Evaluation of the risk of incisional infection in horses following application of protective dressings after exploratory celiotomy for treatment of colic

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OBJECTIVE To assess incidence of incisional infection in horses following management with 1 of 3 protective dressings after exploratory celiotomy for treatment of acute signs of abdominal pain (ie, colic) and determine the risk of complications associated with each wound management approach. DESIGN Prospective, randomized, controlled study. ANIMALS 85 horses. PROCEDURES Horses were assigned to 3 groups. After standardized abdominal closure, a sterile cotton towel (group 1) or polyhexamethylene biguanide-impregnated dressing (group 2) was secured over the incision site with 4 or 5 cruciate sutures of nonabsorbable monofilament, or sterile gauze was placed over the site and secured with an iodine-impregnated adhesive drape (group 3). Demographic and clinicopathologic data, intraoperative and postoperative variables, and development of complications were recorded and compared among groups by statistical methods. Follow-up information was collected 30 and 90 days after surgery. Incidence and odds of incisional complications were calculated. RESULTS 75 horses completed the study. Group 3 typically had dressing displacement necessitating removal during anesthetic recovery; dressings were in place for a mean of 44 and 31 hours for groups 1 and 2, respectively. Purulent or persistent serosanguinous incisional discharge (ie, infection) was detected in 11 of 75 (15%) horses (2/24, 0/26, and 9/25 from groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively). Odds of incisional complications were significantly greater for group 3 than for groups 1 or 2. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that risk of infection after celiotomy for treatment of colic is lower for incisions covered with sterile towels or polyhexamethylene biguanide-impregnated dressings secured with sutures than for incisions covered with gauze secured with iodine-impregnated adhesive drapes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1441-1447
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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