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Nolvasan (chlorhexidine)

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  • Nolvasan (chlorhexidine)

    Some questions for the Vets or anyone who may know about this.

    How effective is Nolvasan at disinfecting cages and cage equipment. Does it kill bacteria? Viruses? Parasites? Coccidia? Fungus?

    Is there a difference between using chlorhexidine acetate 2% and chlorhexidine gluconate 2%?


  • #2
    Ok, well here's my findings (from a chemists perspective anyway)...

    It seems, at least from the MSDS, that the gluconate is worse. You need to make sure you keep it away from any kind of chloride (i.e. any bleach) b/c it's not stable in contact w/it.

    Both are mid level irritants...meaning, don't let them come in contact w/your skin.

    Both have decomposition hazards...mainly being Carbon monoxide and dioxide.

    My suggestion? A 10% bleach solution will kill ANYTHING biological that you might be worried about. I'd stick with that rather than mess with this stuff. After cleaning you can simply rinse an additional time w/water and allow to air dry to make it safe for your geckos.

    But, that's just my two cents. Oh, another benefit? I'm sure bleach is dirt cheap in comparison.

    Just be careful if you do use it. You'll need to use it in a well ventilated area...otherwise you could suffer Carbon monoxide/dioxide poisoning.

    With bleach you also want to use it in a well ventilated area because of chloride ions, but I really would suggest it as a safer form of sanitization. I've worked in many a lab that works with all kinds of biological hazards (i.e. e. coli, etc), and a 10% solution of bleach thoroughly kills everything. And, I'm sure some of the stuff I've used it on is far worse than what you'll be combating.

    Oh, btw, you can use a lower solution than that. If you want to know the lowest that will thoroughly sanitize, just shoot me a pm of everything you're trying to kill and I can let you know.

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    • #3
      Thanks Andrea,

      I know quite a few people who use it for everything and have had no problems. They basically spray everything down with it, and then just rinse it or wipe it and put the animals back in. I know they are using a 2% concentrate diluted to like 6 teaspoons per 1/2 gallon. Thats pretty freaky that it gives off carbon dioxide and monoxide. I may just hold off on that for now.


      • #4
        My two cents.

        I think chlorhexidine is safer. Yes, it does give off a bit of CO and CO2, but you're going to get vastly more CO walking past the rear of a running vehicle than you will by using this in its disinfectant form. The irritants produced by bleach are much more immediately irritating to the lungs. Take a deep breath while you're making up your Clorox/water mix and see if I'm not right. Diluted bleach WILL kill just about everything, but we're not going after HIV, canine Parvo, or retroviruses here, just looking for good basic sanitation, and chlorhexidine is effective for virtually all bacteria, yeasts and fungii. Lots and lots of surgeons scrub their hands multiple times daily with chlorhexidine (although it is not as popular as betadine) with no ill effects.

        All that said, the biggest problem I have with diluted bleach is that it will rapidly corrode all metals it comes in contact with unless you rinse with water after cleansing. And that includes stainless steel.

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        • #5
          either form of chlorhexidine you have mentioned from what i understand is safer then bleach... the reason being at that concentration small amounts ingested by humans seems to have no ill effect (at least from a pharmacy perspective) when you dilute that down about 6-10 times it's original concentration it is still very effective and safer for most small animals. Not to delve too far into details but i brought some of my already diluted chlorhexidine i used for my cages into mycology and microbiology labs a few years ago and plated out samples before and after treating an area, such as a tabletop, and those that were of my treated sample grew nothing. (not saying everything was killed but i would assume a good deal)

          Now from my own experience (as far as using it as a disinfectant) i would stay away from chlorhexidine gluconate it has the tendency to stain teeth when used orally and after using it for several months on my tubs and tanks i noticed a stained yellow film that i could not get rid of. When it comes to humidity/ventilation issues fungal growth can be a problem! i noticed back when i used just plain soap and water to clean out my tubs on "scrub down day" the egg crates that were in there had small amounts on fungal growth on them. ever since switching over to chlorhexidine acetate when i now go to refresh my crates on scrub down day i no longer have this problem. just my thoughts and experience hope this helps some.
          Last edited by untytled; 12-07-2005, 09:41 PM.


          • #6
            Seems like everyone has some great points. Dr. Alan, being in the vet field, and untytled being in the pharm. field both have more experience w/this stuff than I do...especially since I only know what I've read on an MSDS (which is no where near the same thing as first hand knowledge).

            I would personally still use bleach, but none of my cages have metal. This is only b/c I still don't know what killed my little one (so I don't know how stubborn what I'm trying to kill is) and I know bleach will indeed kill everything.

            Sounds like it's safe to use though Matt. I hope I didn't scare you out of using it.

            Like I opinion is a I look at the world a bit differently. Especially since most of the chemicals I use I only know about through an MSDS...and in my's better safe than sorry. But, this isn't always realistically applicable in everyday life. Especially since I'm typically dealing with high concentrations of whatever chemical I happen to be dealing with...and I've dealt with some really nasty stuff in my time.

            Last edited by crestedgeckogirly; 12-08-2005, 11:58 AM.
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            • #7
              I use it on cages. I actually get some from my vet..shh it's freebie that not everyone gets. But I have also purchsed it. It is a bit better than the overboard effects of Bleach.
              Fist in the air in the land of hypocrisy
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