Health, Safety & Disease Prevention
Disease & Prevention
Humans can contract diseases from animals. The most effective means of preventing disease transmission is to:
- Wash your hands frequently with antibacterial soap, especially after handling animals and
- prior to eating or drinking.
- Wear gloves when cleaning (especially when cleaning up waste and litter) and/or when
- handling animals.
- Immediately disinfect scratches and bite wounds.
- Let your physician know that you work closely with shelter dogs.
Some of the illnesses that humans can catch from dogs include ringworm, external parasites (lice, mites, fleas), giardiasis (Beaver Fever), leptospirosis (Weil's Disease), Lyme Disease, nematode (worm) infections, rabies, and salmonellosis (salmonella). You should not let this list alarm you but rather remind you that you are volunteering in a hospital-like environment where these organisms often exist.
Just as you can catch illnesses from dogs, you can also unknowingly carry illnesses home to your pets. The most effective means of preventing the spread of illness to your pets (or from your pets to our rescue animals) is to:
- Make sure that your own animals have up-to-date vaccinations.
- Change your shelter clothes before socializing with your animals at home, and vice versa.
- Check the soles of your shoes before leaving the rescue to ensure you are not tracking feces into your car and home. Even better, designate a pair of shoes to be your "rescue shoes" and take them off before entering your home.
- Let your veterinarian know that you work with rescue dogs.
Signs of Illness
Maintaining the health of our animals and helping prevent the spread of disease is everyone's job. If a rescue dog or cat shows any signs of illness, read the kennel card to see if the symptom has already been noted and is being treated. If it has not, or if you notice that previously observed symptoms have gotten worse, immediately notify the Rescue Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator or other Staff Member.
Watch for symptoms such as:
- Eye discharge
- Nasal discharge
- Loss of appetite, weight loss
- Lethargy (lack of energy)
- Limp/abnormal gait or muscle control
- Excessive salivation
- Aggressive/unusual behavior