We take infection control very seriously.
Prior to surgery, all our instruments are cleaned, checked, packed and sterilised in one of our hospital standard vacuum autoclaves to minimise the chance of infection. We evaluate the performance of our sterilisation equipment using temperature and pressure indicators in each surgical pack with a twice yearly validated biological test protocol that checks that the autoclaves effectively kill heat resistant bacteria.
After being anaesthetised, the animals are clipped, scrubbed before and rescrubbed after going into theatre. Drapes are then applied very carefully using at least two layers of sterile disposable waterproof material, so that only the area of interest can be seen.
We often cover any exposed skin with an iodine impregnated adhesive plastic incise drape so that we can perform surgery without touching the skin. This reduces the chance of bacteria from the animal's skin being transferred into the surgical field.
Before each operation, the surgeons dress in clean scrub suits, a head cover and face mask and scrub up before putting on a disposable sterile gown and one or two pairs of sterile gloves.
After the operation is finished, the incisions are immediately covered with sterile adhesive dressings before the patients are recovered in a clean kennel area.
The animals may be given antibiotics before and after the operation and must be prevented from licking at the incision.
Whilst some may argue that these precautions may be unnecessary, our infection control audits have shown that we maintain a very low infection rate, comparable with the best ultra clean human operating theatres.