Removal of Aerosolized Contaminants from Working Canines Via a Field Wipe-Down Procedure
Evidence-based canine decontamination protocols are underrepresented in the veterinary literature. Aerosolized microbiological and chemical contaminants can pose a risk in deployment environments highlighting the need for improved canine field decontamination strategies. Prior work has established the efficacy of traditional, water-intensive methods on contaminant removal from the coat of the working canine; however, it is not known if similar reductions can be achieved with simple field
... simple field expedient methods when resources are limited. The objective of this study was to measure the reduction of aerosolized contamination via a practical “wipe-down” procedure performed on working canine coats contaminated with a fluorescent, non-toxic, water-based aerosol. Disposable, lint-free towels were saturated with one of three treatments: water, 2% chlorhexidine gluconate scrub (CHX), or 7.5% povidone-iodine scrub (PVD). Both CHX and PVD were diluted at a 1:4 ratio. Treatments were randomly assigned to one of three quadrants established across the shoulders and back of commonly utilized working dog breeds (Labrador retrievers, n = 16; German shepherds, n = 16). The fourth quadrant remained unwiped, serving as a control. Reduction in fluorescent marker contamination was measured and compared across all quadrants. PVD demonstrated greater marker reduction compared to CHX or water in both breeds (P < 0.0001). Reduction was similar between CHX or water in Labradors (P = 0.86) and shepherds (P = 0.06). Effective wipe-down strategies using common veterinary cleansers should be further investigated and incorporated into decontamination practices to safeguard working canine health and prevent cross-contamination of human personnel working with these animals.