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Bacterial Contamination of Equine Dentistry Equipment—Effect of Cleaning and Disinfection

Alsing-Johansson, Todd; Pedersen, Anja; Bergstrom, Karin; Sternberg-Lewerin, Susanna; Penell, Johanna; Bergh, Anna


Simple Summary Some of the equipment used in equine dentistry is difficult to clean and disinfect. Since it is vital to avoid the spread of infections in equine healthcare it is important to develop practical and easy-to-follow methods for cleaning and disinfecting dental equipment. The aim of this study was to investigate hygiene in equine dentistry. Dental equipment and the head support, where horses rest their head during dental care, were sampled for the amount of bacteria between each patient before and after dental care as well as after cleaning and/or disinfecting. The amount of bacteria was, in general, high on dental equipment and the head support after dental procedures. Bacteria were found in different amounts on most of the dental equipment after cleaning or disinfecting, which indicates a risk for spreading infections when using the equipment. For the head support, cleaning and/or disinfecting generally resulted in a reduced amount of bacteria, indicating a lowered risk for spreading infections. There is a great need for evidence-based guidelines on hygiene in equine dentistry to decrease the risk of transmitting infections between patients, facilities, and stables. Equine dentistry has developed immensely and human dental equipment, such as handpieces, are often used. Measures to avoid the spread of infectious microorganisms are important, but this is challenging since handpieces are difficult to decontaminate. Thus, it is necessary to develop effective IPC measures in equine dentistry. The aim of this study was to contribute to the evidence needed for future evidence-based guidelines on IPC by investigating hygiene in equine dentistry. Used handpieces and dummies (i.e., handpieces not used during dental procedure, reflecting environmental bacterial contamination) and the head support were sampled each day before the first patient, for each patient after treatment, and after decontamination. All equipment was sampled with 3M (TM) Swab Samplers and the head support additionally sampled with dip slides. After dental procedures, the detected bacterial load was often high on used handpieces, dummies, and the head support. After decontamination, handpieces did not meet the criteria for high-level disinfected equipment. In all but one case decontamination of the head support resulted in a lowered bacterial load. There is a great need for evidence-based guidelines on hygiene in equine dentistry, including IPC measures, to decrease the risk of spreading infectious microorganisms between patients, facilities, and stables.


infection prevention and control; biosecurity; contamination; dental handpiece

Publicerad i

2021, Volym: 11, nummer: 8, artikelnummer: 2320