Can Parvo Linger in a Kennel?

Unfortunately, parvo can indeed linger in a kennel after an outbreak. Even with thorough cleaning and disinfecting, parvovirus can remain in the environment for as much as six months to one year. This is a tough virus that can survive freezing temperatures and extreme heat.

Parvovirus is an extremely contagious virus that is often deadly to puppies. There is no cure for parvo, although dogs may survive with intensive supportive care. Ensuring your puppy and adult dogs are vaccinated can prevent a parvo outbreak. Animals recently acquired from a shelter or breeding kennel are particularly vulnerable. The virus spreads through direct contamination with an infected canine or indirect exposure via a contaminated object.

Eliminating Parvo

Getting rid of parvo in a kennel means regular disinfecting, not just a one-time use of disinfectants. It’s not enough just to keep the kennel clean and disinfected. Since parvo is so prevalent, surrounding areas also require frequent cleansing and disinfecting. That means not just disinfecting the kennel itself, but the hallway, entryway, and anywhere dogs may be exposed. Bowls, dishes, and anything else in which the sick puppy has come in contact also require disinfection or replacement.

Because dogs with parvo require strict isolation, anyone coming into contact with the animal must don protective clothing, such as gowns and gloves, and use footbaths upon entering and leaving the kennel.

In a home, do not allow any unvaccinated dogs or puppies who have not fully completed their 6, 8, and 12 week “puppy shots” to enter a residence in which a dog has had parvo for six to 12 months.

How to Disinfect

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, the best way to disinfect an area contaminated by parvo is to clean all surfaces of “gross organic matter,” followed by disinfection with a “solution of dilute bleach (1:30) or a peroxygen, potassium peroxymonosulfate, or accelerated hydrogen peroxide disinfectant.” These solutions are also suitable for footbaths.

Your vet can recommend a commercial parvo disinfectant that may kill other viruses, bacteria, and fungi in the home. These solutions are often easier to use in the home environment, and are safe for use on various surfaces, such as vinyl, stainless steel, stone, and plastic.

The MVM recommends cleaning, disinfecting, and drying cages housing dogs with parvo at least twice before reuse in a veterinary, shelter, or commercial setting. This same standard of cleansing and disinfection applies to homes.

In outdoor situations, where disinfection is more difficult, apply disinfectants by using spray hoses. Remove all contaminated organic material beforehand. However, this method will not provide the same level of disinfection achieved with clean indoor surfaces.  

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