Disinfectants Currently Used by Ontario SPCA Animal Centres

Oxidizing Agents (Such as PrevailTM, PeroxigardTM Plus, Trifectant®, Virkon®)
  • Member of oxidizing agents family
  • Has bbroad-spectrumactivity
  • Acts by denaturing proteins and lipids
  • Effective against enveloped and non-enveloped viruses, bacteria and mycoplasma. Only variable activity against fungi
  • Has some limited detergent qualities
  • May be corrosive to metals

Alcohol (Usually in Hand Sanitizer)
  • Effectiveness similar to quaternary ammonium
  • Commonly used in hand sanitizers, not used as an environmental cleaner.
  • Less irritating to tissue than quaternary ammonium or bleach
  • Ethanol at 70% concentration is more effective than other alcohols against Calicivirus
  • No effect on Parvovirus, Panleukopenia or Ringworm. Gloves should be worn whenever these diseases are suspected.
  • Adequate contact time required (15-30 seconds recommended by manufacturer. Try it – 30 seconds is a long time!).
  • Apply enough of the product to the palm of your hand to wet your hands completely.
  • Rub your hands together, covering all surfaces until they are dry.
  • If your hands are visibly dirty, however, wash with soap and water first.
  • Hand washing with soap and water is preferable when possible.

skull iconPhenolic disinfectants, such as original Lysol formula, Lestoil and Pine-Sol are toxic to cats and should not be used in a shelter. Usually, this includes any product brand name ending in “sol”, “oil” and “ol”.

skull iconGluteraldehyde and formaldehyde are highly effective but also too toxic for routine environmental cleaning use.

Choosing Disinfection Products:
  • Disinfectants MUST be used at the correct concentration. Cleaning and disinfection protocols need to include clear instructions on how to correctly dilute the disinfectant to be used. Going by smell, colour, or “eyeballing” leads to extra expense and potential toxicity if too much is used, and ineffectiveness if too little is used
  • Adequate contact time is required. Virtually all disinfectants require a contact time. Spraying on, wiping off and immediately putting an animal in the freshly “cleaned” cage will not prevent disease spread.
  • Disinfectants must be applied to a basically clean, non-porous surface, free of organic matter. Porous surfaces such as wood, carpeting, unsealed concrete and turf can’t be completely disinfected.
  • Disinfectants and detergents can cancel each other’s actions, and should not be mixed unless specifically directed by the manufacturer.
  • There is no single perfect disinfectant for use in all circumstances. It is important to consider the surface to be cleaned and the harmful microorganisms most likely to be present.
  • Most disinfectants are effective against most bacteria, enveloped viruses and fungi
  • Non-enveloped viruses are more resistant and are only killed by a few disinfectants safe enough for routine use. Non-enveloped viruses of importance in shelters include Parvovirus, Feline Panleukopenia, and Calicivirus (a significant component of feline URI).
  • Other agents not reliably inactivated by most disinfectants include ringworm, parasite eggs such as roundworm and whipworm, and external parasites such as fleas, ticks and mites. Special protocols are required when these agents are an ongoing problem in a shelter.
  • Other considerations in choice of cleaning/disinfection agents include cost, ease of storage and application, as well as animal and staff tolerance.
  • You will need to have two cleaning and disinfection protocols: one for daily routine care (eg. spot cleaning) and a second for when a more thorough cleaning and disinfection is necessary (eg. cage is heavily soiled, disease occurrence).
  • There will also need to be a protocol used at less frequent intervals (e.g. once a week) or when the entire room is emptied.

Avoid Aerosolization of Dirt, Hair, Litter and Respiratory Irritants

Disinfectants can compromise our animals’ respiratory defences. Reduce these risks by:

  • Using a hose-end foamer rather than a sprayer for hose-end application of disinfectant whenever possible. This would normally apply to dog runs or other large surface areas.
  • Use a hand sprayer with a stream setting rather than an aerosol or mist setting.
  • Use the disinfectant applied to a fresh clean cloth to prevent spread of disease from dirty water/rags.
  • Use clean disinfectant and rinse water.
  • Avoid vigorous sweeping when animals are present. Use Swiffers, electrostatic cleaners, or damp mops instead.
  • Save high-pressure hosing or power washing for areas/times when no animals are present.

Section Feature