Tea tree oil poisoning in dogs is a result of a dog orally ingesting tea tree oil in copious amounts or in concentrated form. The tree has been introduced to America and is grown in the southern states, particularly Florida. I’m terrified as I just learned that essential oils are toxic to cats. They are also the toxic agent. Because tea tree oil can be used at 100% concentration, toxicity is far more common for pets. There is no antidote to tea tree toxicosis, and treatment is aimed at managing symptoms. She enjoys photography, gardening and running in her spare time. Scaling 7. The safe dilution rate for cats is 0.1 to 1%. The attraction of using a natural product as opposed to a man-made synthetic treatment may not be worth the risk. Symptoms of Essential Oil Poisoning . Toxicity can occur very quickly or over a longer period of exposure. DrynessDon't use tea tree oil if you have eczema.Tea tree oil is toxic when swallowed. Australian Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) Oil Poisoning in Three Purebred Cats K. Bischoff and Fessesswork Guale Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 2016 10 : 2 , 208-210 In small concentrations (.1% to 1%), tea tree oil is tolerated and safe for cats and dogs, however, it is available as a 100 percent extract which, if accidentally ingested or topically applied, is harmful to pets. 3. The toxicity of tea tree oil after oral intake is well documented in both experi-mental studies in rats (rats oral LD50: 1.9–2.6ml/ kg), and from cases of tea tree oil poisoning in humans [21, 32]. Of the 443 animals exposed, 343 (77%) developed an adverse reaction consistent with toxicity. However, tea tree oil can cause: 1. Bischoff, K. ‘Australian Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) Oil Poisoning in Three Purebred Cats’, Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation (1998) Khan, S. (et al), ‘ Concentrated Tea Tree Oil Toxicosis in Dogs and Cats: 443 Cases (2002 – 2012) ’, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (2014) It is used topically to treat acne, boils, burns and insect bites in humans and pets. But is it safe? Because tea tree oil can be used at 100% concentration, toxicity is far more common for pets. Contact dermatitis (redness, itching, swelling), If tea tree oil has been applied to the cat’s coat, decontaminate the coat with warm water and a mild shampoo, Anti-nausea medication to control vomiting. Minor symptoms like drooling or vomiting may be found with mild doses of oil. Other possible signs of tea tree oil poisoning are elevated liver enzymes, reduced body temperature, depression, loss of coordination, skin rashes and lack of energy. Tea tree oil is a popular alternative treatment for many skin conditions affecting humans and its popularity has resulted in veterinary skin care products that contain the product. Tea tree oil toxicity has been shown to elevate liver enzyme levels in cats. Tea tree oil, or Australian tree tea oil, has become a popular alternative treatment for many skin conditions. January 1, 2014;244(1):95-9 ) Tea tree oil is an ingredient that can be found in many topical products sold in pet shops nowadays. Both ingestion and skin exposure can be toxic. There are unconfirmed reports of cats which have died following the its use. As far as cats and fleas, mites and other parasites are concerned, tea tree oil is either toxic or completely useless. May Cause Diarrhea. The most effective and safest method of flea removal on young kittens is manual removal with a flea comb. Symptoms of Essential Oil Poisoning . Treatment will depend on the severity of the toxicity. If your dog or cat has been exposed to tea tree oil and exhibits symptoms; including weakness, tremors, and staggering as if drunk, call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 and take your pet to your vet or an emergency veterinary hospital immediately. Vomiting, muscle tremors, and seizures are treated with medications as needed. ), always make sure they don’t contain tea tree oil. If you only treat the cat and not the home, the problem will continue. Toxicity can occur when animals get oil on their feet or haircoat, ingest an oil, or the oil is placed directly onto them and is absorbed through the skin. If you suspect your cat has been exposed to tea tree oil and is experiencing any of the above symptoms, seek veterinary attention immediately. Tea tree oil and pets: Veterinary toxicologists have reported that large amounts of tea tree oil applied to the skin of cats and dogs caused poisoning. Symptoms of tea tree toxicity in cats Depression Ataxia (wobbly gait) Drooling Vomiting Tremors Difficulty breathing Slow heart rate Decreased body temperature Muscle weakness Paralysis Seizures Reduced level of consciousness Contact dermatitis (redness, itching, swelling) Mild illness may only require skin decontamination with dish soap bathing. Skin decontamination and support therapy with intravenous fluids is the standard treatment. I have described above how these toxic substances can get into the body of cats. The cat that died in this case, cat 2, had central nervous system depression typical of tea tree oil poisoning. This article has information on natural ways to treat fleas in the home. I’m terrified as I just learned that essential oils are toxic to cats. Symptoms of Essential Oil Poisoning in Cats. Tea tree oils are one of the most toxic to dogs and cats. It is also used for treating athlete's foot, gingivitis, impetigo, tonsillitis, and vaginal infections in humans. Tea tree oil is often recommended as a safe and natural alternative to chemicals in the treatment of fleas and other conditions on cats. Le… 1,8-Cineole (eucalyptol) is a skin irritant as well as affecting the respiratory tract and nervous system. The clear to pale yellow oil has a camphor-like smell and has bactericidal and fungicidal properties. Buddy and Foxy and Tiger and Miss Charlotte. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. If used incorrectly, tea tree oil can cause severe poisoning and death in both dogs and cats. Cats, on the other hand, have less of the liver enzyme necessary to metabolizing tea tree and should never be exposed to the oil in any form. Objective: To determine the frequency, types, and severity of clinical signs; geographic distribution; and treatment information associated with toxicosis caused by 100% tea tree oil (TTO) in dogs and cats in the United States and Canada. If an animal ingests tea tree oil, neurological signs can develop in addition to low body temperature and severe skin irritation. In fact, the concentrations of tea tree oil suggested for many skin problems far exceed the concentrations found in most pet products (.1%-1%). If you only treat the cat and not the home, the problem will continue. Tea tree, in particular, is … Severe poisoning has resulted from less than 10 drops of 100% tea tree oil. The most effective and safest method of flea removal on young kittens is manual removal with a flea comb. Specific use of some oils, such as cinnamon, tea tree, peppermint and eucalyptus, can be fatal for your pet. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Animal Poison Control Center database was the source of the information, which spans a 10-year period from 2002 to 2012. Symptoms of Tea Tree Oil Poisoning in Dogs Symptoms of toxicity vary depending on the dose of terpenes ingested. Pennyroyal, specifically the type derived from Mentha Pulegium, can cause liver failure in dogs. A cat suffering from essential oil poisoning may experience respiratory distress in the form of wheezing, fast breathing, panting or coughing. Tea tree oil was found to cause breast growth in adolescent boys. Messybeast has four cases in which cats have been poisoned with tea tree oil which can be found in the links below. This is because the active compounds in tea tree oil called terpenes, making up roughly 50 to 60 percent of the oil, are mostly metabolized in the liver, making liver damage more likely. Tea tree oil is a popular alternative treatment for many skin conditions affecting humans and its popularity has resulted in veterinary skin care products that contain the product. Toxicity can occur very quickly or over a longer period of exposure. biochemical examinations. If the cat does not quickly recover, the owner should seek emergency veterinary care. Last Updated on December 31, 2020 by Julia Wilson. Tea tree oil and pets: Veterinary toxicologists have reported that large amounts of tea tree oil applied to the skin of cats and dogs caused poisoning. Even then, only apply to the skin as it is toxic if ingested. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Animal Poison Control Center database was the source of the information, which spans a 10-year period from 2002 to 2012. (Reference: Concentrated tea tree oil toxic in dogs and cats: 443 cases (2002-2012). Animals with moderate illness may appear weak, have difficulty walking, or seem partially paralyzed. You should hydrate your pet so that he/she may respond better to treatment. Many cat owners claim to use Tea Tree oil without any adverse effect, however, there have been reports from the US that Tea Tree oil is toxic, to cats. A report in the January 2014 issue of Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association documents multiple cases of tea tree oil toxicity in dogs and cats. Given the tendency of pets to groom, especially cats,  the toxicity risk of topical applications is amplified. The researches felt that the lack of labeling was a major reason for the feeling of safety on the part of American pet owners. Why can people use tea tree safely but cats can’t? Tea tree oil poisoning in dogs, while treatable, can be mild to severe and can cause harsh symptoms, including organ damage. Because the instructions did not mention toxicity or symptoms of Tea Tree Oil poisoning, the owner did not link the oil to the kittens' illness or the death of one of the kittens. Its popularity has resulted in some veterinary skin care products that contain small amounts of tea tree oil. In addition to the essential oils that you buy individually, they often appear in other household products such as paint thinner (turpentine is an essential oil) and insect repellent, which has a high risk of fatal reactions for cats, noted the CVMA. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination of your cat and obtain a medical history from you. Tea tree toxicosis can develop from a single exposure (usually due to undiluted, or improperly diluted exposure), or can culminate from several smaller exposures, such as when used in an oil burner. The effectiveness of orally administered activated charcoal in binding terpenes after oral ingestion of tea tree oil is unknown. The common symptoms of tea tree oil poisoning in dogs and cats can include: increased drooling extreme fatigue muscle weakness tremors uncoordinated movement ( ataxia) Severely ill animals have life-threating symptoms like tremors, seizures, greatly reduced level of consciousness, or coma. Due to the risk of toxicity and contact dermatitis, it is safer to avoid the use of tea tree oil to treat fleas. The neurological effects of the terpenes, as well as the thick quality of the oil, increase the risk of aspiration pneumonia if vomiting is induced.   Oils diffused in the air are inhaled and also collect on the fur, which results in your cat ingesting them during licking and cleaning. Symptoms typically appear 2-12 hours after exposure and can last up to 72 hours. Tea tree oil contains various types of chemicals called terpenes. Symptoms have included muscle tremors, weakness, difficulty in walking, low body temperature, and excessive salivation. Symptoms have included muscle tremors, weakness, difficulty in walking, low body temperature, and excessive salivation. If a cat owner suspects that their pet is in distress, they should move their cat to fresh air immediately. She said: Central nervous system depression and liver failure are the most common body systems involved. Although neem was not effective, no mites were still alive after three hours of exposure to the tea tree oil product. I’ve been treating a cyst by taking sitz baths with a few drops of 100% tea tree oil diluted in the bath water. No actual droplets of oil are emitted from passive diffusers (e.g. Many of the compounds in tea tree oil are lipophilic and rapidly absorbed through the skin. Tea tree oil (also called melaleuca oil) comes from the tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) which is native to southwest Queensland and northwest New South Wales. Symptoms of essential oil poisoning include difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing, drooling, vomiting, tremors, wobbliness and low heart rate, reported the Pet Poison Helpline. Tea tree oils are one of the most toxic to dogs and cats. Clinical signs include a low body temperature, weakness, walking drunk, inability to walk, tremors, coma, increased liver enzymes, and even death. Symptoms of tea tree toxicity in cats Depression Ataxia (wobbly gait) Drooling Vomiting Tremors Difficulty breathing Slow heart rate Decreased body temperature Muscle weakness Paralysis Seizures Reduced level of consciousness Contact dermatitis (redness, itching, swelling) In July 2002, she took her Maine Coons, Buddy and Baby, to … , anti-inflammatory, antipruritic (itch). Below I have listed the possible signs and symptoms of poisoning: Drooling; Vomiting (or sensitive stomach) Difficulty and … For any instances of poisoning, owners can also call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. Many liquid potpourri products and essential oils, including oil of cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), wintergreen, and ylang ylang, are poisonous to cats. While the skin acts as a protective barrier from the outside world, anything applied to it can be absorbed into the body (which is how transdermal patches work). Itching 4. These are the chemicals that make the oil effective against bacteria and fungi. Death from tea tree oil poisoning has not previously been reported in domestic animals. Treatment may be necessary for up to 72 hours after exposure. The oil has broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, anti-inflammatory, antipruritic (itch), anti-cancer and anti-parasitic properties. An emergency ride to a veterinary facility is a rapid second step. The risks outweigh the benefits when there are more effective and safer products for use on cats. Judy Hansen from California provided details of her cats' reactions following a bath in a shampoo containing Tea Tree Oil. This article has information on. It’s easy to assume if something is safe enough for people to use, it must be safe for cats too. A cat’s diligent grooming habits also put them at increased risk of toxicosis because anything on their fur or skin is ingested when the cat grooms itself. However, the elevated BUN and persistant dehydration suggests that this cat may have had renal damage unrelated to tea tree oil intoxication. It does take some time, especially if the kitten is infested, but it is the only safe and non-toxic method. My cat has potentially been exposed to tea tree oil and I’m hoping to get some insight. But is it safe? The Poison Control Center data includes 337 dogs and 106 cats exposed to 100% tea tree oil, administered topically (to the skin), orally, or via both routes. If a cat owner suspects that their pet is in distress, they should move their cat to fresh air immediately. A 10 year long veterinary study of tea tree oil toxicity in pets found that 89 percent of owners who used 100 percent oil assumed that it was safe. Based on data from the Pet Poison Helpline, nearly 10% of their calls from pet owners were for possible cat poisonings. Tea tree oil is an essential oil from the australian tea tree melaleuca alternifolia and is sometimes promoted as a natural or herbal treatment for fleas in pets. With pets, as with people, following label instructions is essential. Finally, oil should be safely stored away from pet access, especially the ingenious, inquisitive cat. Tea tree oil can be safe for topical application in cats at extremely low concentrations, from 0.1 - 1%. Ingestion of tea tree oil … Most people can use tea tree oil topically with no problems. This means topical application of concentrated oil can result in the same toxicity as accidental oral ingestion. Routine bloodwork will reveal elevated liver enzymes. In this manner, it’s a smart thought to abstain from utilizing essential oils in the event that you have a cat. 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