If there’s one downside to the summer heat, it’s that ticks and fleas are also a fan of these warmer temperatures. While we talk a lot about viruses, bacteria, and fungi, however, parasites are another important category of pathogen that need to be accounted for when maintaining a clean, disease-free facility.
Although parasites come in many different shapes and sizes, we can broadly break these down into two categories: ectoparasites, such as ticks and fleas, live outside the host animal’s body, often embedded in the surface of the skin or in hair. In addition to feeding on their blood, these parasites can give our animals other nasty infections, such as Lyme disease and heartworm. In contrast, endoparasites like Giardia and Cryptosporidium live inside the host, often wreaking havoc on our animals’ digestive tracts. So what can we do to disinfect against these summer-loving bugs?
At present, there is no EPA-approved test method that disinfectant manufacturers can use to determine whether their chemistry is capable of killing parasites. For this reason, it is not possible for a disinfectant to have any parasite claims. Instead, insecticides or certain medications may be recommended. However, environmental cleaning is a hugely important factor in reducing the spread of these parasites from one host to the next.
Disinfectants that have a built-in surfactant package (detergents) can go a long way in helping lift and physically remove parasites from the surfaces around your facility. Just like any soaps, disinfectants that contain detergents can help get rid of parasites in addition to their main job of protecting your facility against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Sometimes, the use of medicated topical products, such as shampoos, can be a great way to help manage parasitic infections by keeping everything clean and washing out the pests that are calling our animals’ fur their home.
Although parasite season may be upon us, this is certainly no reason not to get outside and make the most of summer! With a combination of medication, environmental cleaning, and in some cases topical products as well, you can do your part in keeping unwanted parasites out of sight.