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What Kills Parvo? How To Clean Areas Contaminated With Canine Parvovirus

Regardless of whether an infected canine parvovirus case appears at home or in a larger, multi-dog environment such as a breeding facility or veterinary hospital, correct measures must be taken to clean and disinfect contaminated areas safely and effectively.

In this blog, Jon-Don experts answer canine parvo-related questions including:

  • What is canine parvovirus?
  • Why is it so dangerous for dogs?
  • How do you properly clean parvovirus-contaminated areas?
  • And much more!

If your client suspects their pet is infected with parvo, adhere to the following guide to properly prep for and disinfect contaminated areas and surfaces.

What Is Canine Parvovirus?

Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily affects puppies, but can also be spread to adult dogs as well. An unvaccinated dog or one that’s incompletely vaccinated can contract the infection. Parvo is caused by parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2).

While there are many strains of CPV, all of them produce similar symptoms in pets and should be treated with the same care.

Parvo Symptoms in Dogs

In dogs, the parvovirus primarily attacks the gastrointestinal tract leading to severe symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea (often bloody), lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite. Dehydration and secondary infections can occur due to the damage inflicted on the animal’s intestinal lining.

The virus is mainly spread through contact with the feces of an infected dog, and it is highly resistant to the environment with the ability to survive for months on end, sometimes up to years. The virus can be transmitted through direct dog-to-dog contact as well, or indirectly through contaminated surfaces, objects, or people.

How To Prepare for and Clean Parvo-Contaminated Areas

Canine parvovirus is extremely resistant to most disinfectants. Canine parvovirus can remain viable for months to years, especially in dark, moist environments; however, there are many ways (both chemical and physical) to remove this contagious pathogen from surfaces.

Even though canine parvovirus cannot infect humans, it’s still important to follow hygienic best practices, including:

  • Always utilize disposable shoe/boot covers.
  • Always wear coveralls when cleaning and dispose of them when cleaning a new room or leaving the area you are currently cleaning.
  • The entire facility (both inside and out) must be thoroughly cleaned with a disinfectant that has a specific canine parvovirus kill claim.
  • Avoid the use of mops when possible.
  • Restrict the use of cleaning materials to individual rooms/areas.
  • Launder all clothing, bedding, and towels in the hottest water possible and use color-safe bleach on all items. Dry articles in a clothes dryer rather than hanging them up to dry.

Cleaning Parvovirus: Step-by-Step

First, be sure to select a disinfectant that specifically lists a kill claim for canine parvovirus on the label. Many household cleaner/disinfectant products, including Lysol Wipes, Clorox Wipes, Pine-Sol or Spic and Span do not kill parvo. 

Jon-Don offers a variety of EPA-registered disinfectants that are designed to kill and control fungal, bacterial, and virucidal growth, including canine parvo. Always follow the instructions as listed on the product label for the specific application:

Sample Cleaning Procedure With Betco pH7Q Dual

The following instructions are provided as an example procedure. Remember: the label is the law. Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer on the product label.

  1. Pre-clean heavily soiled areas to remove all dirt, dust, debris, and hair.
  2. Apply a solution of 0.5 oz. of Betco pH7Q Dual One‑Step Germicidal, Disinfectant, Cleaner per gallon of water (or equivalent use dilution) to disinfect hard non porous surfaces using a sponge, brush, cloth, mop, auto scrubber, mechanical spray device, coarse pump, or trigger spray device. For spray applications, spray 6-8 inches from surfaces. Do not breathe spray.
  3. Treated surfaces must remain visibly wet for 10 minutes.
  4. Allow surfaces to air dry.

Note: For areas such as a yard where disinfection is not an option, careful and repeated mechanical cleaning can be effective if done diligently. A yard can be flushed with water and dried, and a disinfectant with reasonable efficacy against organic matter can be sprayed on the area using a pesticide applicator or hose-end trigger sprayer.

Canine Parvovirus FAQs

For more on canine parvovirus, including information about how to protect your dog, we recommend visiting the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMAs) website. Still, here are some quick FAQs about parvo:

Are All Dogs at Risk for Canine Parvo?

While all dogs are susceptible to canine parvo, some breeds are at greater risk, as highlighted by the AVMA:

  • Rottweilers
  • Doberman pinschers
  • Bull terrier breeds
  • German shepherds
  • English springer spaniels

Can Canine Parvovirus Infect Humans?

No. Canine parvovirus cannot infect humans. Similarly, the human variant of parvovirus known as Parvovirus B19 cannot infect animals. These types of viruses are species-specific, meaning they cannot be transmitted between humans and animals.

How Does Canine Parvovirus Spread?

The virus does not require dog-to-dog contact to spread. It lives on surfaces, such as grass or soil, and can be spread on shoes or clothing. 

Can People Spread Canine Parvovirus to Other Dogs?

Yes. Humans can spread the virus unknowingly to other puppies and adult dogs with incomplete vaccinations. If a person comes into contact with an infected dog, has the virus on their hands or clothing, and then touches another dog or its environment (such as a kennel, bedding, toys, grooming tools, and food dishes), that person could unintentionally spread the virus.

Can You Use Household Disinfectants on Surfaces Contaminated With Canine Parvovirus?

No. Canine parvovirus is extremely resistant to most disinfectants. Only disinfectants that have been EPA-registered to kill parvovirus should be used. Household bleach solutions, diluted bleach, or chlorine bleach do not have parvovirus kill claims. Additionally, Lysol Wipes, Clorox Wipes, Pine-Sol, or Spic and Span do not kill canine parvo, either.

Can Dogs Survive Canine Parvovirus?

Yes, dogs can survive the canine parvovirus. According to the American Kennel Club, about 68-92% of dogs treated by a veterinarian survive the virus. Puppies who survive the first three to four days usually make a complete recovery.

Everything You Need to Clean Parvovirus Safely

Jon-Don supplies all the necessary products, equipment, and PPE that professionals need to clean parvovirus-contaminated areas — from shoe covers and coveralls to EPA-registered disinfectants formulated to kill canine parvo.

Additionally, you can enroll in our IICRC Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT) Seminar, where you will learn antimicrobial and disinfectant chemistry, mold and mildew remediation strategies, and critical safety procedures and regulations designed to protect your health when cleaning contaminants like canine parvovirus.

For information on upcoming seminars and course schedules, as well as to enroll, visit the course page.

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