Stuck myself with a needle I just used on my dog. Should I freak out?
October 29, 2009 5:40 AM   Subscribe

Stuck myself with a needle I just used on my dog. Should I freak out?

I've had to give my dog fluids subcutaneously for the past few days.

Each needle is disposable, and has a plastic base that slides over the end of the line attached to the bag of fluid.

I just finished one of those sessions, and removed the needle from my dog. Then, I tried to remove the needle itself from the end of the line.

I think I had pushed the needle's base on too far, and it was stuck. I was kind of tugging it to get it off, and I stabbed myself pretty badly with it and drew blood.

Now I'm freaking out thinking of all the crap he tries to eat on his walks (garbage, roadkill, animal poop) and all the unknown pathogens that might be in his system.

Also the fact that his illness has, despite visits to two different vets, basic bloodwork and xrays, still not been diagnosed. One vet told me it's possible he has cancer, but that would need an MRI to diagnose, and I have to wait for the next paycheck to afford that.

So? Should I freak out? Is there anything I can do?
posted by anonymousme to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
It's not nearly as bad as if this was an IV that had blood in it. Just from experience having a IV therapist mother that has had a few accidental sticks over the years and hearing how they handle stuff. I'd probably not worry about it that much. I hope you cleaned the area with nasty stuff pretty quickly?

Even an IV that just came out of a vein of a guy infected with HIV getting stuck into your own vein will be fail to pass the disease most of the time. A little bit of dog dirt and skin getting under your skin? Probably safer than driving on an interstate. You could call your doctor or a vet and see what they think. Personally I'd probably wait until the area looked infected or something similarly scary.
posted by floam at 5:47 AM on October 29, 2009

Call a doctor -- you're almost certainly fine unless your dog is known to be infected with Ebola or rabies or what not.
posted by wrok at 5:49 AM on October 29, 2009

Yep, I went straight to the bathroom, washed the spot off and cleaned it with hand sanitizer...

I'm not as much worried about a skin infection as putting something weird into my system.
posted by anonymousme at 5:49 AM on October 29, 2009

I am not a doctor. I would not freak out. I've been bitten by enough non-rabid animals to know the doctor isn't really going to do anything. It's a needle hole, so it's not like you can clean it out real effectively. And were it me, I wouldn't want a gigantic dose of preemptive antibiotics, especially since there wasn't any dog blood in there.

If your immune system is working ok, don't worry. Keep an eye on it. If it gets swollen and looks like it might be infected, call your doctor. Or call the doctor for peace of mind anyway.
posted by paanta at 5:51 AM on October 29, 2009

Co-workers who have stuck themselves giving small animals subcu injections squeeze the needle stick to get a couple of drops of blood out. Obviously IANYD. Or your vet. I'm assuming your dog has probably had a crapload of labwork done already if it is to the stage of getting an MRI- anything serious probably would have been picked up already.

To state the obvious: next time cap the needle, turn so the threads on the needle base and cap click (or those ridge-y things if it isn't the screw type), and rotate it off (or twist back and forth while pulling the needle off). Best to your dog- he's lucky to have an owner willing to do all those injections for him!
posted by variella at 5:54 AM on October 29, 2009

Don't worry, you're not going to become teenwolf. While it's not great, the worst case is you get an infection and a needle poke isn't going to be something you can clean out anyway. Watch for signs of infection and go to the doctor first time you see any.
posted by iamabot at 7:24 AM on October 29, 2009

As a healthy person who has been stuck at least a dozen times by needles used on animals, I would say that you are probably fine. Needle sticks can be sore for a couple of days. Wash, watch and see a doctor if it gets infected.
posted by little miss s at 7:36 AM on October 29, 2009

Our vet once poked herself with a needle she had just used to give one of our dogs a vaccination. She said that, while it wasn't ideal, it wasn't something she was going to worry too much about because there aren't too many things that a healthy, vaccinated dog can have that can make a person sick.
posted by not that girl at 8:23 AM on October 29, 2009

I managed to needle-stick myself after giving my diabetic cat a shot, when I was due to give blood the next day. I went in and asked the blood bank person if there was any sort of concern about me donating, and she said needle sticks from pets are not an issue for the blood banks. So if that makes you feel any better, the blood banks apparently aren't concerned about anything weird being in your system.
posted by Stacey at 2:51 PM on October 29, 2009

My sister (going for her MSN) gave me the % chance of getting HIV if you accidentally stuck yourself with a contaminated needle (non-IV). I can't remember the number. I want to say 0.09%; it's less than 0.10% in any case. And that's for something transmissible between humans.

I highly doubt the dog has anything that can be transferred to you, especially if he was getting subcutaneous injections. Just in the future if you do poke yourself again, wash it out with iodine solution and squirt out as much of the blood under running water as you can. Antibiotic ointment doesn't hurt either.

I work at an animal hospital, and sadly enough, poke myself with dirty needles more than I'd like. One time I was closing an overstuffed sharps container and something mysterious from it poked me really deep. Nuthin' happened.
posted by problemcat at 4:01 PM on October 29, 2009

Like Stacy above, I've stuck myself with the needle that I just used to inject sub-Q fluids into my cat. Multiple times. Other than the panic attack that the needle stick (and the needle itself) induces, I've been just fine - my only true phobia is needles and having skin broken/pierced by one.

There's been no cat-to-human transfer here. I imagine that you'll be fine with your dog-to-human needle stick.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 6:00 PM on October 29, 2009

I also stuck myself with my cat's sub-Q fluids needle on more than one occasion. Ouch, but nothing happened; just cleaned it thoroughly and had no problems.
posted by OolooKitty at 9:29 PM on October 29, 2009

I asked my veterinary consultant at the University in my town (somewhere in Nigeria) and he said the only thing you'd need to worry about is the stuff you were injecting your dog with. If it was fluids, no problem. I asked "what about the blood mixing" he said there are no known diseases that can affect you from such a thing.

Looks like you're in the clear!
posted by pick_the_flowers at 6:56 AM on October 30, 2009

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