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Careful needle use prevents spread of livestock disease

In a set of training modules for veterinarians, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service touches on some important considerations for the re-use of needles when treating animals.

In the module, the agency explains the ever-present need for veterinarians and livestock producers to be careful when re-using needles. Used needles carry blood and tissues that act as fomites (objects that can carry infections) that may transmit any joyriding pathogens if inserted into another animal. This can lead to disease spreading from animal to animal, and herd to herd.

That said, using the same needle multiple times is normal in many situations, especially when treating a herd of large animals. In these cases, needles should still be swapped out periodically — for example, around every 10–15 head, or with every syringeful of vaccine.

When a needle’s life is through, they should be discarded properly according to local guidelines. Cleaning syringes thoroughly can also help prevent the spread of disease.

Bovine Vet Online notes several diseases that producers must be careful of when re-using needles:

  • Bovine leucosis
  • Bovine virus diarrhea
  • Bluetongue
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Caprine arthritis and encephalitis
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Strangles
  • Ringworm
  • Clostridial disease (blackleg)
  • Caseous lymphadenitis
  • Foreign animal diseases

Neogen is a leader in providing needles to the livestock, companion animal and veterinary industries, including disposable and detectable needles.

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