Epidemiologic Evaluation of Postoperative Wound Infection in Clean-Contaminated Wounds: A Retrospective Study of 239 Dogs and Cats


  • Presented in part at the 11th Annual American College of Veterinary Surgeons Veterinary Symposium, Chicago, IL, October 11 to 14, 2001.

  • Address reprint requests to Matthew Nicholson, DVM, Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104–6010.


Objective— To evaluate risk factors for development of postoperative wound infections in clean-contaminated wounds.

Study Design— Retrospective clinical study.

Sample Population— Two hundred thirty-nine dogs and cats that had clean-contaminated surgical procedures.

Methods— Records of animals that had a clean-contaminated surgical procedure and were prospectively monitored for development of postoperative wound infection were reviewed. Prospective data included signalment, nutritional status, body weight, duration of surgery, surgical procedures, wound classification, surgical site clip time before surgery, hypotension during surgery, the presence of an active distant infection, endocrinopathy, administration of an immunosuppressive agent, administration of antibiotics, and the type of antibiotic used. Additional retrieved data included total anesthesia time, temperature variables, blood loss, and suture material used.

Results— Intact males (P= .008) and animals with concurrent endocrinopathy (P= .008) were at a higher risk of development of postoperative wound infection. Total surgery time (P= .02) and total anesthesia time (P= .04) were longer in animals that developed postoperative wound infection. No other factors were statistically significant.

Conclusions— Intact males and animals with a concurrent endocrinopathy were at higher risk of postoperative wound infection after clean-contaminated surgical procedures.

Clinical Relevance— Time under anesthesia and duration of surgery should be minimized to reduce the risk of wound infection in clean-contaminated surgical procedures.