Handling and Housing Patients with Infectious Diseases

Handling and Housing Patients with Infectious Diseases


When an infectious disease that potentially poses a risk to other animals visiting or housed at the VH is included on the list of potential differential diagnoses the following steps must be taken. Communication and diligent hand washing are essential for preventing potential transmission within the hospital.

Steps that must be taken

General Communication

  • Inform the senior clinician, and technician supervisor. Contact the hospital epidemiologist if they are not available or if you have questions.


  • Any person handling the animal should use gloves, and other appropriate personal protective equipment (e.g. gowns).
  • Hands must be washed after handling the animal and after glove removal.

Transport and Housing

Identified at the time of first contact by receptionist or CT.

  • Contact the senior clinician, who will discuss the case with the technician¬† supervisor to determine if the animal needs to be immediately placed in isolation or another type of restriction.

Identified in the examination room:

  • Leave the animal in the examination room and contact the senior clinician and the technician supervisor who will assign cleaning staff to disinfect the room.
  • Place a sign on the room to prevent anyone else from entering.¬† Signs are available in each examination room.

Identified after admission:

  • The animal must be transported on a cart, dedicated to that animal.
  • If moving within the hospital at the time it is determined the animal has a zoonotic infection, either place the animal directly in isolation or if you are unsure, return the animal to its current cage and contact the treating technician assigned to the patient, the technician supervisor and/or the senior clinician.
  • The senior clinician will discuss the case with the technician supervisor and/or hospital epidemiologist.
  • At times the placement of the animal may require e-mail correspondence, a group meeting, or conference call. Final decisions about the placement of the animal will be made by the hospital epidemiologist in cooperation with the senior clinician, and service chief of the area in which the animal was admitted.
  • Place a biohazard/infectious disease sign on the cage.

Specimen labeling, handling and reporting

  • All specimens must be labeled with an appropriate biohazard disease risk sticker.
  • If the specimen is negative no other reporting is required than the appropriate addition of the information to the medical record.
  • If the specimen is positive: The clinical microbiology laboratory will notify the clinician, senior clinician, technician supervisor and hospital epidemiologist.
  • At that time a meeting, conference call or group e-mail contact will be held to discuss the case.
  • The attending or senior clinician will contact the owner to inform them about the situation.¬† A script is available for discussion with client (Script under construction).