Hygiene rules in different situations of care at the pet clinic

Hygiene rules are much stricter than for the care of pets at home. Indeed:

  • animals are often sick or must be anesthetized or operated, which makes them more fragile
  • there is a large concentration of animals in space and time, which increases the risk of contaminations
  • in a clinic, there is a greater risk of presence of Multiresistant germs to antibiotics. An exotic animal infected with one of them would be very difficult to treat
  • many exotic animals are likely to be achieved by a zoonosis and contaminate the staff

Those risks are maximum with reptiles and hygiene must be very strict.

Care to hospitalized animals:

General care to healthy or sick animals not by a zoonotic disease:

  • When: 
    • giving any care to a pet
    • cleaning or disinfecting a cage, an aquarium or terrarium,
    • preparing or giving food or water
  • How
    • professional clothing, with nude forearms
    • nails short and clean
    • tied-back hair
    • No rings, no bracelets, no  jewelry on the hands and the forearms
    • before the care:
    • after the care: antiseptic hygien of hands: washing or rubbing (washing and rubbing for reptiles)

Care to animals sick or suspected to be hit by a zoonosis:

  • When: 
    • giving any care to a pet surely or suspected to be sick of zoonosis
    • cleaning or disinfecting a cage, an aquarium or terrarium, of a pet surely or suspected to be sick of zoonosis
    • preparing or giving food or water to a pet surely or suspected to be sick of zoonosis
  • How
    • professional clothing, with nude forearms
    • nails short and clean
    • tied-back hair
    • No rings, no bracelets, no  jewelry on the hands and the forearms
    • before the care:
      • antiseptic hygien of hands: washing or rubbing
      • body: wear a protective clothing: single use surgical or plastic gown
      • hair: wear a protective cap
      • face and eyes: wear a mask for nose and protective goggles or a full-face protective mask
      • after the care: antiseptic hygien of hands: washing and rubbing: the rubbing is better for most of germs, but washing is the only possible for anaerobic bacteria and protozoans who make spores
  • Example of complete protocol to clean and disinfect the terrarium of a reptile suspected to be contamined by a zoonosis (for example salmonellosis)

Surgical preparation:

Preparation of the staff

  • professional clothing, with nude forearms
  • nails short and clean
  • tied-back hair
  • No rings, no bracelets, no  jewelry on the hands and the forearms
  • in the operate room: a single-use mask and a protective cap
  • before the preparation of the animal for surgery: antiseptic hygien of hands
  • before the surgery for the surgeon and the help-surgeon:
    • surgical preparation of the hands
    • for a surgery which needs a high degree of sterility (bone surgery…) wear a sterile gown with an aid: your body must not touch the outside of the gown (video demonstration of gowning methode)
      • put sterile gloves with one of the three possible techniques:
        • with a sterile gown, use the close-gloving technique. The second one can use the assist-gloving technique

        • with nude forearms, use the open-gloving technique

Aseptic preparation of the operating site: 

  • in the Preparation Room:
    • for the mammals, cut the hair on a large area around the site of the incision
    • for the birds, the area of incision should be plucked
    • for all, do the first washing of the surgical site, with a povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine soap
  • In the surgery room
    • do two other washings of the surgical site
    • apply a disinfectant with the same molecule than the soap (they are incompatible together): povidone-iodine 1% or chlorhexidine 0.05%