Properly Cleaning Your Veterinary Equipment

Properly Cleaning Your Veterinary Equipment

Keeping medical instruments in good working order and disinfected will preserve the equipment used to treat animal patients for surgery, enabling them to be used for years to come. Legally veterinary surgeries are required to ensure that equipment is cleaned effectively to prevent the spread of disease and infection, protecting the animals, owners and staff who pass through the surgery.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) requires employers to identify and control risks associated with the use of hazardous substances, including disinfectants and cleaning agents used in veterinary settings. In addition, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has issued guidelines on cleaning and disinfection of veterinary equipment, which includes the recommended disinfectants to use, and how to use them safely. Ultimately all veterinary practices are required to comply with the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which requires them to provide adequate care and treatment for animals under their care – including cleaning and maintaining the facilities and equipment – and failure to comply with these laws and regulations can result in penalties and legal action as well as putting the health and welfare of animals and staff at risk.

There are different ways to clean veterinary equipment from soaking, hand cleaning and ultrasonic methods and this blog will look at some of these cleaning methods.

Why should you keep veterinary equipment clean?

It seems like a no-brainer to work out why veterinary equipment needs to be kept clean. With so many animals coming in and out of the surgery, and some of them being very sick, it is clear that all areas of the surgery are potential breeding grounds for bacteria, diseases and viruses. We’ve all become more aware of how illnesses spread since the pandemic, and using sanitisers has become second nature for us all. All equipment must be regularly and thoroughly sanitised to prevent cross-contamination and the spread of diseases. Poor hygiene practices causing infections that are treated by antibiotics can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, meaning that new courses of treatment then need to be researched and developed. Improperly cleaned equipment can also put staff at risk of developing illnesses as a result of contact. So, cleaning equipment saves loss of staff hours through illness, financial consequences of reinfection of animals as well as fines, or other penalties as a result of lawsuits.

How to clean veterinary equipment

Various steps must be taken when cleaning veterinary equipment by hand:

  • Pre-cleaning: Before cleaning any equipment, remove any visible debris – such as hair or dirt with a brush or cloth.
  • Disinfectant: Use a disinfectant solution that is recommended for veterinary use – read the instructions on how to dilute or quantities to use and then soak the instruments in the disinfectant solution for the recommended amount of time.
  • Scrub: Use a brush or sponge to scrub the equipment thoroughly, being careful to get into all the crevices and corners.
  • Rinse: Thoroughly rinse the equipment with clean water to make sure all disinfectant solution is removed.
  • Dry: Allow the equipment to air dry completely before using it again. If it is heavily soiled, then repeat the cleaning process as many times as necessary until it is properly clean. Make sure the clean and dry equipment is stored in a clean and dry place before it is needed again.

Always wear gloves and follow safety protocols to protect yourself especially while cleaning sharp objects. Equipment must be thoroughly cleaned after every use to maintain proper hygiene.

Ultrasonic cleaners for veterinary equipment

Ultrasonic cleaners are revolutionising the cleaning of veterinary equipment, as they can thoroughly clean a wide range of equipment from surgical and dental instruments to cages, probes, curettes, trimmers, pipettes and more. How does the ultrasonic cleaner work?

Ultrasonic cleaning uses high-frequency sound waves to create microscopic bubbles in a cleaning solution. When these bubbles implode, they generate a powerful cleaning action that can remove dirt, debris and contaminants from surfaces. The cleaning solution itself is mainly water and a small quantity of cleaning solution, enabling the surgery to meet the regulations of COSHH and RCVS – as the solutions are relatively harmless and not considered dangerous chemicals.

What are the benefits of an ultrasonic cleaner over traditional cleaning?

  1. Efficiency: This method is highly effective in cleaning hard-to-reach areas of veterinary tools, including crevices and joints which are exceedingly difficult to reach manually.
  2. Time: The speed at which a vast number of tools can be successfully and completely cleaned is also a huge benefit. The machine can do in a fraction of the time what would take a person about two or three times as long to complete by hand. Equipment can be loaded into the automatic machine and then left to clean whilst other tasks are undertaken.
  3. Safer: Another benefit of an ultrasonic cleaner over manually cleaning equipment is the reduced risk of injury to staff with the sharp edges of tools when cleaning the same objects by hand.
  4. Gentler: A final benefit is that as the ultrasonic cleaning process is less abrasive than cleaning by hand, most equipment items will last longer, saving you from having to invest in replacement tools.

EJ Ultrasonics for your ultrasonic cleaner

With over 40 years of experience in the field of ultrasonic cleaning, there’s nothing we don’t know about ultrasonics. Our expertise and systems have helped multiple industries to increase quality and productivity and to save money and reduce labour. Whatever the size of your veterinary surgery, EJ Ultrasonics is certain to have a machine that will suit your requirements, making sure that all of your veterinary equipment is cleaned thoroughly and hygienically within a fraction of the time it is currently taking your team to do the same job by hand, and prolonging its life.

Get in touch today or call us on 01527 831678 and chat with a member of our friendly and knowledgeable team to discuss your ultrasonic cleaning needs for your veterinary surgery.