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Petroleum Poisoning in Cats

Gasoline, kerosene, turpentine, and similar volatile liquids are all classified as petroleum-based products. They may be stored in the garage or in your backyard, and if your cat accidentally licks or smears their body with these products, it may lead to petroleum poisoning, while inhaling their fumes may lead to pneumonia. Either way, these products are dangerous and should be kept out of your pet's reach.

Symptoms

A cat exposed to or inhaling petroleum-based products may display such symptoms as:

  • Vomiting
  • Nasal discharge
  • Seizures and tremors
  • Respiratory distress (e.g., coughing, labored breathing)
  • Skin irritation (displayed as itching, biting, or rubbing against a wall)

Cause

There are many petroleum-based products which may poison your cat. Some of the more common liquids include:

  • Gasoline
  • Kerosene
  • Turpentine

Diagnosis

The veterinarian will make a diagnosis by observing the cat's clinical signs and through the medical history information you provide. They may also rule out other conditions which cause respiratory distress, a common symptom in petroleum poisoning.

Treatment

Wash your cat's mouth with water from the tap or a hose. If the cat has only smeared itself with the petroleum-based product, bathe it in warm, soapy water for about 20 minutes. If the cat has already begun vomiting, do not induce further vomiting. If not, your veterinarian may recommend activated charcoal to induce vomiting.

Your veterinarian may also perform gastric lavage to completely remove the poisonous substances from your cat’s stomach. And in severe cases of petroleum poisoning, your cat may receive fluids intravenously in order to stabilize it and replace lost electrolytes.

Living and Management

Your recovering cat should be given plenty of rest in a calm environment.

Prevention

Make sure that any poisonous agents are locked away, placed in sealed containers, and kept out of your cat's reach.

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