Incidence of surgical site infection in dogs undergoing soft tissue surgery: risk factors and economic impact

05 Oct 2019

Espinel-Ruperez, J., Martin-Rios, M. D., Salazar, V., Baquero-Artigao, M. R., Ortiz-Diez, G.

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To determine (1) the incidence of surgical site infection (SSI) in patients undergoing soft tissue surgery at a veterinary teaching hospital and to study (2) and describe the main risk factors associated with SSI and (3) assess the economic impact of SSI.


Prospective cohort study.


Veterinary teaching hospital.


184 dogs undergoing soft tissue surgery during a 12-month period (October 2013 to September 2014).

Primary outcome measure

Surgical site infection.


Out of the 184 patients analysed, SSI was diagnosed in 16 (8.7 per cent) patients, 13 (81.3 per cent) were classified as superficial incisional infection, 2 (12.5 per cent) as deep incisional infection and 1 (6.3 per cent) as organ/space infection. The administration of steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (P=0.028), preoperative hyperglycaemia (P=0.015), surgical times longer than 60 minutes (P=0.013), urinary catheterisation (P=0.037) and wrong use of the Elizabethan collar (P=0.025) were identified as risk factors. Total costs increased 74.4 per cent, with an increase in postsurgical costs of 142.2 per cent.


The incidence of SSI was higher than the incidence reported in other published studies, although they were within expected ranges when a surveillance system was implemented. This incidence correlated with an increase in costs. Additionally new important risk factors for its development were detected.