Routine Practices that are critical to infectious disease prevention and control:
Hand hygiene, including:
Risk reduction strategies, particularly those related to:
Risk assessment of animals and personnel with regard to:
Hand hygiene is the single most important way to prevent infections in the healthcare setting. Intact skin is the first line of defense against bacteria. Hand hygiene of some kind should be performed:
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is used to protect veterinary personnel and to reduce the risk of pathogen transmission by clothing to patients, owners, veterinary personnel and the public.
Gloves should be worn when contact with blood, body fluids, secretions, excretions and mucous membranes is possible, as well as when cleaning environmental surfaces and when doing laundry if gross contamination of items is present.
Cleaning involves the removal of visible organic matter with soap or detergent, whereas disinfection involves the application of a chemical or other procedure in order to kill the remaining microorganisms.
Laundry is also an important component of a complete infectious disease control program.
Linens used in veterinary clinics should be laundered together using detergent, and dried in a hot air dryer to promote killing of microorganisms.
Veterinary clinic waste is a potential source of both zoonotic and non-zoonotic infectious pathogens. Therefore, it is important to handle all such waste appropriately.
All surgical procedures cause breaks in the normal defensive barriers of the skin or mucous membranes, and therefore carry an inherent risk of surgical site infection (SSI). Good general infection control practices (e.g. hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfection) are important for prevention of SSIs, but there are also specific infection control measures pertaining to surgery that should be considered.
All personnel in the surgical area should wear designated surgical scrubs, a surgery cap or hair bonnet, and a nose-and-mouth mask when surgery is underway.
Peri-operative antimicrobials are indicated in clean-contaminated, contaminated and dirty procedures. The need for antimicrobial prophylaxis in clean procedures is unclear.
Contact with a surgical incision post-operatively, particularly with bare hands, should be avoided.
Every veterinary clinic should have an isolation area for caring for and housing animals with potentially contagious infectious diseases.
All personnel entering an isolation area, regardless of whether they plan on having direct contact with the animal, must wear appropriate personal protective clothing.
Footwear and floor surfaces cannot be overlooked in an infection control program in a small animal clinic, because patients so often have extensive direct contact with the floor.
Wound infections can be caused by many bacterial pathogens, some of which can be transmitted between animals or between animals and people. Wounds provide a prime site for invasion of opportunistic bacteria.
Animals from shelters and similar facilities should be considered high risk from an infectious disease standpoint. All animals from such facilities should be examined immediately upon arrival without coming in contact with other animals in the waiting/reception area. Animals from these facilities should be housed separately from other patients, if possible.
Personnel should take all necessary precautions to prevent animal-related injuries (e.g. bites, scratches) in the clinic, including physical or chemical restraint of an animal, if necessary. Experienced veterinary personnel rather than owners should restrain animals for procedures whenever possible.
If anyone is bitten or scratched by an animal:
Proper sharps handling practices are a practical yet effective way of reducing workplace injuries in veterinary clinics.
Urine from animals with suspected urinary tract disease, and all feces, aspirates, and swabs should be treated as potentially infectious material.
Infection control issues should be considered when designing new clinics or when undertaking renovation or expansion of existing clinics.
Source: MaintainX (Community Member)