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What are Chemical Burns?

You can try to wash off the chemical at home using an alkaline solution of bicarbonate soda and water for twenty minutes before you rush to the vet. However, chemical burns should be treated as an emergency that warrants immediate veterinary attention. If left untreated, the chemicals can start to eat away the flesh.

Chemical burns in cats occur when a cat comes into contact with a poisonous chemical such as a household cleaning product, fertilizer, or pesticide. Due to their particular eating habits, cats don’t tend to ingest these substances of their own volition; chemical burns typically occur when cats walk across a fertilized garden or a freshly cleaned surface. They may ingest the chemical while trying to lick it off their skin.

Chemical Burns Average Cost

From 258 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,000

Symptoms of Chemical Burns in Cats

Symptoms may vary depending on which chemical caused the burn. One of the first signs of a chemical burn in a cat may be an overwhelming chemical smell. There may be immediate evidence of a chemical burn on the face, eyes, or head. Wash off the chemical and then take your cat to the vet immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • A chemical smell on your cat
  • Red, swollen skin or sores
  • Puckered skin
  • Loss of hair
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased urination or defecation
  • Excessive licking at the burn site*
  • Signs of pain, such as yowling
  • Trouble opening the eyes
  • Shock

*Do not allow your cat to continue to lick the affected area as this could make them seriously ill.

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Causes of Chemical Burns in Cats

The main cause of chemical burns in cats is coming into contact with a dangerous chemical. Cats, while cautious of what they eat, are curious animals, and this could lead them to accidentally ingest  a harmful chemical.

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Diagnosis of Chemical Burns in Cats

Before going to the vet, there are some preliminary steps you should take to prevent the burn from getting worse. Call the vet as soon as you can to let them know what happened. If you know which chemical caused the burn, make sure you read the label to check whether or not there’s an antidote. 

When you wash the chemical away, wear sanitary gloves to avoid exposing yourself to the chemical. If the chemical has gone directly into the eyes, try to hold the eyelids apart and wash them out with lukewarm water. If your cat has ingested the chemical, flush out the mouth. Dry your cat completely, wrap them in a blanket, and then rush to the vet.

Your vet will be able to make a tentative diagnosis based on presentation of symptoms and appearance of the burns. Be sure to inform your vet of the extent and duration of your cat’s symptoms, as well as which chemical they came into contact with, if you know it. Your vet will be able to ensure that your cat hasn’t been poisoned internally through a blood test.

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Treatment of Chemical Burns in Cats

Treatment will begin immediately. The treatment method will depend on the type of chemical and the severity and location of the burn. The vet may need to shave the fur in order to gain better access to the burn to clean it.

Your vet may prescribe an antibiotic ointment for painful burns. However, for some mild burns, the vet may not prescribe any treatments at all, as cats regularly bathe themselves and will end up licking off the ointments.

If the burn is considered severe, antibiotics and pain management medications may be prescribed. If the eyes or mouth have been burned, surgery or supportive nutritional therapy may be required. Your vet will be able to advise you based on your cat’s specific situation.

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Recovery of Chemical Burns in Cats

Recovery and prognosis will depend on the severity of the burn. The general rule of thumb for burns is that those involving less than a third of the cat’s body are most likely to make a good recovery.

Always follow your vet’s post-treatment instructions carefully. If your cat has had surgery, don’t allow them to irritate the surgery site. Always administer any medications, particularly antibiotics, for the full duration of treatment even if symptoms start to improve. Never use any over-the-counter ointments or medications made for human use as these may worsen the condition.

You’ll need to practice preventative measures to avoid another occurrence of chemical burns. You may want to limit your cat’s outdoor activity if you don’t know what caused the burn. Always keep all household cleaning products out of reach of your cat. Always clean up any spilled chemicals immediately.

Depending on the severity of the burn and whether or not your cat has undergone surgery, your vet may schedule follow-up appointments as needed to assess your cat’s progress. If you have any questions regarding treatment or recovery, consult your vet.

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*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Chemical Burns Average Cost

From 258 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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Chemical Burns Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Chetose and Sammie

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Kitten

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7 Weeks

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Very Red And Tender Bottom Of Feet

Really I’m not sure what type of burn this is on kittens feet but they were both inside there a little carrier and one of them or maybe both pooped in it and they sit in this poop all night and then the next morning the bottom of their feet is real red and tender and swollen could the poop have cows this or maybe is something that is .I immediately took them out and gave them a good bath but their feet are so red and tender they will not let you touch him and it is only on the bottom

Sept. 16, 2018

Chetose and Sammie's Owner

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munchkin

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Unsure

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Acting Normal
Possibly A Chemical Burn
Bold Patch

i used a flea and tick liquid on my cat and well she has a bold patch on her back as well as a cut, at first i thought she got injured while outside and watched over it and it was healing normally, today i added the second liquid this time me and my mother started to talk about her back i later did more research and turns out other cat owner have had the same problem i already finished washing it out, there is still a faint chemically smell my cat seems to be okay other then hating that i had to wash her, i am keeping an eye on her over night.

Aug. 29, 2018

munchkin's Owner

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Max

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Cat

dog-age-icon

3 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Pain

My kitty leaked in the bathtub drain químic that I put the night before He is only 3 months old, his thong tip is burned and I took him to the ver but don’t look any better What else I can do?

Aug. 15, 2018

Max's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

I don’t know which product you used on the drain, however we generally recommend that any action taken is based on the material safety data sheet (MSDS) of the product which is normally available on the manufacturer's website; the MSDS will give instructions for humans if the product is swallowed, gets in the eyes, contacts the skin, inhaled etc… these instructions should be followed by your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 15, 2018

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Audrey

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Burmeses

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12 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Burn Sores Appearing Under Skin

My cat has recently (3 weeks ago) underwent an intensive 3.5 hour operation to cut away a thread tangled around her intestines that she’d swallowed. Since the op she has recovered from that but now has burn like symptoms appearing over her back. She is taking antibiotics ( amoxcylav 50) subscribed by the vet who performed the op for infection but it doesn’t seem to be getting better

July 17, 2018

Audrey's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Without seeing Audrey, I'm not sure what might be going on with her skin, unfortunately. It is possible for the heating pads used in surgery to cause burns, especially if they are on them for a long time, but 3 weeks is a long time to have that start to appear. Surgery can also lower the immune system so that other problems start to appear. If it isn't improving, it would be a good idea to have her re-examined by your veterinarian to see what might be going on, and how to treat it.

July 17, 2018

Hi Michelle, thank you for your advice and yes they sent photos to a animal dermatologist and they came up with the same prognosis, burn from the heat pads during the surgery. They need to take a biopsy to test if this was the cause or not but need to put her back under and i just don't want her to go through any more trauma. it started to appear days after the surgery in a specific spot in between her shoulder blades and now a week ago (2 weeks after surgery) appearing on her back near her tail. We only noticed this when we saw her fur standing up in this area and shaved her to reveal a fine red line/strip that now has become wider and longer and red and scabbing. I guess I have lost some faith in the vet and her experience as a young vet and needed a second opinion what to do. Is the antibiotic amoxcylav 50 the best one to be on and is there anything else I can do. She has now given me some mixture to dilute to bathe it twice a day but it is very uncomfortable for Miss Audrey! She is not herself and very worried about her.

July 17, 2018

Audrey's Owner

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Olive

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tabby

dog-age-icon

1 Month

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Straining To Defecate

I am a clean freak, I bathed my kitten once with Warm water mixed with diluted Savlon. Frequently, post she poo I cleaned her butt with cotton dipped in savlon and run it through water. Got to know it is poisonous. I'm worried if she has chemical burn as her butt was mild red the other day, she keeps licking it constantly, she is dehydrated, lethargic, not eating well. Are there any chances of oesophegal damage? Other than that she doesn't drink water on her own, I feed her lactocent formula in warm water as recommended by vet.Can that be the reason for dehydration - dry lips & skin? Her other medications are: Provical.Pet, Provi Boost drops and Immuncare (vet recommended)

July 11, 2018

Olive's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Make sure you rinse any area with plain water and use a dab of petroleum jelly to keep the area from drying out; keep an eye on it and if there is continued irritation or you suspect that Olive may have consumed some or is showing symptoms of esophageal irritation you should visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 12, 2018

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Shilo

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mixed

dog-age-icon

16 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Licking
Licking Depression
Licking Depression Loss Of Appetite

We used Hartz liquid for fleas on our dogs and cats, we noticed our cats having sores on their backs and our oldest has hair loss and she was licking until we made her a plastic plate collar to keep her from licking. All her hair grew back and no more sores, gave her a bath and took the collar off within a few minutes she's licked it bleeding AGAIN, this has been goin on for 3 months, we don't have any money for a vet and at a loss as to what to do we still have 4-6 more weeks before we will have any money.

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Celebrity

dog-breed-icon

mixed

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Hair
A Chemical Smell
Signs Of Pain, Such As Yowling

My cat has been burnt by children who claimed to be selling acid and has a large open wound. I washed her down with baking soda and water solution and also diluted hydrogen peroxide and applied it to the area. I covered it with a gauze and wrapped it for the time being. Vets here are extremely expensive but I want her to recover, any ideas?

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jake

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Black cat

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Fear
Fear Crusty Black Skin

My outdoor cat was gone for a couple weeks. Returned home with large area on back near hind legs missing hsir. Skin black and scaley. Hair missing in lots of areas below on upper legs but not black, few white areas. Chemical? No puncture wounds or scratches. Afraid of everyone except me.

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Roman

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Unknown

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Redness
Hair Loss
Itching
Scabbing

I bought a flea collar for my cat a few weeks ago; he didn't seem bothered by it other than his usual aversion to wearing collars. But today I noticed a red mark where the collar was, so I moved it to check only to find that the entire area under the collar was raw! I took it off immediately and washed the area off with water but now i don't know what to do. Honestly he seems perfectly fine and if i hadn't seen it i would say he was but it looks horrible and i just want to be safe.

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Finn

dog-breed-icon

Cat

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

No Symptoms

I’ve just noticed a small burn under my cats collar, I used a flea treatment last week and I kept checking where I placed it incase of any burns like the packaging says and I didn’t find anything until now. What should I do?

Chemical Burns Average Cost

From 258 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,000

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