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Equine Health Resource

Antiseptic Solution, Dilute Chlorhexidine or Povidone Iodine

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Antiseptic solutions should not be confused with antiseptic scrubs, discussed in another record. A scrub is an antiseptic mixed with a soap and is intended for scrubbing or cleaning but is never left on the skin. A solution is simply the disinfectant chemical itself and is water based. If you try to scrub skin with a solution, there will be no lather.

Generally, antiseptics are used diluted heavily with water rather than full strength. Full strength disinfectants are typically damaging to tissues. When in doubt, always make solutions more dilute before use on an animal.

Chorhexidine has different strengths and weaknesses than povidone iodine. It is a good idea to have 4oz of one or the other on hand in your emergency kit for wound flushing and other purposes. Talk to your vet about which is better for your particular purpose. Either can be used (dilute) for wound flushing in a hand sprayer. Dilute with water to greater than 1:20 for wound cleaning.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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