Nosocomial infections are a growing concern in veterinary hospitals, and identifying fomites is imperative to reducing the risk of pathogen transmission. In veterinary medicine, shaving of hair is necessary prior to many procedures. Contaminated clipper blades have been cited as potential fomites involved in the transmission of pathogens in veterinary and human medicine. The primary goal of this study was to evaluate bacterial contamination of clipper blades in veterinary practices. A secondary goal was to assess whether there was an association between bacterial contamination of clipper blades and clipper blade cleaning solutions, clipper blade cleaning protocols, clipper blade storage, and type of practice. Sixty clipper blades from 60 different practices were cultured. Information regarding blade cleaning solutions, protocols, and storage was collected from each practice. Fifty-one percent (31/60) of clipper blades sampled were contaminated with bacteria. Category of cleaning solutions had a significant association with bacterial contamination (P < 0.02). Cleaning frequency (P = 0.55), storage location (P = 0.26), and practice type (P = 0.06) had no significant association with bacterial contamination. This study documented bacterial contamination of clipper blades in veterinary practices, and clipper blades should be considered potential fomites.

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