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Know the Latest Surgical Glove Options for Veterinary Practices

By Pam Foster
July, 2018

A few weeks ago, we reviewed the latest advancements and options in veterinary exam gloves.

Now it’s time to look at the other important glove category in veterinary medicine: surgical gloves.

As a DSR, Distributor Sales Rep — you’re the best resource for keeping veterinary teams informed on new surgical glove designs, features, benefits, and choices.

You may be surprised to know how many different considerations your customers will want to think about when choosing the best gloves for procedures they regularly perform in the clinic. 

To help us get up to speed on veterinary surgical gloves, we reached out to Andrew Hurdle, Marketing Manager, Acute Care Medical, Ansell North America.

What are today’s options in veterinary surgical gloves?

Andrew: “There’s a wide variety of surgical glove options for today’s vets. The first area to examine is the polymer (material) that the glove is made of.

The most popular and common materials are Latex (Natural Rubber Latex or NRL), Neoprene (Synthetic), and Polyisoprene [PI] (Synthetic). Each have unique characteristics.

This table goes into more detail about the differences between the polymers.”

Glove Basics - Materials Types Pros and Cons

How do practices choose? What’s the criteria for choosing?

Andrew: “Each glove offers unique attributes in terms of barrier protection, and usage is based on a few factors. The most common criteria include:

Veterinarian preference
Each veterinarian may have a different preference with regards to fit, feel, and comfort level. If (he or she) is conducting long procedures or doing many procedures a day  — such as a spaying/neutering at a Humane Society — a softer glove made from Latex or Polyisoprene may be the preferred choice.

Allergy protection
Latex allergy (Type I) – If the customer’s allergic to latex, this takes a natural rubber latex glove option off the table.

Chemical allergy (Type IV) — Chemical allergies are becoming a more common occurrence. Chemical accelerators used during the production of gloves can trigger an allergic response. In this instance, the veterinarian will look to use an accelerator-free glove, which is typically made of a neoprene polymer.

Cost is often a factor, depending on the practice type. Corporate practices are more centralized in their purchasing, while family owned practices are more flexible in spending and decision making.

Latex (NRL) gloves are the least expensive of the glove polymers and Polyisoprene (PI) gloves are the most expensive… with Neoprene being in the middle with regards to pricing.”

Are there different gloves for different procedures or activities?

Andrew: “Yes, there are different applications for each glove to be used. Thickness is a primary feature.

  • For more delicate procedures such as eye, cardiovascular or spay/neutering of smaller cats or dogs, a micro (or thin) glove is often the choice as it provides a higher level of dexterity and tactile sensitivity for the veterinarian to manipulate instruments.
  • For more robust and higher trauma procedures, an ortho (or thick) glove is the preference as it offers a higher level of protection when using sharper and heavy-duty instruments.  

Another feature that’s often of interest is a textured surgical glove, which offers a higher grip level… ideal for use during procedures where there’s a high level of fluids.”

What are the new advancements in surgical gloves… that practices may not know about? 

Andrew: “New advancements include:

New polymers:
The new Hybrid technology is a blend of PI and Neoprene polymers, which combines the comfort of PI with the strength of neoprene. This also becomes a great economical solution for practices looking to convert to a latex-free facility.

Advanced protection:
Another innovation is the world’s first pre-donned double gloving system saving surgeons time, adding additional levels of protection, and reducing the overall environmental impact as they’re packaged in a single pouch versus two individual pouches.”

How can DSRs help educate practices about surgical glove options — to help them make informed purchases?

Andrew: “Many manufactures like Ansell offer an abundance of training materials that can be read by DSR’s and shared with customers alike. Product literature, e-learning modules and local sales representative can be great resources.” Visit this website for educational materials:

Whether you’re talking with general practices, specialty practices, or emergency clinics… find out what they use for surgical gloves. Ask them about the last time they reviewed all available options or looked at new products. This may open the door for you to educate your customers so they can make informed choices.

Topics: Gloves, DSR Facing Blog