through trash cans looking for disposed needles... and once they find them, they will return week after week to collect your used needles!  And, don't forget about the stray animals (cats, dogs, racoons, and others) that might rummage through your trash and get injured! NOTE: Sharps containers should NEVER be disposed of in your household trash! So, what do you do? 

1. Check with you vet or pharmacy about Safety Lock insulin syringes. Immediately after injection, there is a cylinder on the syringe that slides over the needle and locks in place to prevent accidental sticks. There a few different types of safety syringes available, so ask about what they have.

2. Check with your vet or pharmacy about Sharps containers for safe disposal without recapping the needle.

3. Check with your vet or pharmacy about disposal of your Sharps container. Options vary in the US depending on your location, but many will do an exchange of the filled container for an empty container (you might have to purchase the first container) - similar to trading in your empty propane tank on your gas grill for a filled one). 

4. Check with your local trash collection company for guidelines on proper Sharps disposal in your area. 

5. If you have no other options (depending on your geographical location and/or resources) you can make your own Sharps disposal container using a coffee can or glass jar with a lid. Again, check for proper disposal of the container in your area. 

If you feel you must recap a needle for any reason (I personally cannot think of a legitimate reason), learn how to safely recap by using the 'scoop' method. After removing the cap from the needle, lay it on a flat surface nearby. Once you give the injection, using ONE hand, hold the syringe at the plunger end and guide the needle into the cap. Carefully, raise the syringe to a vertical position so the cap remains over the needle, then carefully use your thumb and forefinger at the base of the cap to click it in place and dispose of the syringe in a proper container. 

A second method is similar to the scoop method - same as above, except once you slide the needle into the cap using one hand, up-end the syringe carefully so the tip of the cap is on the table and you can hold the plunger end of the needle and click it down into the cap. This is best done when the syringe is on a towel to prevent it from sliding on the table surface. 

Be very careful to be sure the cap is on straight and the needle is not bent. This could result in the needle being pushed through the cap and, therefore, sticking you! 

To sum it up - check with your vet, pharmacy and/or trash collection company on proper handling and disposal of needles and syringes. Ask about safety syringes and methods of disposing your Sharps containers - 

1. Ask about Drop Box sites for containers (some local hospitals also have these) where you can drop off filled containers for a nominal fee.

2. There are Mail-Back programs where you can order conempty containers and then mail back the filled ones for disposal.

3. In the US, there is the Syringe Exchange Program where you can safely exchange used needle for used ones (I am not sure if this is for 'all' needles or if this program is just for drug users to prevent them from re-using dirty needles?) You can contact them at  North American Syringe Exchange Network at (253) 272-4857 or online at www.nasen.org

4. There is also an At-Home Needle Destruction Device that sever, burn, and completely desroy the needle from the syringe. Downside is they cost about $250.00. But, if you happen to also be a diabetic on onsulin, this might be something to check into as it would pay for itself over time. Just Google "sharps disposal devices''.

I hope this has helped some of you with any dilemma you might have regarding accidental needle sticks and proper handling and disposal. I've added a short video showing the "scoop'' method of recapping a needle. 

 
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donutte

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Oh my goodness, did this a couple of times, either while trying to remove the needle to change it (those things just never wanted to come out!) or putting the cap back on. I have shaky hands so that didn't help at all. It was never nearly as bad as it was when Lucky bit me while trying to give him some meds  though.
 

fyllis

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ADDENDUM:  Typo correction!

3. In the US, there is the Syringe Exchange Program where you can safely exchange used needle for used ones <--- incorrect!

Should read:

3. In the US, there is the Syringe Exchange Program where you can safely exchange used needle for clean ones 

You should also be current on your tetanus shot! 

And keep in mind, if you should stick yourself with a clean needle, that needle is now contaminated - do NOT use it on your pet! Discard it as a used needle. You can transmit infections and diseases to your pet when using a dirty/contaminated needle.

Maybe I should start a campaign to make it mandatory for all Vets to give hands-on instruction on proper usage and disposal of needles and syringes? Write up an illustrated pamphlet to be given to all pet parents needing to self-inoculate their pets. It's done for humans - it should be done for our pets as well! 

How many of you were handed a vial of medication and a box of syringes  and told, 'Here ya go. Just give him a shot twice a day." and didn't get any directions or demonstrations on how to do it? I think Vets need to up their protocol when it comes to medications and their administration. I had to give a required amount of patient and family teaching (verbal and hands-on) with a return demonstration by the patient and/or caregiver to assure they knew what to do and how to do it! 

If you don't know or aren't sure - it is YOUR responsibility to ask! 
 

ruthm

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Maybe I should start a campaign to make it mandatory for all Vets to give hands-on instruction on proper usage and disposal of needles and syringes? Write up an illustrated pamphlet to be given to all pet parents needing to self-inoculate their pets. It's done for humans - it should be done for our pets as well! 
How many of you were handed a vial of medication and a box of syringes  and told, 'Here ya go. Just give him a shot twice a day." and didn't get any directions or demonstrations on how to do it? I think Vets need to up their protocol when it comes to medications and their administration. I had to give a required amount of patient and family teaching (verbal and hands-on) with a return demonstration by the patient and/or caregiver to assure they knew what to do and how to do it! 

If you don't know or aren't sure - it is YOUR responsibility to ask! 
I consider myself very fortunate that I have a very good vet clinic. Whereas many veterinarians only get  a few hours training on feline diabetes, mine is very informed and what she didn't know, she researched and found out. I was given a very through lesson on how to test blood glucose as well as how to administer insulin and dispose of the used syringe. The clinic took in the used syringes.
 

betsygee

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My vets know what they're doing, too.  As I'm sure many do.  I was given thorough instructions and told I could either bring the used needles back in or get a sharps container myself.  

Even with good instruction, people who aren't used to giving injections will probably stick themselves along the way.  
 

PushPurrCatPaws

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ADDENDUM:  ...
And keep in mind, if you should stick yourself with a clean needle, that needle is now contaminated - do NOT use it on your pet! Discard it as a used needle. You can transmit infections and diseases to your pet when using a dirty/contaminated needle.
...


I was going to bring that up, too, thanks! :D

My last cat had some health issues during her last years, and I had to give a handful of subQ shots to her each day. Invariably there was a time or three I poked my own finger before giving a shot -- time to redo the whole med or vitamin dose in those instances!
 

LTS3

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There are clippers that will remove the needle from a syringe and safely store it untl you throw the entire clipper away. BD makes one: https://www.bd.com/us/diabetes/page.aspx?cat=7002&id=7416 BD also has a mail-in program to dispose of  filled Sharps containers.
 
How many of you were handed a vial of medication and a box of syringes  and told, 'Here ya go. Just give him a shot twice a day." and didn't get any directions or demonstrations on how to do it? I think Vets need to up their protocol when it comes to medications and their administration. I had to give a required amount of patient and family teaching (verbal and hands-on) with a return demonstration by the patient and/or caregiver to assure they knew what to do and how to do it! 

If you don't know or aren't sure - it is YOUR responsibility to ask! 
I already knew how to give various shots on animals before my cat was diagnosed as diabetic so learning how to give an insulin shot was really easy. At the vet hospital I go to, it's standad protocol for vet techs to meet with the pet owner at discharge to go over the medicines and the dosage of each and how to measure the dose on the syringe, what side effects there might be, etc.  I agree that there should be a standard protocol for vets on how to show / train a pet owner to not only give injections and handle syringes / needles properly but also how to measure the medicine or fluid correctly. Newbies on the Feline Diabetes board often incorrectly measure insulin doses because they're not sure how to read the insulin syring markings and were too overwhelmed or scared to ask the vet or vet tech. They see the line marked as 10 and somehow think that is 1 (or 1.0) and end up ODing the cat.
 

jcat

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I've managed to stick myself once or twice and just sprayed some antiseptic on the spot and forgot about it. Another volunteer gave me a Baytril injection instead of the bunny I was holding, too. :lol3: Luckily I didn't have an allergic reaction.
 
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donutte

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I've managed to stick myself once or twice and just sprayed some antseptic on the spot and forgot about it. Another volunteer gave me a Baytril injection instead of the bunny I was holding, too.
Luckily I didn't have an allergic reaction
Omg! That's way worse that just getting stuck!
 

jcat

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I've managed to stick myself once or twice and just sprayed some antiseptic on the spot and forgot about it. Another volunteer gave me a Baytril injection instead of the bunny I was holding, too. :lol3: Luckily I didn't have an allergic reaction
Omg! That's way worse that just getting stuck!
It was pretty funny, and she was mortified. In her defense, the bunny wouldn't hold still and was fairly long-haired, so it wasn't her being a klutz.
 

fyllis

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It was pretty funny, and she was mortified. In her defense, the bunny wouldn't hold still and was fairly long-haired, so it wasn't her being a klutz.
You thought it was pretty funny and she was mortified, but those are exactly the type of incidents that should never happen. 

It wasn't life-threatening to the bunny if it didn't receive the shot immediately; but it could have been life-threatening if you had had an allergic reaction, incurred a serious infection or nerve damage - all of which were potential hazards. Fortunately, you can laugh it off now. She should have stopped immediately until she had better control of the situation. 

More than once, I had uncooperative or combative patients and I withheld the injection for my own safety until they either calmed down or I had assistance. I personally know one nurse who was 'accidentally' stuck and just rinsed her finger with peroxide and went on about her business and eventually lost her finger to amputation because the infection penetrated her bone. 

It's scary to read how many people take accidental needle sticks so lightly. And while most Vets show you how to give an injection, a 10 or 15 minutes 'walk-through' just isn't sufficient enough because there are too many factors to cover. I just think it's dangerous for 'most' lay people to be giving shots without extensive training. But, that is my opinion...
 

jcat

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fyllis fyllis She's a trained physician's assistant, so hardly a layperson. She did have assistance - from me. Accidents do happen, even to professionals, and animals can be very unpredictable. Both my husband and my sister were/have been RNs for decades, and I know they've both had a couple of accidental sticks and survived.
 

kittycort

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Anyone stab themself while/after injecting a cat? I gave my cat subcutaneous B-12 today and gave myself a little poke putting the syringe cap back on. It's a tiny needle (insulin syringe), and the wound was about the size you give yourself if you have to check your blood sugar. I squeezed as much blood as possible out (a couple drops) to try to rinse out anything that got in.

Who else is a klutz with needles? Any infections I should worry about? My cat is on steroids (bowel problems) and one vet speculated that she might have toxo (because of her uneven sized pupils), but if she had that I'd probably already have caught it by now....
Is it bad that this made me laugh a little?
 
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samus

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Be very careful to be sure the cap is on straight and the needle is not bent. This could result in the needle being pushed through the cap and, therefore, sticking you! 
That's exactly what happened. The only impenetrable enough container I had for a sharps container was only large enough for the needles, and somewhere between recapping the needle and twisting it off the syringe the needle bent and stabbed me through the cap.
Is it bad that this made me laugh a little?
Yes. :| :p
 
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