Guidebook: Feline Panleukopenia

Chapter 5: Cleaning and Disinfection

As noted above, FPV can remain viable for months to years, especially in a dark, moist environment.5 Happily there are products now available that reliably inactivate FPV even on porous or unsealed surfaces.

Bleach has long been a standby product for inactivating FPV. Products in the same family as bleach that have also been found effective against FPV include calcium hypochlorite (e.g. Wysiwash®) and sodium dichloroisocyanurate (e.g. Bruclean®). However, all products in the bleach family have the significant disadvantage of being inactivated by organic material and offering limited penetration on porous surfaces. These products are fine to use on surfaces such as stainless steel or sealed floors, but choose one of the other options below for surfaces such as scratched plastic, unsealed concrete, wood, carpet, etc.

Potassium peroxymonosulfate[11] (e.g. Trifectant® or Virkon) and accelerated hydrogen peroxide[12] (e.g.  Accel/Rescue®) both have greater detergent properties and better activity in the face of organic matter compared to bleach and related products. Accel/Rescue in particular, has been shown to have good activity even in the face of organic matter contamination. Either of these can be used in carpet cleaners on contaminated carpets and furniture (always check first to test for staining).

Other important information about disinfection:

  • Quaternary ammonium disinfectants (e.g. Triple Two, Parvosol, Roccal) do not reliably kill FPV.6,8,9
  • Alcohol hand sanitizers do not kill FPV.
  • Use and change gloves or wash hands well with soap and water after handling suspect cases.
  • Routinely use a disinfectant proven effective against FPLV daily at least during known high risk periods, preferably use at all times (you never know).
  • Eliminate swapping of cages and carriers without thorough cleaning between cats.
  • For wood, plastic and other porous material that cannot be eliminated, disinfect with Accel® or Trifectant®.
  • Think about other contaminated areas during an outbreak, especially if FPV has spread widely. Ensure that carriers in animal control vehicles, intake areas, and other common contact surfaces are also disinfected.
  • Known heavily contaminated areas should be cleaned, then disinfected thoroughly before being reopened to cats – repeating the process 2-3 times may be helpful to ensure that every nook and cranny is covered. However, there is no need to close areas off for any set time period. If cleaning/disinfection is effective, it is safe to open the area immediately. If not, no amount of waiting will be sufficient, as the virus persists for months to years.

* Notes on bleach: Bleach must be applied to a clean surface to be effective and thus disinfecting with bleach is always a two-step process. 5% household bleach should be freshly diluted at 1:32 (1/2 cup per gallon). Correct dilution is very important: too weak is ineffective, too strong is overly corrosive and irritating to cats and humans. Bleach remains stable ~200 days when undiluted, and ~30 days after dilution provided it is stored in a light proof container since it is rapidly inactivated by light.10,11