Rowley, N. L., Ramos-Rivera, E., Raiciulescu, S. et al. 2021. Comparison of two hair removal methods in Sprague–Dawley rats (Rattus norvegicus). JAALAS 60(2), 213-220.

Rats commonly undergo surgery for research purposes. However, the effects of different methods of hair removal on wound healing and surgical site infections (SSI) in rats has not been evaluated. The current study evaluated 2 hair removal methods, clipping with an electric clipper and using a depilatory agent, and their effect on wound healing and SSI. Swabs for bacterial culture were obtained on Day 0 just after hair removal, after aseptic skin preparation, and on Days 1 and 3 before conducting skin biopsies to assess bacterial load and recolonization. Full-thickness punch biopsies were taken for histopathologic evaluation on Days 0, 1, 3, 7, and 10. The surgical incisions were assigned an ASEPSIS score on Days 1 and 3. The data revealed that the bacterial load was significantly higher with the depilatory method as compared with the clipper method, but only on Day 1. The histopathologic evaluation found no significant difference in wound healing between the 2 methods. Although the ASEPSIS score was significantly higher for the clipping method than for the depilatory method on Day 1, both techniques were equivalent by Day 3. We conclude that both hair removal methods are safe and efficacious components of aseptic technique in rats.

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