Objectives: To compare the efficacy of polyhexanide, cold argon plasma and saline in reducing bacterial bio-burden in dog bite wounds.
Materials and methods: Prospective blinded randomised clinical trial. Dogs were randomly assigned to one of the treatment groups by lottery and bacterial cultures obtained before and after treatment were compared. Bite wounds were surgically debrided and treated with polyhexanide, cold argon plasma or saline lavage. All wounds were cultured three times: directly after debridement, directly after prelavage with 2 mL/cm2 (saline in the saline and cold argon plasma group, or polyhexanide) and following the definitive lavage. Data were analysed using a generalised linear model for ordinal data.
Results: A total of 85 dogs were enrolled in this study (polyhexanide n=29, cold argon plasma n=28, saline n=28). Positive bacterial culture results after debridement were obtained in 53/85 (62.3%) wounds. Polyhexanide and saline lavage significantly reduced the bio-burden, while cold argon plasma treatment did not. This effect was evident after prelavage when polyhexanide performed significantly better than saline and cold argon plasma as well as after final treatment. No significant differences were detected after prelavage or main treatment between saline and cold argon plasma.
Clinical significance: Polyhexanide lavage achieved the best immediate and ultimate decontamination of bite wounds.