Vet Tech work while pregnant

Cynthia Flynn's picture
Experts: 

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
Recently found out I am pregnant. I am probably about 5-6 wks. I work as a veterinary technician. I haven't been to my first appointment yet but was wondering about my job risks.

I work mostly with dogs and cats. Daily job duties can include: cleaning cages and litter boxes, walking dogs, using strong cleaning agents and disinfectants such as bleach pine sol and roccal, sweeping & mopping, restraining animals (including dogs big and small as well as aggressive animals), taking x-rays, assisting in surgeries, dealing with bodily fluids of all types.

My employer was at first ok with my refusal to do things but I get the impression now that if I refuse it will go against me. How much of this should I refuse to do.

ANSWER

Quite a bit. You cannot clean cat cages without heavy gloves, and then only carefully, so you have zero contact with the feces (and wash your hands carefully after doing so).

Your employer should have Material Data Safety Sheets on all chemicals used by employees, and you can check each one to see what the risks for pregnancy are.

You cannot lift (or restrain) any animal that weighs more than 20#. You need to be double-shielded to be around x-rays. The surgeries are probably ok, and I assume you use Universal Precautions with the body fluids.

Any chance of getting a desk job for the duration?

-- Cynthia, CNM. PhD.