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Tea Tree Oil Toxicity.

Species: Dog
Breed: chow / shiba inu
Age: 11-15 years
Tea tree oil extract was put on the neck and spine of the dog for flea prevention. The oil sat on the skin for aprox 1 hr. The dog was unable to stand or walk and was immediately given a bath. She is now able to stand and walk but is uncoordinated and still showing signs of mobility issues. she is 14yrs old and does have some joint issues for which she is on supplements. My question is, is there anything else besides the bath that needs to be done or any other signs to look for that would indicate effects of toxicity from the tea tree oil


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

While some dogs can handle Tea Tree oil, there are some dogs that can indeed suffer toxic effects. This is much more common in really small dogs, or if the tea tree oil was used in conjunction with other products. However, as you have found out, it can definitely happen.

The general recommendation is actually not to put water (i.e. bath the dog) on the area where you applied the oil because it can drive the essential oils in deeper. Ideally, it's best to put olive oil on the area and let it sit there for 30 minutes and then use a gentle soap like Dawn dish soap on the area. If you feel there is still any of the oil present, then it may be worthwhile to do that.

If this is simply toxicity from the oil then the symptoms can last for a few hours to even a couple of days. If you are noticing tremors or if things are getting worse, then you may need to see the vet. They may treat her with a medication to help with muscle spasms and possibly seizures.

My other concern would be that there is a possibility that this is not even related to the tea tree oil. If the dog is having trouble using her back legs then there is a possibility that there is a serious spinal injury. If you are at all concerned that this could be it then she will need to see the vet right away.

But, most likely this is from tea tree oil and she should recover.

Just in case others are reading this, there is no evidence whatsoever that tee tree oil will have any effect against fleas. There really is no natural product that will work. Here is an article I wrote about fleas that tells you how I would treat them. I wouldn't put any topical meds on your dog for a few days though.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.