OBJECTIVE: To determine the efficacy and dermal tolerance of a novel alcohol-based skin antiseptic (ABSA) in horses.
STUDY DESIGN: Experimental study.
ANIMAL POPULATION: Systemically healthy horses (n = 25) with no history or clinical signs of skin disease.
METHODS: Four clipped sites on the abdomen were randomly assigned to a skin preparation protocol: saline (negative control; NC), chlorhexidine gluconate followed by isopropyl alcohol (positive control; PC), saline followed by the ABSA (ABSA A), or a commercially available horse shampoo followed by the ABSA (ABSA B). Microbiological swabs were obtained from each site and cultured on MacConkey and mannitol salt agar plates. Colony-forming units were counted 18-24 hours later. All sites were scored for signs of skin reaction before, immediately after, 1 hour after, and 24 hours after skin preparation.
RESULTS: The PC, ABSA A, and ABSA B methods reduced skin microbial burden compared with the NC method (P < .001), but no difference was detected between antiseptic products. Preparation time did not differ between ABSA A and ABSA B methods (P = 0.108); both were faster than the PC method (P < 0.001 for both). Skin reactions were most abundant 24 hours after skin preparation (30.5%), but there was no significant association with antiseptic used, and no horses required veterinary treatment.
CONCLUSION: The ABSA preparations tested in this study were as effective and well tolerated as a chlorhexidine gluconate-based method, but required less time in healthy horses.
CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: The ABSA tested here provides an efficacious, fast-acting, and well-tolerated alternative to achieve skin antisepsis in healthy horses. These results justify further investigation in clinical cases.