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What is Tea Tree Oil Poisoning?

Tea tree oil is derived from the Melaleuca alternifolia tree. The leaves of the tree, which is readily found in Australia and other subtropical climates, produces the oil that is used quite readily in various infections in skin disorders. People use tea tree oil to treat nail fungus, athlete’s foot, allergic reactions on the skin, stings, bites and other conditions. It is a topical solution; it should never be taken orally. Tea tree oil poisoning in dogs may occur when dogs consume this potentially toxic oil.

Tea tree oil is also used to help with parasites. Many dog owners have used tea tree oil on their dog’s skin to prevent the infestation of fleas and ticks. There are some sources that say tea tree oil, when diluted properly, is safe to use; however, it is important to always consult with your veterinarian when wanting to use any type of holistic approach, such as any essential oil, to keep your dog free of parasites or for other maladies. Even in certain shampoos and your cleansers for dogs, very small amounts of tea tree oil may be an ingredient. If tea tree oil in diluted form in these products is used on your dog it is important to be sure your dog does not lick his fur immediately after use.

Tea tree oil poisoning in dogs is a result of a dog orally ingesting tea tree oil in copious amounts or in concentrated form. Tea tree oil poisoning in dogs, while treatable, can be mild to severe and can cause harsh symptoms, including organ damage.

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Tea Tree Oil Poisoning Average Cost

From 70 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Tea Tree Oil Poisoning in Dogs

Depending on how much tea tree oil is ingested, it can have detrimental effects on a dog. Symptoms of tea tree oil poisoning are:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Drop in body temperature
  • Drooling
  • Collapse
  • Depression
  • Skin rashes
  • Seizures (in severe cases)
  • Pneumonia (from inhalation)

Types

Tea tree oil can come in different mixtures and forms, and can also be an ingredient in various veterinary formulations used for a variety of ailments. It is considered an antimicrobial substance and is used as shampoos or topical ointments. Tea tree oil can be also referred as these common ingredients or product brands:

  • Cineole
  • Ascaridole
  • Australian tea tree oil
  • Bogaskin
  • Burnaid
  • Melaleuca alternifolia Hydrogel
  • Oil of mela-leuca
  • Tebodont
  • Teebaum
  • Ti tree
  • Polytoxinol
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Causes of Tea Tree Oil Poisoning in Dogs

The cause of tea tree oil poisoning in dogs is due to the ingestion of tea tree oil. This usually occurs when the tea tree oil is applied to the dog’s fur or skin and is licked by the dog. Tea tree oil should only be used in certain dilated quantities and only under the supervision of your veterinarian. Causes of sickness include: 

  • The rapid absorption of the chemicals into the skin, causing burns or rashes
  • The rapid absorption of the chemicals if taken orally, causing burns or mouth ulcers
  • The chemicals of the essential oils are metabolized through the liver
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Diagnosis of Tea Tree Oil Poisoning in Dogs

As with any essential oil ingestion by dogs, is important to receive rapid treatment. The quicker you can get your dog to the veterinarian will prevent your loved one from developing severe toxic effects. Your veterinarian will ask questions pertaining to how much tea tree oil your dog consumed and he will also want to know how much time has passed since he ingested this essential oil. The veterinarian will begin to treat your dog immediately based on his symptoms.

Blood work will be performed in order to take a closer look at the liver and kidneys and to see if they are functioning properly. A biochemistry profile will also alert the veterinarian to organ function. Based on his clinical signs and on your history of usage of tea tree oil on your dog’s skin, a diagnosis will be made and treatment will begin.

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Treatment of Tea Tree Oil Poisoning in Dogs

Treatment will depend on the severity of the toxicity in the clinical signs that your dog possesses. Treatment methods of tea tree oil poisoning may include:

Intravenous Fluids

IV fluids will be given to hydrate your dog so he may respond better to treatment. IV fluids given to the dog also encourage urination.

Medications

The veterinarian will choose which medications to give to your dog. Anti-vomiting medications may be given to prevent aspiration, medications may be given to protect the liver and stomach, and antibiotics may be given. Every dog is different, and every toxic dosage will vary, depending on the quantity of dilution in the amount ingested.

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Recovery of Tea Tree Oil Poisoning in Dogs

With rapid and proper treatment, your dog has a good chance of recovery. Once you take your dog home from the veterinarian or animal hospital, it will be important to keep an eye on your loved one for any behavioral changes or new symptoms. The veterinarian will give you instructions on how to continue caring for your dog, and how to administer any medications. Your veterinarian may want to see your dog again so he can continue to monitor his progress. If you have any questions or concerns once you are home with your dog, it is very important to contact your veterinarian. For prevention, keeping tea tree oil (and all essential oils) away from your dog is very important. Always consult your veterinarian if you choose to use any type of holistic treatments in the form of essential oils for any of your dog’s ailments.

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Tea Tree Oil Poisoning Average Cost

From 70 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

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Tea Tree Oil Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Labadoodle

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One

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Unknown severity

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6 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

We put pure tea tree oil in my dogs ear. Did we make a huge mistake????

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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6 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Pure teat tree oil is probably quite irritating to the delicate skin inside the ear canal, and there are products that are much more gentle. It would probably be a good idea to have your dog seen by a veterinarian, as they can look in the ear canal and see if the tissues are inflamed or infected, and give you safe cleaner or medication, depending on what is needed.

Oct. 9, 2020

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Chihuahua mix

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Ten Years

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Unknown severity

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6 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Red Glaze Eyes Ad Sneezing

While opening a bottle of 100% tea tree oil... it spilled all over the carpet, chair, my arms, legs, etc. the smell blew me away. Of course my chihuahua mix Georgette was in the same room and ran over to me. My friend was on the phone with me when this happened and told me tea tree oil is toxic in small dogs. So of course I am on high alert and extremely concerned. She probably walked through it while running over to me. Her eyes are glazed over and red. This happened around 10pm. She is walking ok. I got dressed and brought her out of the house to my car. I’m not sure how concerned to be or

July 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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6 Recommendations

If you were able to get her away from the fumes and decontaminate the area, she should be okay. It would be a good idea to monitor her closely for any signs of trouble breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, or strange behavior, and have her seen by your veterinarian if you notice any of those signs. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 15, 2020

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Tea Tree Oil Poisoning Average Cost

From 70 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$800

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