Module 5: The Case of the Snotty Cats

The Disinfectant Dilemma

Selecting a disinfectant isn’t always a simple process. Selection is based on 3 priorities:

  • How well the disinfectant inactivates commonly occurring pathogens in shelters
  • Safety for the dogs and cats
  • Safety for humans

Here are other important considerations for selection of disinfectants:

  • Nearly all bacteria are inactivated by commonly used disinfectants.
  • Selection is mostly based on capacity to inactivate viruses and fungi spores.
  • Non-enveloped viruses include canine parvovirus, feline panleukopenia virus, and feline calicivirus. These pathogens are very durable in the environment and require special disinfectants for complete inactivation.
  • Ringworm fungal spores shed by infected animals into the environment also require special disinfectants or concentrations for inactivation.
  • Enveloped viruses such as FHV, FeLV and FIV, and the canine respiratory viruses do not persist for more than a few hours in the environment and are easily inactivated by most disinfectants.

The ASPCA has created a reference guide for selection of disinfectants for shelters and veterinary clinics. These are the brand names for the disinfectants listed in the guide:

  • Accelerated hydrogen peroxide = Accel or Rescue
  • Potassium peroxymonosulfate = Trifectant
  • Sodium hypochlorite = household bleach
  • Calcium hypochlorite = Wysiwash
  • Quaternary ammonium chloride compounds (QACs or Quats) = various brand names such as Roccal, Parvosol, Triple Two, Biocide



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Integrating Veterinary Medicine with Shelter Systems Copyright © 2020 by University of Florida is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.