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procedures as castration, dehorning, and repair of prolapses; and most procedures routinely done on an "outpatient" basis in veterinary clinical practice).
Minor procedures are often performed under less-stringent conditions than major procedures but still require aseptic technique and instruments and appropriate anesthesia. Although laparoscopic procedures are often performed on an "outpatient" basis, appropriate aseptic technique is necessary if a body cavity is penetrated.
In nonsurvival surgery, an animal is euthanatized before recovery from anesthesia. It might not be necessary to follow all the techniques outlined in this section if nonsurvival surgery is performed; however, at a minimum, the surgical site should be clipped, the surgeon should wear gloves, and the instruments and surrounding area should be clean (Slattum and others 1991).
Emergency situations sometimes require immediate surgical correction under less than ideal conditions. For example, if an animal maintained outdoors needs surgical attention, movement to a surgical facility might pose an unacceptable risk to the animal or be impractical. Such situations often require more-intensive aftercare and might pose a greater risk of postoperative complications. The appropriate course of action requires veterinary medical judgment.
Aseptic technique is used to reduce microbial contamination to the lowest possible practical level (Cunliffe-Beamer 1993). No procedure, piece of equipment, or germicide alone can achieve that objective (Schonholtz 1976). Aseptic technique requires the input and cooperation of everyone who enters the operating suite (Belkin 1992; McWilliams 1976). The contribution and importance of each practice varies with the procedure. Aseptic technique includes preparation of the patient, such as hair removal and disinfection of the operative site (Hofmann 1979); preparation of the surgeon. such as the provision of decontaminated surgical attire, surgical scrub, and sterile surgical gloves (Chamberlain and Houang 1984; Pereira and others 1990; Schonholtz 1976); sterilization of instruments, supplies, and implanted materials (Kagan 1992b); and the use of operative techniques to reduce the likelihood of infection (Ayliffe 1991; Kagan 1 992a; Ritter and Marmion 1987; Schofield 1994; Whyte 1988).
Specific sterilization methods should be selected on the basis of physical characteristics of materials to be sterilized (Schofield 1994). Autoclaving and gas sterilization are common effective methods. Sterilization indicators should be used to identify materials that have undergone proper sterilization (Berg 1993). Liquid chemical sterilants should be used with adequate contact times, and instruments should be rinsed with sterile water or saline before use. Alcohol is neither a sterilant nor a high-level disinfectant (Rutala 1990).
In general, unless an exception is specifically justified as an essential component of the research protocol and approved by the IACUC, nonrodent aseptic surgery should be conducted only in facilities intended for that purpose. Most bacteria are carried on airborne particles or fomites, so surgical facilities should be maintained and operated in a manner that ensures cleanliness and minimizes