Chlorahexadine as wound wash?

Got my first injured snake today, Risky made a break for it and got herself hung up on a radiator hanger. Three days before the foam noodles I ordered to block them off arrived :persevere:

I need to go grab some betadine but in the meantime, does anyone know if chlorahexadine can be used as a wound wash for reptiles?

I’ll give the vet a call on Monday but in the meantime I’ve got her on paper towels, removed all decor that can’t be easily be disinfected, and will give her daily baths with betadine. Is there anything I’m missing?

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Chlorahexadine is an excellent wound-rinse, and snakes can be soaked in a diluted solution of it. This is often recommended by vets to treat healing wounds. I’ve used it in this manner several times, including for serious wounds such an an amputated tail.


Thank you! Do you know what dilution it should be?

I dilute it until it is a very pale blue color.

For anyone looking in the future who’s like me and needs numbers because anxiety, the recommended dilution for wound washing is .05%

If you are starting with a 4% chlorohex solution that may be 1.5 ounces/ gallon. Disclaimer: I’m bad at math.

Unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s safer to use physiologic saline. Chlorhexidine can cause major problems in mammals if not very dilute. If you’re set on using chlorhex, use it to moisten gauze (1 part chlorhex : 30 parts sterile water), which you can place on the wound while she’s being held. If it’s to the point of needing a bandage, especially since it’s a burn (generally they appear less serious than they are), and your vet is closed until Monday, you need to find someone else who can see her sooner. If treated promptly, some wounds can even be closed, but you’re generally stuck with 2nd intention healing if you wait.


Thank you! I’m going into town and can pick up some betadine today, I primarily wanted to know if I could get away with using chlorohex last night or if I needed to go to the pharmacy. Too much conflicting info on chlorohex for me to feel comfortable using it long term.

Luckily the heater wasn’t on so it’s not a burn, thank goodness, just a small cut but it is on her belly. If it had been a burn I would be a lot more worried, they are absolutely the worst kind of injury. The pic is from after her bath last night, it’s already looking less irritated.


Oh thank goodness, my mistake! I was worried about a big burn wound. So long as the spot isn’t a deceptively deep puncture wound, I imagine she’ll be just fine.