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Vets Debate Tea Tree Oil Use in Pets
The People’s Pharmacy
I am writing in regard to the article published in the Buffalo News on August 12, 2013 from a veterinarian regarding tea tree oil (see below).
I am a Doctor of Pharmacy and want to let people know that there is a huge difference in tea tree oils.
In Australia, in order to be labeled tea tree oil, it must contain at least 30% terpinen and no more than 15% cineole. As such, each bottle contains the warning “POISON – not to be taken – keep out of reach of children”.
The United States has no restriction on what can be labeled tea tree oil. In many cases, a few drops of oil is added to an adulterant and is sold as tea tree oil.
Therefore, the veterinarian’s warning regarding use in pets, would be appropriate.
However, there is a high quality tea tree oil sold in the United States, Australia and many other countries, that does not require the “POISON” warning. This product T36C5®, produced by Melaleuca Incorporated contains 36% terpinen and and only 5% cineole and has been used safely on and in humans and animals to take advantage of its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Farmers commonly pour this oil down the throats of newborn calfs. In humans, it is particularly effective in periodontal diseases, wound care and burns.
Clarence, NY 14031
Q. I am a veterinarian and want to let people know that tea tree oil is very toxic to pets. It is rapidly absorbed through the skin and GI tract and can cause tremors, a drop in body temperature, sedation and, rarely, liver toxicity.
A dog could lick it or a well-meaning owner could try using it for an ear infection. Don’t do it! If accidental ingestion or skin absorption occurs, please take your pet to the vet. He will probably need hospitalization if he received a large dose.
While we’re on the subject, stay away from Ben Gay, Noxzema, HEET, Clearasil and oil of wintergreen on your pets. Anything with salicylates could be toxic.
A. Thanks for the warning. It is helpful to remember that what might work for people may be dangerous for pets. Tea tree oil has antifungal activity, which is why people have used it for their nail fungus and might try it for dog ear infections. As you point out, this is a bad idea.
Today at Big Cat Rescue Aug 27 2013