Postoperative infections following cutaneous punch biopsies in dogs, cats

Antimicrobial stewardship is becoming more important every day with increasing bacterial resistance and limitations on antibiotics. Prophylactic antibiotics are not necessary with all procedures, which has been shown previously with a variety of human and veterinary surgeries. 

Medical records were retrospectively evaluated for cases with a cutaneous punch biopsy performed between 2013 and 2018 including the following information: species, signalment, concurrent diseases, concurrent medications, location of biopsy, histopathologic diagnosis and bacterial infections postoperatively. 

The prevalence of secondary infections, due to punch biopsies in all animals, was 1.9% and further divided into 2.3% (3/128) of dogs and 0% (0/26) of cats. 

It was determined that the relative risk of developing complications from punch biopsy was 0.06 (0.01-0.93) when diagnosing a dermatologic disease versus a cutaneous mass (neoplastic and nonneoplastic), which was statistically significant. The risk increased 2.16 (0.16-59.91) times if the biopsy site was the trunk, which includes the neck, thorax and abdomen. 

These results indicate that in veterinary medicine, postoperative complications are uncommon with cutaneous punch biopsies. The administration of prophylactic antibiotics in dogs and cats is unnecessary when performing a punch biopsy when there is no infection present at the time of biopsy.

Jason B Pieper, et al. “Evaluation for Postoperative Infections Following Cutaneous Punch Biopsies in Dogs and Cats: 154 Cases (2013-2018).” J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 2022 Sep 1;58(5):249-253.  doi: 10.5326/JAAHA-MS-7249.

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