Q. My friend had a dog die of parvovirus about four years ago. He was wondering if the yard is still contaminated and if so what he can do to clean the yard. He very much wants to get another dog.
A. Your friend is correct in being cautious about getting a new puppy after having a previous dog die from parvovirus. This intestinal virus is highly contagious, and can survive in the environment for a long time. Research has shown that it lasts up to two years in the environment. In addition to other dogs, canine wildlife such as foxes are susceptible.
Fortunately, parvovirus can be decontaminated by spraying the infected areas with bleach, including the yard. Since it has been over two years, your friend can safely get a new puppy.
One thing to keep in mind is that roundworm and hookworm eggs from feces can persist in the environment for at least five years, so it is important that any new puppy be dewormed every two weeks, starting at 3 weeks of age. This is especially true in dryer climates, where the eggs persist longer.
Infants as well as puppies are equally at risk for ingesting roundworm eggs, which can then migrate to different part of their bodies, including the eyes. Unpleasant scenario, but easily prevented.