In-house autoclave (steam sterilization) is used to disinfect and sterilize veterinary instruments, keeping the team and their patients safe from infection.

Your opportunity

Commissions on $2,995 to $4,500 in equipment, plus ongoing purchases of cassettes or pouches.

You can help ensure proper sterilization, which is essential for a safer work environment and to help extend the life of veterinary instruments and linens. From disinfection to sterilization, autoclave steam sterilization helps ensure that practice teams work effectively and provide optimal patient outcomes.

Equipment overview

Autoclave options widely vary, and each has its benefits and disadvantages related to ease of operation, noise, and completeness of sterilization. The most advanced models are very quiet and reduce the mess involved with handling contaminated instruments or other tools.

Several of the most important considerations in selecting an autoclave sterilizer include: 

• Size or volume: How often is the autoclave being used? High-volume clinics may benefit from a larger unit to increase efficiency.

• Speed and reliability: Clinics requiring quick turn-around may want to consider a faster, more efficient unit, or upgrade from a manual to an automatic/digital autoclave.

• Instrument packaging: Does the practice prefer cassettes, pouches or direct load?

• Cassettes: The handler is less likely to get stuck by contaminated instruments. And, cassettes, which typically are pre-wrapped, can be transferred from the sterilizer directly to the shelf for storage. In comparison, when direct load, unwrapped instruments are placed into the sterilizer, they must be used immediately at the end of the process to comply with current infection control guidelines.

• Pouches: Pouches require less space, so they can be used with a smaller sterilizer. And, they can be transferred directly to the shelf, where sterilized instruments can remain until needed (like cassettes). But, since they’re made of paper and plastic, they provide less protection from sticks. Regardless of the type of packaging used, it must be FDA-cleared and indicated for use with a particular sterilant. During sterilization, packaging must permit air removal and steam penetration. Afterward, it serves to maintain the sterility of the sterilized items during storage.

 Peripheral equipment for autoclave systems include: 

• Steam indicator strips

• Sterilization pouches

• Sterilization tubing

• Surgical pack wraps

• Instrument marking tape

• Autoclave tape

• Autoclave cleaner