Presurgical hand antisepsis: concepts and current habits of veterinary surgeons

Vet Surg. 2011 Jul;40(5):515-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-950X.2011.00846.x.


Objective: To assess current habits for surgical hand preparation among veterinary surgical specialists and to compare data with current guidelines for hand asepsis techniques.

Study design: Survey of veterinary surgical specialists.

Sample population: Diplomates of the American (ACVS) and European Colleges of Veterinary Surgeons (ECVS).

Methods: An internet-based survey of hand preparation methods before surgical procedures was conducted of 1300 listed ACVS and ECVS Diplomates.

Results: A 42.6% response rate was obtained. Approximately, 80% of respondents use disinfecting soaps as a primary method for hand antisepsis. Of those, 81% use chlorhexidine-based scrubs and 7% use a neutral soap followed by a hydroalcoholic solution.

Conclusions: Contrary to current recommendations of the World Health Organization and scientific evidence supporting use of hydro-alcoholic rubs for presurgical hand preparation, veterinary surgical specialists still use surgical scrub solutions containing disinfecting soaps.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Clinical Competence
  • Europe
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Hand Disinfection / methods*
  • Hand Disinfection / standards
  • Humans
  • Preoperative Period*
  • Surgery, Veterinary*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Veterinarians*


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local