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A survey of surgical draping practices in small-animal practice in the UK
  1. P. J. Delisser, BVSc (Hons) CertSAS MRCVS1,
  2. D. E. Sinnett, BSc(Hons) MSc PhD2,
  3. K. J. Parsons, BVSc PhD CertSAS DECVS MRCVS1 and
  4. E. J. Friend,, BVetMed CertSAS DECVS MRCVS1
  1. 1Department of Veterinary Surgery, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
  1. E-mail for correspondence: peter.delisser{at}


Veterinary practices in the United Kingdom were surveyed to compare their surgical draping practices with Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) accreditation tier and other surgery-related factors. Using descriptive statistics and logistic or ordinal regression analysis (where appropriate), the relationships between draping material and accreditation tier and other surgery-related factors were assessed. Procedures were categorised as short or long. Two hundred and sixty-nine surveys were completed. Reusable drapes were used in 66 per cent of practices. Antibiotics were administered routinely in 38 per cent of short and 93 per cent of long procedures. Practices accredited as a Veterinary Hospital (VH) were 6.3–7.2 (short and long surgeries, respectively) times more likely to use disposable drapes, when compared with non-accredited practices. Use of dedicated surgical attire, draping the whole animal/table, and routine antibiotic usage were also positively correlated with disposable drape usage. Fifty-one per cent of practices rated infection rate as most important when choosing drape material. ‘Best practice’ techniques are associated with lower importance given to infection rate, and higher importance given to financial cost, when choosing drape material. Disposable drape use correlates with RCVS accreditation and with other aspects of surgical technique. Importance ratings awarded correlate with best practice procedures. Clinical relevance ‘Best practice’ draping procedures, that are not governed by RCVS accreditation scheme, are also more frequently performed in accredited VHs.

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