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Disinfectants: Choose Wisely

When choosing disinfectants, keep in mind the diseases you are targeting and the age of the animals you’re caring for. In the cattery and kennel, viruses are always a concern, but we must never forget to prevent ringworm in pregnant moms and babies. Often this requires two different disinfectants: one for the adult area and another for safe use around babies and newborns. Let’s summarize some common disinfectants to help you make the best choice.


Bleach is typically where we all start, and it is excellent against Parvovirus. Bleach is effective at one ounce per gallon. However, bleach does not penetrate organic matter. It will sterilize the surface of smeared stool or fat, but it will not penetrate the surface to get to the virus underneath.

At four ounces per gallon, bleach will kill fungi - but with a price. Humans and animals can get skin irritation and “moth eaten puppy coats” at that level. Bleach at four ounces per gallon also pits stainless steel, dissolves cement from stone, and roughens concrete floors by dissolving the surface.


Chlorhexidine Solution kills fungal spores and is an excellent disinfectant around nursing puppies and kittens. 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 is not effective against Parvovirus family. Chlorhexidine is also a good choice to disinfect instruments.


Virkon penetrates organic matter, making it effective in a Parvovirus outbreak. It is safe to use around puppies or kittens and is great for rock runs where we need to penetrate soil surfaces. Use once a week to penetrate areas that are difficult to clean. Virkon is a great choice to kill bacteria, fungi, viruses and Parvovirus.

Oxine® 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. It will kill bacteria, fungi, viruses and Parvovirus and will also penetrate organic matter. Safe to use around food, in water, and in nurseries, and can be used with a fogger or hose-end sprayer. OXINE® can be put into a water system at 1:400 to prevent slime buildup. Fogging is also done at 1:400 and is especially helpful for respiratory outbreaks or in pet shops where birds are often present.

The Wysiwash Sanitizing System is easy to use and works against a wide range of pathogens, including Corona and Parvovirus. It works by using hypochlorous acid, which is effective and economical to use. You don't have to mix or rinse, and it won't corrode your equipment. It is also safe enough for direct contact immediately after application.


KENIC Ken’L Lan 128 Germicidal Disinfectant disinfects with 10 or more minutes of contact time. It has a great deodorant effect. Take caution when using around cats as residue can cause eye ulcers. The long exposure time can also be hard on equipment.

Accel disinfectant uses an accelerated hydrogen peroxide technology to work against a broad spectrum of bacteria and viruses, including Herpes, Calicivirus, and Parvovirus. Contact time is 5 minutes to disinfect, and it is non-toxic and non-irritating.


Health Guard Laundry Additive & Disinfectant disinfects the laundry without harming your washer. It kills bacteria, fungi and virus when used in a washing machine. Works well for odor removal as well as cleaning and disinfecting carpet or upholstery. Safe to use on items that will be around mom and her babies.


When using disinfectants, it is important to follow the correct directions for dilution. Toxins are a major cause of fading puppy or kitten syndrome. Neonatal skin is thin, and chemicals are readily absorbed through the skin causing fading puppy or kitten syndrome. Breathing chemical fumes can also cause URI.

Use caution when cleaning the whelping or queening box.
  • Avoid pine oils and phenols (Lysol®) as well as bleach or quaternary ammonium.
  • Use gentle cleaners with little odor and baby-safe disinfectant around puppies and kittens.

The ultimate goal is to have healthy moms and babies!

If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.

-Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health

The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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