Objective—To evaluate efficacy of 2 disinfectants as
used in footbaths in veterinary hospitals for reducing
bacterial contamination of footwear.
Sample Population—Bacteria collected from the
soles of rubber boots after experimental contamination
and exposure to disinfectant solutions or control
Procedures—Investigators contaminated boots by
walking through soiled straw animal bedding. Swab
samples were collected from the sole of 1 boot (right
or left) without treatment. The other boot was briefly
immersed in a disinfectant solution (either a quaternary
ammonium compound [QAC] or a peroxygen
compound) or water, and samples were collected
after 7 minutes. Differences associated with the
experimental treatments were analyzed statistically.
Veterinary teaching hospitals (VTHs) in the United
States and Canada were contacted to obtain information
about the use of footbaths.
Results—Mean bacterial concentrations from peroxygen-treated boots were 67% to 78% lower, compared
with samples taken from untreated boots. In
contrast, there were no statistically detectable differences
in mean bacterial concentrations in samples
taken from QAC- or water-treated boots, compared
with control boots. Disinfectant footbaths were
reportedly used in 30 of 31 VTHs.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Disinfectant
solution containing peroxygen applied in a footbath
reduced bacterial concentrations on rubber boots
under conditions representative of those found in
VTHs. Footbaths are commonly used as a method to
control infectious diseases in veterinary hospitals.
Disinfectant footbaths should not be expected to sterilize
footwear, but they may help in reducing the risk for
nosocomial infection when used with effective disinfectants.
(J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:2053–2058)