Comparison between chlorhexidine and povidone-iodine solutions for flushing the preputial cavity on penile mucosa and semen bacterial counts in beef bulls

Document Type


Publication Title



The objectives of the present study were to estimate the number of colonies forming units (CFU) from penile mucosa and semen, the effect of two antiseptic solutions used to flush the preputial cavity to reduce the bacterial counts from those sites, and compare them. Six clinically healthy bulls between 15 and 16 mo old declared satisfactory potential breeders were used. A prospective, randomized, and controlled cross-over design was performed, in which each bull was first sampled from the penile mucosa and semen without treatment (control group) and 24 h later, after antiseptic preputial flushing (treated group). In the treated group, the preputial area was cleaned, the preputial hair was cut, urination was stimulated, prepuce area was scrubbed twice, and the preputial cavity was flushed with either 1% of povidone-iodine solution (POI; 500 mL) or 0.05% chlorhexidine digluconate (CHG; 500 mL), maintained for 10 min. Then, the preputial cavity was emptied and flushed with 500 mL of sterile saline solution. Next, the accessory sexual glands were massaged per rectum. Finally, protrusion, erection, and ejaculation were obtained by electroejaculation, and samples from penile mucosa and semen were collected for microbiological culture. The number of CFU was determined for each sample by enumerate total aerobic bacteria using Standard Plate Surface Count cultured for 48 h. In the first replicate, half of the bulls were treated with CHG, and the other half were treated with POI. After 58.8 ± 5.3 days (x ± SD) of wash-out period, the treatments were reverted, and the same protocols were applied again. In the control group, the median number of CFUs from the penile mucosa was 750,000 (range from 60,000 to 1,800,000) and the median number of CFUs in semen was 8,000,000 (700,000-45,000,000). The CFU in semen was higher than the penile mucosa (P = 0.005). Both antiseptic solutions reduced the median number of CFUs on the penile mucosa to 915 (P = 0.002) and in semen to 1,680 (P = 0.002). The antiseptic effect on the penile mucosa was higher for CHG solution (490) than for POI solution (6,650; P = 0.05). The antiseptic effect on semen of CHG was also greater (200) than for the POI solution (31,000; P = 0.05). It can be concluded that the median number of CFU was higher in semen compared with penile mucosa, and flushing the preputial cavity either with 0.05% CHG or 1% POI maintained for 10 min reduced the number of CFUs from penile mucosa and semen. The level of antiseptic activity was higher for CHG than for POI.

First Page


Last Page




Publication Date


This document is currently not available here.