Surgical hand antisepsis in veterinary practice: evaluation of soap scrubs and alcohol based rub techniques

Vet J. 2011 Dec;190(3):372-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2010.12.020. Epub 2011 Feb 12.


Recent studies have shown that hydro-alcoholic solutions are more efficient than traditional medicated soaps in the pre-surgical hand antisepsis of human surgeons but there is little veterinary literature on the subject. The aim of this study was to compare the efficiency of medicated soaps and a hydro-alcoholic solution prior to surgery using an in-use testing method in a veterinary setting. A preliminary trial was performed that compared the mean log(10) number of bacterial colony forming units (CFU) and the reduction factors (RF) between two 5-min hand-scrubbing sessions using different soaps, namely, povidone iodine (PVP) and chlorhexidine gluconate (CHX), and the 1.5-min application of a hydro-alcoholic rub. A clinical in-use trial was then used to compare the hydro-alcoholic rub and CHX in a surgical setting. Sampling was performed using finger printing on agar plates. The hydro-alcoholic rub and CHX had a similar immediate effect, although the sustained effect was significantly better for the hydro-alcoholic rub, while PVP had a significantly lower immediate and sustained effect. The hydro-alcoholic rub showed good efficiency in the clinical trial and could be considered as a useful alternative method for veterinary surgical hand antisepsis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local*
  • Antisepsis / methods*
  • Chlorhexidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Hand / microbiology
  • Hand Disinfection / methods*
  • Horses / surgery
  • Humans
  • Povidone-Iodine
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Soaps*
  • Surgery, Veterinary*
  • Surgical Wound Infection / prevention & control
  • Surgical Wound Infection / veterinary


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Soaps
  • ethylhexadecyldimethylammonium
  • Povidone-Iodine
  • chlorhexidine gluconate
  • Chlorhexidine