Chlorhexidine acetate is a disinfectant and topical anti-infective agent used also as mouthwash to prevent oral plaque. It is also used as a topical antiseptic ointment for surface wounds on dogs, cats, and horses. The drug has a wide range of antimicrobial activity and a rapid and residual antimicrobial effect for the cleaning and nonirritating treatment of wounds and preparation for surgical procedures.
The antimicrobial activity of chlorhexidine is directed primarily toward gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria; it is inactive against bacterial spores except at elevated temperatures, and acid-fast bacilli are inhibited but not killed by aqueous solutions. The infectivity of some lipophilic viruses (influenzavirus, herpesvirus, HIV) is rapidly inactivated by chlorhexidine. Yeasts (including Candida albicans) and dermatophytes are usually sensitive.