This study evaluated the prevalence of Surgical Site Infections (SSIs), the enhancing risk factors in small animal hospitals and clinics, and clinicians’ perception of SSIs in South-west, Nigeria. Ten years (2007-2017) surgical patients’ case records from four government veterinary hospitals were initially studied. Fifty-seven copies of structured pre-tested questionnaires were further administered to practice representatives in government and private small animal facilities in 6 states of South-West, Nigeria. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and Pearson Chi-square at 95% confidence intervals. One hundred and twenty-six out of 584 small animal surgical patients satisfied the inclusion criteria. Eight (6.3%) cases from the case records had SSIs. Fifty out of 57 retrieved questionnaires satisfied the inclusion criteria for analysis. Sixty-four percent of respondents had the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree while 36% had additional degrees. The majority (64%) of respondents had 1 to 3 years practice experience with the rest having above 3 years. Most of the respondents (96%) had good knowledge of SSI, 78.7% usually manage SSI cases and 18% had lost patients due to SSIs. Only 48% of the practices perform surgery in designated operating rooms. The environment (94%), hands of clinicians/caregiver (80%) and patients’ skin (62%) were the main sources of SSIs in respondents’ practice. Few respondents (19.1%) administer prophylactic antibiotics for all surgeries, 6.1% discontinue within 24 h post-surgery, while 75.5% continue antibiotic therapy for 3 to 7 days post-surgery. Lack of facilities (40%) and funds (54%) prevented some clinicians from keeping up with SSIs prevention measures. There was an association between the risk factors of post-operative wound dehiscence (P=0.006), classification of the surgical procedures (P=0.032) and SSI occurrence. Although many small animal practitioners are aware of SSIs risk factors, only few adhere to prevention protocols.
Key words: Surgical site infection (SSI), risk factors, small animal clinicians, perception.
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