I was using a very pointy exacto knife
when skinning squirrels and I poked my self
about three times on accident. Just wondering
what diseases could be transmited this way.
I swithched blades to a scaple that way the point
cant cut me.
Return to Beginners Category Menu
I think any time you're dealing with carcass and cut yourself you have the possibility of at least an infection. I believe thats what happened to me this past December. About 2 days after skinning a coyote, some fingers on my left hand started to tingle, well the next morning the whole hand was about swollen stiff and warm as hell. The only open skin i could find were areas where my skin peeled dry and after some antibiotics i was fine but it was a wierd feelin.
I am not a doctor, but I had the same concerns when I started trapping at the beginning of this season and asked my doctor about it. He told me that the only major blood borne disease you can get is rabies. and it is only more common among a few animals, i.e. skunks and raccoons. Even among these animals it is very rare nowadays and you can usually tell some sort of strange behavior before dispatching the animal. I would be more concerned about the lice on the body of a squirrel than I would a disease.
You certainly can be infected by diseases and other maladies from skinning animals. (BTW, scroll down the to Pigs with Rabies posting and find out that rabies insn't blood borne.) Staph, tetanus, and blood poisoning can be gotten from puncture wounds (You SHOULD have a tetanus shot up to date always). From rabbits, there is tularemia which CAN infect any rodent. Raccoons have larvael paracites in their feces that can cause fatal brain diseases. Everytime you start to reach for a dead animal, you should be rubber gloved. I always double glove on foxes and raccoons. Anytime that barrier is penetrated,you should stop what you're doing, clean the wound, apply antiseptic, and bandage it before you restart your work. ALWAYS.
George, I agree that you should always practice cleanliness because things like staph, tetanus and cellulitis (blood poisoning) one is more likely to get it from using dirty equipment than from an animal. Yes, always have your shots up to date.
Also if you are skinning an animal you shouldn't be messing with the guts and intestines. This, in itself, will severly limit your exposure to intestinal parasites.
Rabies is a virus which can be transmitted either through the blood or the saliva of an infected animal.
Peter, err on the side of caution. The less confortable you are with something the more saftey precautions you should take. I just know what I have read in these pamphlets that my doctor gave me, and I also know that I have gutted and skinned dozens deer and dozens of furbearers all without gloves and I have yet to have had a problem.
If you only skin one animal in your lifetime, chances are slim that you will get any knid of disease, virus, infection, etc. however, if you are doing it frequently, you greatly increase the chance. As George suggests, error on the side of caution. Latex gloves are really cheap, especially when you consider the costs of medical care in the event you do catch something.
first time in 22 years of taxidermy I got a terrible staph infection after nicking myself popping out elk whistlers. It was a very small nick on the side of my thumb but by the next morning it was so swelled up and had a red streak running midway up my forearm. By the time I had reached the doctor it was all the way up my arm into my armpit and limpnodes, painful and very sick. Had my tetnus and a couple of other shots, not fun!
Animal mouths are the worst, with humans mouths being number two on the list behind rodents. Think about that. Error on the side of caution.
Dont skin out african monkeys, and get cut. They all have HIV/AID's. Thats how the whole HIV epidemic started.
are great! For years I used to skin everything without them and always thought that they would be a nuisance. I was WRONG. I use them now for almost everything from skinning to painting, salting, washing skins. There fine, no more cleaning blood and gunk out from under my fingernails. Like George said, keep a clean work area. If I accidentaly cut myself thru the glove I stop clean it and put on a fresh glove, good to go! During the deer season when I am skinning alot, I keep a small bucket of water and lysol on my table and sponge off my bench and floor periodically thoughout the day. This way when clients come in with there wifes they do not gasp with fear! My wife really likes me wearing gloves too!
I poked through my glove while skinning out a buffalo head. didn't even draw blood. few days later i woke up with a lymph node in my elbow area and armpit that was huge. doctor said it was similiar to the old cat scratch fever stuff. he said the lymph was doing its job. antibiotics did the job in a couple of days.
I was doing a skull mount of a deer for a customer back at the end of October 03. I was wearing a pair of surgical gloves, but as I was removing the bottom jaw, the bottom, front teeth cut through them in the webbing of my glove. A very small cut, I wasn't worried. I immediatly washed and clensed with alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. Two days later, I couldn't move my thumb and fingers as they were swollen and burnning. A refresher teatnus shot and antibiotics for seven days later it was much better, but the antibiotics gave me a more serious condition intestinally. Took about a month but fine now. BE CAREFUL !