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COVID-19, News, Infectious Disease, Public Health

Why Sanitization Is Crucial in Combatting the Coronavirus in Veterinary Hospitals

Kara M. BurnsMS, MEd, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS-H (Internal Medicine, Dentistry), Editor in Chief

Kara Burns is an LVT with master’s degrees in physiology and counseling psychology. She began her career in human medicine working as an emergency psychologist and a poison specialist for humans and animals. Kara is the founder and president of the Academy of Veterinary Nutrition Technicians and has attained her VTS (Nutrition). She is the editor in chief of Today’s Veterinary Nurse. She also works as an independent nutritional consultant, and is the immediate past president of NAVTA. She has authored many articles, textbooks, and textbook chapters and is an internationally invited speaker, focusing on topics of nutrition, leadership, and technician utilization.

Why Sanitization Is Crucial in Combatting the Coronavirus in Veterinary Hospitals
Proper cleaning and sanitization is crucial is combatting the spread of the new coronavirus, which can live on hard surfaces for days, according to new research. Ksana-Durand/shutterstock.com

According to a new study, the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which causes COVID-19, remains viable in aerosols for hours and on surfaces for days.¹ This research illustrates the importance of cleaning and sanitizing, especially within a veterinary hospital, to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The coronavirus is believed to be spread through human-to-human transmission—contact with an infected person’s bodily secretions, such as secretions/droplets from a cough or sneeze. The new coronavirus is also considered to be transmitted by touching a contaminated surface or object (i.e., a fomite) and then touching the mouth, nose, or possibly eyes.

Smooth (non-porous) surfaces such as countertops, door knobs, and examination tables transmit viruses better than porous materials such as paper money and pet fur. This is due to porous and fibrous materials absorbing and trapping pathogens, making it harder to contract through simple contact. Pet fur is porous and fibrous; therefore, it is very unlikely that veterinary teams or pet owners could contract the coronavirus through interaction with pets. However, it is always proper to wash your hands before and after interacting with patients. It is also good to remind owners to regularly clean their pet’s food and water bowls, bedding material, and toys.

The study’s authors note that “our results indicate that aerosol and fomite transmission of HCoV-19 [SARS-CoV-2] are plausible, as the virus can remain viable in aerosols for multiple hours and on surfaces up to days.”¹

coronavirus lifespan on different surfaces


  1. van Doremalen J, Morris DH, Holbrook MG, et. al. Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. The New England Journal of Medicine. March 17, 2020, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973.