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What kind of PPE should I wear?

Contact Precaution

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Sterile gloves

Description

Impermeable, sterile, single-use latex, nitrile, or vinyl gloves of appropriate size for individuals

Applicable Conditions and Scenarios

Sterile gloves should be used when the primary risk is transmission of microbes to (rather than from) a particular body site or item (e.g., surgery, examination of “clean” wounds [surgical incisions, handling sterile equipment]).

Comments

Not a substitute for hand hygiene. Due to the risk of preexisting defects, puncture, or tears during use and potential contamination of the hands when removing (and of sterile gloves when putting on), hand hygiene before and after glove use remains as important as before and after patient contact when gloves are not used

Single-use gowns or dedicated laboratory coats

Description

Single-use disposable gowns, reusable cloth gowns, or laboratory coats that are laundered after each applicable patient contact or procedure. Clothing worn underneath must be completely covered from the wrists and waist to the collar at a minimum, depending on the size and type of patient. Use of coveralls is also an option for animals requiring extensive handling, especially on the floor.

Applicable Conditions and Scenarios

Any scenario in which there is increased risk of hand or clothing contamination with a larger number of microbes or any number of highly virulent, resistant, or transmissible microbes, for example:

  • Any animal with potential respiratory tract infection, diarrhea, skin infection, fever of unknown origin
  • Oral manipulation or procedures (e.g., dentistry)
  • Exposure to potentially infectious fluids or discharge (e.g., obstetric procedures, necropsy, handling of clinical samples or soiled linens and other items)

Comments

Disposable gowns and laboratory coats are typically permeable to liquids, especially with prolonged or heavy contact; therefore, additional precautions may be required to prevent microbial strike-through

Face mask

Description

Single-use disposable surgical mask along with eye protection or reusable full-face shield consisting of a stiff clear plastic sheet that covers the face from forehead to chin. Each face shield should be dedicated to a single person but should be discarded or fully reprocessed (i.e., cleaned and disinfected) if it becomes visibly contaminated or comes in contact with a contaminated surface (including used glove), and between patients.

Applicable Conditions and Scenarios

Any scenario in which there is a significant splash risk or risk of droplet transmission, for instance:

  • Dental procedures
  • Wound lavage
  • Potentially zoonotic respiratory disease with productive coughing or sneezing
  • Necropsy (especially if any potential risk of rabies)

Comments

  • A face shield may be more appropriate for individuals with heavy facial hair that is not adequately covered by a mask.
  • Does not protect against airborne pathogens—this requires a properly fitted respirator (N95 or higher)

Eye protection

Description

Typically, reusable plastic goggles that wrap around the sides of the face or include side-protectors or a fullface shield

Applicable Conditions and Scenarios

Any scenario in which there is a significant splash risk or risk of droplet transmission, for instance:

  • Dental procedures
  • Wound lavage
  • Potentially zoonotic respiratory disease with productive coughing or sneezing
  • Necropsy (especially if any potential risk of rabies)

Comments

Poorly fitted eye protection can cause visibility issues from fogging or slipping.

Regular eyeglasses are not a substitute because they do not fully protect the eyes, particularly from the lateral aspect

Shoe covers or dedicated footwear

Description

Single-use disposable cloth or plastic boots that fit over regular footwear or reusable slip-on footwear that is easily cleaned and disinfected (e.g., rubber boots)

Applicable Conditions and Scenarios

Any scenario in which there is suspected to be significant contamination of the floor with a high-risk substance, for example:

  • Dog with leptospirosis housed on the floor
  • Infectious vomiting or diarrhea, particularly in large dogs housed on the floor
  • Management of large open wounds if floor could become contaminated with discharge or lavage fluid

Comments

Disposable plastic shoe covers can create a slipping hazard if they do not have treads.

Not commonly needed in small animal practices; however, contamination of the floor must always be carefully considered because of the high degree of contact of patients and staff with the floor.

These guidelines are supported by a generous educational grant from Virox Animal Health™.