Sanitation, PPE, and Surgical Supply Alternatives for Animal Shelters

shelter staff in PPE holding a welcome signSince the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public health community has called on everyone to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and to donate it when possible. Many types of PPE and sanitation supplies are backordered indefinitely and may still be hard to acquire even once shelters, HQHVSN clinics, and veterinary hospitals resume “normal” operations.

Fortunately, people who work in animal care are already experienced innovators and improvisors. The challenge is to discover innovative solutions to these shortages using products that are readily available without compromising the health of humans or animals. We have looked for ideas that are evidence-based, as well as evidence that questions standard practices. Some of these innovations are cutting edge, while others are so old that they are new again.

We have divided ideas into the three main categories in which we have seen or expect to see shortages: Solutions for sanitation and disinfection; personal protective equipment for animal handling; and surgical supplies.

  • In Sanitation Alternatives for Animal Shelters, find out about effective disinfectants that are readily available, where to find them, and how to use them. Need to clean kennel floors or sanitize your hands, but can’t find your usual products? We share several ideas.
  • In Personal Protective Equipment Alternatives for Animal Handling, find different patterns for fabric or plastic isolation gowns and advice on manufacturing or reusing N-95 masks.
  • In Surgical Supply & PPE Alternatives for Animal Shelters, find out options for surgical gloves, caps, masks, drapes, and gowns, and other ideas for extending the life of the supplies you have.