Sterilization is not new in the veterinary industry.
It is an important aspect to ensure animal safety by reducing the possibility of infections, risk of health complications and even death in severe cases. Sterilization also protects the person conducting the animal surgical procedure.
Why is sterilization important?
Sterilization helps eliminate microorganisms like fungi, bacteria, viruses, and spores to prevent hospital-based acquired infections in animals.
As veterinary surgical instruments are often reused and not disposable, it is important that they are sterile before the next surgical use. Proper sterilization using autoclaves also eliminate the need for buying new and disposable instruments after each surgical procedure. This, in the long run, can help veterinarians save costs and become more environmental friendly.
How should surgical instruments be sterilized?
Steam sterilization is by far the most commonly used method. Steam sterilization kills microorganism by using moisture and extreme heat to cause coagulation of cellular proteins required for survival. Pressure is used to increase the temperature of the steam to allow more efficient sterilization.
Cleaning & Disinfection
Once proper cleaning is completed, sterilization can then take place to ensure that pathogens are no longer present on the surgical instruments. The most common method is autoclaving.
By leaving instruments in an open position the autoclave chamber, it will allow steam to reach all surfaces. It is important not to overload the autoclave trays which will block the steam penetration. The use of dry heat is not recommended for the sterilization process.
When instruments are sterilized according to manufacturer's instructions, it can eliminate the need for excessive cleaning of equipment using solvents, which may cause them to wear out faster.