Evaluation of specific infection control practices used by companion animal veterinarians in community veterinary practices in Southern Ontario.
This study evaluated specific infection control practices in community veterinary practices in southern Ontario. Environmental disinfection, management of infectious patients and antimicrobial use in clean surgical procedures were investigated. Community companion animal veterinary practices (n=101) in Southern Ontario were recruited, and a questionnaire was administered to one veterinarian and one veterinary technician from each practice. The veterinarian questionnaire gathered data on clinic demographics, management of infectious patients, infectious diseases of concern, environmental disinfection and antimicrobial use in surgical procedures. The veterinary technician questionnaire gathered data on environmental disinfection. None of the veterinary practices had a formal infection control programme. Sixty-five per cent (n=66) of the veterinary practices did not have an isolation area and 61% (n=40) of these practices did not employ any specific infection control measures for infectious cases. The products most frequently used for environmental disinfection were hydrogen peroxide based or quaternary ammonium compounds. Bleach was the agent most commonly used for environmental disinfection of infectious body fluids; however 60% of the veterinarians and 40% of the veterinary technicians did not identify a product for environmental disinfection of infectious body fluids. Twenty-four per cent of the veterinarians reported using antimicrobials in animals undergoing elective sterilization surgeries and 60% reported using antimicrobials in other clean surgical procedures. There is a need for community veterinary practices to develop infection control programmes specific to their individual practice. In addition, veterinarians should discontinue the common use of antimicrobials for clean elective sterilization surgical procedures.