Hydrocarbons are in numerous products, including paints, varnishes, engine cleaners, furniture polish, lighter fluid, lamp
oils, paint removers, and fuel oil (e.g. acetone, xylene, kerosene, gasoline, naphtha, mineral oil). GI signs such as vomiting and diarrhea are common in dogs ingesting
hydrocarbons. Mild to moderate eye irritation and reversible ocular injury may occur after contact with most hydrocarbons.16 Acute but prolonged skin exposure to some hydrocarbons can result in dermal burns and, occasionally, systemic effects. Low-viscosity,
highly volatile hydrocarbons (e.g. those found in kerosene, gasoline, liquid furniture polish) are aspiration hazards. Pulmonary damage, transient CNS depression
or excitement, hypoxia, inflammation, and, potentially, secondary infection (pneumonia) can occur.16 Hepatic and renal damage have been reported from a percentage of both experimental and field cases of hydrocarbon poisoning.
Some hydrocarbons are also apparently capable of sensitizing the myocardium to endogenous catecholamines, resulting in arrhythmias
and even complete cardiovascular collapse.16
Because of the risk of aspiration, emesis is contraindicated in patients ingesting products containing hydrocarbons. Dilution
can be recommended. To treat topical exposure, bathe the dog with a liquid dishwashing detergent. Flush the eyes copiously
with saline in cases of ocular exposure. Closely monitor patients for aspiration pneumonia, particularly in vomiting dogs.16 Treatment is supportive and symptomatic .
"Toxicology Brief" was contributed by Irina Meadows, DVM, and Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, DVM, PhD, ASPCA Animal Poison Control
Center, 1717 S. Philo Road, Suite 36, Urbana, IL 61802. The department editor is Petra A. Volmer, DVM, MS, DABVT, DABT, College
of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
1. Antox [database]. Urbana, Ill: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals National Animal Poison Control Center.
2. Dunayer E. Ibuprofen toxicosis in dogs, cats, and ferrets. Vet Med 2004;99:580-586.
3. Gwaltney-Brant S. Chocolate intoxication. Vet Med 2001;96:108-111.
4. Wismer T. Novel Insecticides. In: Plumlee KH, ed. Clinical veterinary toxicology. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby, 2003;183-186.
5. Dorman DC. Toxicology of selected pesticides, drugs, and chemicals. Anticoagulant, cholecalciferol, and bromethalin-based
rodenticides. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 1990;20:339-352.
6. Dorman DC, Cote LM, Buck WB. Effects of an extract of Gingko biloba on bromethalin-induced cerebral lipid peroxidation and
edema in rats. Am J Vet Res 1992;53:138-142.
7. Morrow C. Cholecalciferol poisoning. Vet Med 2001;96:905-911.
8. Merola V. Anticoagulant rodenticides: deadly for pests, dangerous for pets. Vet Med 2002;97:716-727.
9. Sellon RK. Acetaminophen. In: Peterson ME, Talcott PA, eds. Small animal toxicology. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders Co, 2001;388-395.
10. Beasley VR, Dorman DC, Fikes JD, et al. A systems affected approach to veterinary toxicology. Urbana, Ill: University of Illinois Press, 1997;178-180.
11. Means C. Decongestants. In: Plumlee KH, ed. Clinical veterinary toxicology. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby, 2003;309-311.
12. DeClementi Safrit C. Acute thyroid hormone supplement overdosage. Vet Med 2001;96:424-430.
13. Hansen SR, Timmons SP, Dorman DC. Acute overdose of levothyroxine in a dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1992;200:1512-1514.
14. Kore AM. Common indoor toxicants: bleaches. In: Peterson ME, Talcott PA, eds. Small animal toxicology. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders Co, 2001;161-162.
15. Albretsen JC. Fertilizers. In: Plumlee KH, ed. Clinical veterinary toxicology. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby, 2003;154-155.
16. Raisbeck MF. Petroleum hydrocarbons. In: Peterson ME, Talcott PA, eds. Small animal toxicology. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders Co, 2001;666-676.