• Northern Illawarra Veterinary Hospital

Tess's Tea Tree Toxicity

Tess was presented to NIVH by her owner when they noticed that she was a bit wobbly (ataxic) on her legs. Tess's owner had put some tea tree oil on Tess's paws earlier in the day to try to relieve an irritating itch. Unfortunately Tess's owner was not aware that pure tea tree oil on a dog's skin can be toxic resulting in a low body temperature, ataxia, salivation, lethargy, coma and tremor. It can also cause further irritation to the skin. Even a small amount of 7 drops of 100% tea tree oil can result in severe poisoning and even death.

Although Tess's owner was trying to provide her with some relief from her itchy sore skin, this story is a reminder that certain substances can be harmful to our pets. It is always important to check with your pet's vet before using any products not specifically designed for the intended use. Many pets, especially at this time of the year, will suffer from allergies and itchy skin. The best thing to do if you pet is affected is to speak with your vet to determine the underlying cause and come up with a treatment plan.

We are pleased to report that Tess made a quick and full recovery, thanks to her owners quick response in seeking assistance from the vet for her symptoms. Tess is now on a treatment plan to get on top of her allergies which were causing her itchy skin condition.