Disinfectants: Choose Wisely!
When choosing disinfectants, keep in mind what diseases you are targeting and what age to best prevent it. In the cattery and kennel, viruses are always our concern, but we must never forget to prevent ringworm on pregnant moms and babies! We often use two different disinfectants: bleach on the general kennel and chlorhexidine with babies and newborns. Safe and effective for the target organism is the reason. Let’s summarize the common disinfectants to aid in your choices.
When to Use bleach
Bleach is where we all start and is excellent against Parvovirus. Bleach is effective at 1 oz per gallon, so very dilute. Bleach does not penetrate organic matter. It will sterilize the surface of stool or fat smeared over a virus, but will not penetrate the fat or stool to get to the virus. You have to be an excellent cleaner to use bleach as a disinfectant!
At 4 oz per gallon, bleach will kill fungi, but with a price. Humans and puppies can get skin irritation and puppies get “moth eaten coats” at that level. 4 ounces per gallon pits stainless steel, dissolves cement from stone, and roughens concrete floors dissolving the surface.
- Good against Parvovirus, but won't penetrate organic matter. Don’t use in an outbreak!
- High levels get fungal organisms, but causes irritation and hard on equipment.
How to Attack fungal
is excellent to disinfectant around puppies and kittens while nursing. Use in a spray bottle for daily cleaning in nest boxes, especially in catteries where fungal (ringworm) is the number one concern for kittens. Excellent against bacteria and most viruses but it will not get Parvovirus!
- Safe for babies and excellent choice for disinfectant of instruments (tail dock and dewclaws).
- Kills bacteria, but will not get Parvovirus; excellent on fungi and will kill spores.
- Very safe for aviaries, cats, and kennels.
Effective on Parvo
or Virkon penetrates organic matter making it effective in a Parvovirus outbreak where we have virus everywhere! Great for rock runs where we need to penetrate soil surfaces. Often it is used once a week to be sure to penetrate areas difficult to clean.
- Kills bacteria, fungi, viral, Parvovirus
- Cage and flooring with kennel, cats, and birds. Can be used in a hose end sprayer effectively.
- Penetrates organic matter well so if you are not a meticulous cleaner this is a good choice.
- Easy on tissues and hair coats so humans sensitive to cleaners will get along with this one.
- Won’t cause moth eaten hair coats.
is excellent against all viruses and bacteria as well as fungi and fungal spores! It is very safe and used in foggers for aviaries, kennels, and catteries to get ahead of respiratory issues.
- Kills bacteria, fungi, viral, Parvovirus, and penetrates organic matter.
- Safe around food, in water, and cages. Can be used with a fogger and hose end sprayer.
- Oxine® can be put into water system at 1:400 to prevent slime build up. Safe to drink.
- Fogging is also done at 1:400 and is especially helpful for respiratory outbreaks or in pet shops where birds are often present as well.
Works on Most Organisms
is a quaternary ammonia compound that will cover most organisms with prolonged exposure time to disinfectant. Contact time for Parvovirus is over 10 minutes and not generally used to control Parvovirus.
KENIC Ken’L Lan 128 Germicidal Disinfectant
is similar to Roccal®
-D as that ammonia compounds disinfect with 10 or more minutes of contact time.
- Great deodorant effect and smells great.
- Do not use around cats – residue will get on paws and when they clean their face will cause eye ulcers. Ken’l Lan is labeled for catteries, but use caution.
- Long exposure can be hard on equipment.
Fading Puppy Snydrome
Neonatal skin is thin, and chemicals can be more readily absorbed through the skin in a neonate than in an adult. Breathing chemical fumes is also a concern. Toxins are one cause of fading puppy or kitten syndrome! Evaluate the bedding material and products used to clean the whelping or queening box
. Avoid pine oils and phenols (Lysol®
) as well as direct contact with bleach or quaternary ammonium (Roccal®
-D) residue. Use gentle cleaners with little odor and baby safe disinfectant around puppies and kittens. Remove excess residue and dry area before returning neonate to the whelping or queening box.
Treatment for Cloth Surfaces
Health Guard™ Laundry Additive & Disinfectant
disinfects the laundry without killing your washer!
- Kills bacteria, fungal, and viral in washer without damaging the washer as bleach will.
- Great odor removal and carpet cleaning laundry additive.
- Should be used with any towels from moms and babies.
- Great choice for carpet cleaning equipment for carpet and upholstery.
The role of disinfectants in a kennel or cattery is to keep wild virus numbers low. We need to do this without causing issues for the babies. If the disinfectant does not control the issue you are seeing, it costs you money! If the disinfectant controls your disease issues, it improves the life of the neonate and saves you money. Choose wisely!
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of a qualified veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.
Return to Articles