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Disinfecting animal living areas after flood damage

Before giving your animals access to any kennels or living areas, properly disinfect the area to protect your animals from potential sources of contamination.

If floodwater has inundated the living area, try to keep animals away until you can effectively clean it because it may have high levels of contamination due to floodwater mixing with sewage and other material.

Do not allow your animals to drink any remaining floodwater, or eat any carcasses or debris lying on the ground. If necessary, fence off an area that is safe to hold the animals until you have cleaned any contaminated areas.

Disinfecting contaminated surfaces

It is important that you effectively disinfect any surfaces that have come into contact with floodwater. To do this, first remove loose dirt and debris from surfaces by thoroughly cleaning with detergent. A pressure washer, if available, can help remove stubborn areas of mud.

You can buy commercial-grade products from your local hardware store or agricultural supplier that contain compounds designed to clean, disinfect and sanitise buildings and surrounding areas. For disinfectant to be effective, you must leave the surface wet and use the required dilution rate for the required contact time.

Alternatively, washing down all surfaces with a suitable household-grade disinfectant solution can be an effective disinfectant. Most bleaches also act as disinfectants, so check that the product you use is a registered disinfectant. The solution helps prevent the spread of infection by killing common bacteria and viruses that could make your animals sick.

After removing loose dirt and debris from surfaces, scrub the area with the bleach solution. Keep the surfaces wet for the required contact time and then rinse off. Ensure that the area is thoroughly dry before allowing your animal into the area.

Note: organic matter, such as dung, hair and plant material, will inactivate the disinfectant effects of chlorine compounds.

Ensure that you use a registered product and follow the manufacturer's directions, including dilution rates, contact time and safety precautions as listed on the product label. Do not mix chlorine and ammonium compounds. Follow the recommended application safety precautions outlined on the label.

Disinfecting bedding and containers

If bedding or food and water containers have been contaminated, thoroughly clean and disinfect them before use. You can usually clean metal and hard plastics effectively, though timber products can be more difficult to disinfect.

You should use a suitable commercial- or household-grade disinfectant. Note that the dilution rate may be different to the recommendation for disinfecting hard surfaces.

Always follow the manufacturer's dilution recommendations listed on the product label.

If you are unsure whether you can disinfect some items effectively, safely dispose of those items and purchase new ones.

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