Author Topic: Does veterinary science maintain the same hygiene standards as human Medicine  (Read 1859 times)

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Offline Demosthenes

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Got into this discussion with a friend who’s currently studying veterinary science.
The conversation slowly evolved from the way people identify and value animal lives in comparison to human lives. Eventually I brought up the point that veterinary practices i.e treatment/hygiene were not of the same standard as human medicine as the liability for error was substantially lessoned.

She disagreed by stating that veterinary treatment/hygiene was of the same calibre as human medicine. Not having any evidence to the contrary I didn’t try debate the point, but it did pique my interest as I always assumed the contrary.

Anyone have more experience on the topic?
Are they equal or is there bias creeping in?

Offline Vincegamer

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It depends on what you include in hygiene.
I think you are probably in the wrong with regard to things like doctors wearing gloves, washing hands between patients, the general rules handling surgical equipment and drugs.  I think those are pretty standard in the US regardless of species of patient.
If you also include the condition of the examining room there may be a slight difference.  My vet table does not have a disposable paper cover for instance.  However they do wipe it down between patients - just there's so much hair floating around the exam room sometimes.
(not in the surgery though. My vet has a spotless surgery)
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Offline Demosthenes

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I assumed basic hygiene standards would have been a given i.e gloves, hand washing, mask.
It’s the lesser know examples (i.e disposable paper cover’s) I was thinking of.

Online lonely moa

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Well, the vets around here are more likely to be wearing gumboots and overalls than white coats or surgical gowns for most of their work.  Maybe a quick shave to make a catheter easier to install, but syringes just go through the fur.
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Offline seamas

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In a human O.R. they don't allow dogs!









 :laugh:

Offline borkhead

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I was a veterinary technician for several years and my grandfather was an M.D. We had a similar conversation once comparing standards. I wouldn’t say veterinary hygiene standards are LESS than human ones, but they are a little different, such as using stainless steel tables that are easy to sanitize versus paper covers, which would be ripped apart by an animal’s claws.

But sterilization of surgical instruments: the same
Cleaning of the surgery site: the same
Sanitation of exam rooms: the same.

What is NOT the same is in-patient care. I am talking about small animal practices. Most vet clinics have a kennel. They also usually have an isolation ward, but it is smaller and if there is more than one contagious animal it is very difficult to maintain total isolation. Rest of the animals tend to be in the general kennel where they are exposed to all the coughing and sneezing. Yes, you are exposed to that in a human clinic as well but humans can at least take some precautions on their own behalf to lessen the chances of infection, such as choosing to not lick the walls. :)

Offline DVMKurmes

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You have to be careful comparing the two, and realize that some of the things you see used in human medicine (paper disposable paper drapes, faceshields, etc.) are designed to protect the healthcare workers from pathogens like HIV and hepatitis, not necessarily to protect the patient from infection, though they may have that effect as well. I would guess that a well-run veterinary clinic would have just as low or even a lower post-operative infection rate than a human hospital, but I don't know that any studies have been done. Less personnel means less chance for someone to screw up and forget to wash their hands, etc.
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Offline amysrevenge

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You also don't have to worry about patient/client psychology as much - there generally aren't any humans in the veterinary operating room who aren't staff.  I suspect that some hygiene-related steps in people-medicine are taken for appearance/confidence reasons more than actual infection control.
Big Mike
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Offline Kayto

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I had read (or heard) somewhere that most "people hospitals" in the U.S. have huge problems with staph infections. But veterinary hospitals, as a group, in the United States are just starting to have some issues.

I have no idea if it is true, but I wonder if maybe the vets and "people doctors" here might know?
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Offline DVMKurmes

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Staph and MRSA was primarily a human hospital problem, but it is now becoming a community acquired infection, it can affect pets and some strains in pigs probably acquired resistance, or more resistance because of antibiotic use on pig farms. Maryn Mekenna's book is a pretty good discussion of it; http://superbugthebook.com/
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Offline Guillermo

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My father, Brother and wife are vets. My father passed away, and my brother is in charge of the company that makes feed and medicine for about 80% of the commercial farming in the country.

Based only on the regulations in the Dominican Republic. Veterinarians follow different regulations and different governing bodies from human health care. The regulations are more relaxed. I believe the same situation is in most countries, including US.

As for Medicine. Humans and animals use basically the same active and inactive ingredients in medicine. there is a difference in the grade. There is human grade and animal grade. You cannot use animal grade on human medicine, but you can use human grade on Animals. Human grade is more expensive though. However, the vast majority of the ingredients do not have this distinction: Vitamins, Ivermectin, etc.

The standards for production are different. The loss of a human life due to problematic production is considered worse than loss of animal life, but the liability is usually worse on animals because the doses are usually multiplied for entire farms. The precision in ingredients need to be better on human medicine, the hygiene is better, and the equipment is better, but not by much.

In veterinaries, you treat animals different than humans. For starters, two humans wont attempt to kill themselves if placed in the same room. (well, for the most part). Most animal diseases are not transmitted to humans, but there are some that are, and basic protocol is to do everything to avoid getting infected by those and to avoid the spread of diseases between the animals. As for medical procedures, are basically the same for both. Broken bones, lacerations, burns, etc. are usually treated the same way for both humans and animals.
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Offline Kayto

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Staph and MRSA was primarily a human hospital problem, but it is now becoming a community acquired infection, it can affect pets and some strains in pigs probably acquired resistance, or more resistance because of antibiotic use on pig farms. Maryn Mekenna's book is a pretty good discussion of it; http://superbugthebook.com/

Thanks for the info and URL!
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Offline Demosthenes

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Some excellent responses, thanks for everyone who has taken the time to reply.
It’s always nice asking a question and having those qualified in the field responding.

Offline Jolimont

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My vet (small practice, he always worked alone, no receptionist or anything) used to place dogs on the floor between the time when he gave them sedation and the time he started the surgery. That way I'm sure they don't fall off the table and hurt themselves he said. I doubt they ever place human patients on the floor!!! My dog had several surgeries there and is just fine thankfully.

 

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