A preliminary study on the use and effect of hand antiseptics in veterinary practice

Kate P Sparksman, T. G. Knowles, G. Werrett, P. E. Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To assess use and effect of hand antiseptics in veterinary clinical practice. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Veterinary practice nurses were questioned concerning their use of hand antiseptics, in particular waterless hand rubs. Subsequent clinical trials assessed the effect of single applications of alcohol-based and quaternary ammonium compound-based hand rubs at reducing bacterial counts on the hands of theatre nurses in a neutering clinic. RESULTS: The majority of responding practices used waterless hand rubs (alcohol-based, 67·5% and quaternary ammonium compound-based, 9·5%) as their primary hand hygiene agent and believed them to be effective. 23% of practices favoured an antiseptic hand-wash. In clinical trials, alcohol-based rubs were potentially more effective at reducing bacterial counts than quaternary ammonium compound-based rubs especially in the period immediately after application. However, over 3 hours there was no significant change between these and a control group. There were more adverse skin effects in the group using alcohol-based than in the quaternary ammonium compound-based and control groups. The bacterial counts after application were unaffected by variables such as the number of animals contacted. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The studies provide useful baseline data for evaluation of efficacy of more frequent applications of the most common antiseptic hand rubs used in veterinary practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-559
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Small Animal Practice
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


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