Chemical Burns in Dogs

Chemical Burns in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Chemical Burns in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What are Chemical Burns?

Dogs can get chemical burns fairly easy by eating or exposing themselves to things they are not supposed to since they do not know any better. Just like children, you must keep toxic substances away from your pet. For example, bleach, fabric detergents, and other cleaners are common causes of chemical burns in dogs. In addition, chemical burns may be hard to recognize because your dog’s fur can hide any visible signs. Most often, these types of burns are second or third degree, erosive, and can cause necrosis, which is tissue death. If the chemical is able to be absorbed into the bloodstream, the results may be much worse and can cause a heart attack, respiratory arrest, shock, and death. If you suspect your dog has a chemical burn of any kind, rinse the area with cool water and call the veterinarian right away for an appointment.

A chemical burn in dogs is a serious condition caused by corrosive substances (either an acid or an alkali) like oxidizers, solvents, and other toxic substances. The burns may be on the skin, eyes, in the lungs, or in the digestive system depending on whether it is a solid, liquid, or gas. For instance, if your dog drinks a liquid chemical, the burns will be in the throat, esophagus, intestines, and stomach. The severity of the chemical burn depends on the chemical strength, whether it was inhaled, ingested, or absorbed into the skin, if the skin has any cuts or abrasions, and the area of the body that is exposed. Even if the burn seems small, some chemicals can cause damage to the deep tissues and affect the internal organs. This is an extremely dangerous condition that can cause shock and death if not treated properly.

Chemical Burns Average Cost

From 210 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,200

Symptoms of Chemical Burns in Dogs

The signs of chemical burns are varied depending on the chemical and the type of transmission. Typical side effects of chemical burns in dogs are:

  • Appetite loss
  • Drooling
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Pawing the mouth
  • Swallowing more than usual
  • Black skin
  • Irritation (redness and pain) of the area
  • Red eyes
  • Blistered or dead skin
  • Coughing
  • Gasping for breath
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Head pressing
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures or muscle tremors
  • Shock (cold paws, weak pulse, pale gums)
  • Death

 Types

  • 1st degree – Red skin
  • 2nd degree – Dry and peeling skin
  • 3rd degree – Loss of several deeper layers of skin
  • 4th degree – Death of the deep tissues
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Causes of Chemical Burns in Dogs

  • Acids like ammonia, battery acid, oxidizers, aspirins, insect repellents (boric acid), and many other cleaners.
  • Alkali such as lye, lime, metal cleaners, degreasers, and other cleaning agents.
  • Bleach
  • Concrete mix
  • Motor oil
  • Fertilizers
  • Drain cleaners
  • Salt
  • Pool chlorinators
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Diagnosis of Chemical Burns in Dogs

If you think your dog has a chemical burn, whether it is inhaled, ingested, or on the skin, you need to take your dog to see a veterinary professional. Some burns do not look bad, but may be doing more damage than you think and can affect the inner layers of the tissue and even cause damage to your pet’s vital organs. The veterinarian will first do a comprehensive physical examination, which includes skin and coat condition, body temperature, weight and height, reflexes, pupil reaction time, heart rate, blood pressure, breath sounds, and respiration rate. An electrocardiogram (EKG) will be done to check the electrical function of the heart.

Also, the veterinarian will use an endoscope (lighted hollow tube) to look at the throat, esophagus, and upper airway, checking for inflammation and erosion. Small tools can be inserted through the endoscope to remove dead skin and apply medication, if necessary. Some laboratory tests that are needed include a blood urea nitrogen (BUN), packed cell volume (PCV), complete blood count (CBC), serum chemical analysis, kidney and liver enzyme levels, and urinalysis. The veterinarian will also need to use x-rays (radiographs), an ultrasound, CT scans, and maybe an MRI to see how deep the damage goes.

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Treatment of Chemical Burns in Dogs

Treatment for chemical burns depends on the extent of the burns, the chemical agent that caused the burns, and your dog’s health. The typical treatment for chemical burns includes detoxification, fluid and oxygen therapy, medications for pain relief and infection, and possibly hospitalization for observation.

Detoxification

This step includes rinsing the area that has the burns and removing any dead skin that is involved. Your pet will usually be sedated for this because it may be very painful. If the burns are from an acid, baking soda and water will be used. If the cause was an alkali, vinegar and water will be used.

Therapy

Your dog will be given intravenous (IV) fluids to prevent dehydration and oxygen to help with breathing.

Medication

Antibiotics are needed to prevent infection, pain medications (intravenous and topical) will be used to ease the pain, and corticosteroids for inflammation.

Hospitalization

If the veterinarian feels it is necessary, your dog will stay overnight for observation and continued fluids. This is only required for severe burns.

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Worried about the cost of Chemical Burns treatment?

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Recovery of Chemical Burns in Dogs

Prognosis for your pet is good if you get treatment before shock sets in. Once your dog is allowed to go home, you will need to continue observation and keep the affected area dry and sterile. Call the veterinarian if you have any complications, such as concern over recovery rate or condition of healing skin.

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Chemical Burns Average Cost

From 210 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,200

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Chemical Burns Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Lab mix

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5 months

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Redness And Spots Of Fur Coming Off

I noticed today my puppy had some spots under his chin area where some fur was gone. It looked like he had irritated it by scratching but I remembered I washed him with gain dish soap the other day and think it might be a chemical burn

Aug. 12, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is difficult to say without seeing him, but that looks moist, and may be a bacterial infection. Those can spread quite quickly, and it would probably be best to have him seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to examine him and see what might be going on, and get antibiotics or other medications that he may need. I hope that all goes well for him!

Aug. 13, 2020

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Tina

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German Shepherd

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10 Months

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Won’T Drink
Slow Breathing
Drooling

My mom and I were putting chemical into our RO water system and some spilt on the ground and my dog licked some of it and it burnt her tongue and her mouth. I don’t know how to treat it or what to do. She won’t let us get into her mouth and she won’t drink any water. I’m really scared and I don’t know what to do...

Sept. 13, 2018

Tina's Owner

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Chemical Burns Average Cost

From 210 quotes ranging from $500 - $6,000

Average Cost

$2,200

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