Are you familiar with AAHA standard SX25.1, which states, “The practice routinely performs spore testing utilizing biological indicators for sterilization systems and documents the results”?

What is spore testing? And what are biological indicators?

These are not the most exciting topics for discussion; however, they are a critical part of your veterinary hospital’s infection control program.

A biological indicator is a paper carrier inoculated with nonpathogenic spores, thus the name, “spore test.” The goal of a spore test is to verify that the sterilizer (usually a steam autoclave or ethylene oxide sterilizer) is destroying microbial spores. Spores found on these tests are often far more difficult to kill than typical bacteria found in a veterinary clinic.

When spore tests are returned to the laboratory, they will demonstrate whether the sterilizer has successfully killed the spores, resulting in a “pass” or “fail” result.

By routinely testing your sterilizer, you have verification that the sterilization process is successful and significantly reduce your chances of cross-contamination.

Doug Racich, DDS is a licensed dentist who has worked in the sterilization industry since 2002. He is currently an Inside Business Consultant with Mesa Labs, serving various healthcare markets.

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