Needles and syringes are commonly used on dairy operations to administer vaccinations and treatments prescribed by your veterinarian. Although very few viral diseases in cattle can cause disease in humans, there are many bacteria that can pose a threat to humans. That makes it important for you to handle needles and other sharp objects properly.

Dee Griffen, veterinarian at the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center in Clay Center, Neb., offers these suggestions to help you handle and dispose of sharps - hypodermic needles, syringes and scalpel blades:

  • Obtain a hard plastic or metal container with a screw-on or tight-fitting lid, such as a plastic laundry detergent container or coffee can.
  • Label the container with a safety label such as "Sharps Disposal Container."
  • When the container is full, add dry cement to it and fill with water to "trap" the sharps in the container. Let the cement dry for 24 hours and then seal the container tightly.
  • Contact your local waste disposal system to get approval for sending the sealed sharps to a landfill.

Your veterinarian learned about sharps disposal in the July-August issue of Bovine Veterinarian. Ask him about it.