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Alkali (Corrosive) Poisoning in Dogs and Cats
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
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Alkalis such as lye, potassium permanganate, and ammonium hydroxide.

Products such as drain cleaners, toilet bowl cleaners, ammonia, dishwater detergents, and "button-cell" alkali batteries.

General Information
Alkalis cause severe damage to tissues. An alkali continues to destroy the tissue until it is neutralized. Alkali burns tend to be deeper and more severe than those caused by acids. Stomach secretions are usually sufficient to neutralize the alkali if ingested.

Toxic Dose
Varies depending upon the type and concentration of alkali.

If ingested, drooling, irritated oral mucous membranes, ulcers in the mouth, esophagus, and stomach, pain, seizures, and rapid death may occur. In case of ocular exposure, the pet will be in intense pain and hold the eyes closed.

Immediate Action
For oral exposures, DO NOT induce vomiting. Give water or milk. Seek veterinary attention immediately. For ocular exposures, flush eyes with water or sterile saline for 30 minutes. For dermal (skin) exposure, the area should be flushed with running water for 30 minutes. Rubber gloves and goggles should be used to prevent human exposure. Seek veterinary attention while decontaminating the pet.

Veterinary Care
General treatment: In cases of oral exposure, milk or water may continue to be given. Activated charcoal is ineffective. If dermal or ocular exposure occurred, the affected areas will continue to be flushed with sterile saline.

Supportive treatment: Pain medication, antibiotics, IV fluids, and oxygen are given. Endoscopy is recommended before feeding resumes to allow for visualization of any damage to the esophagus and stomach. Ingested alkaline batteries should be removed from the esophagus with an endoscope as soon as possible to prevent perforation of the esophagus. If the battery has passed into the stomach, it can still be removed with an endoscope. Multiple radiographs taken over a time period will monitor the position of the battery if it has passed into the intestines.

Specific treatment: Unavailable.


Keep this and all other medications out of the reach of children and pets.

If you think your pet has been poisoned...

Contact your veterinarian or one of the Animal Poison Hotlines (listed below) if you think your pet may have accidentally received or been given an overdose of the medication.

**ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center - 24-hour service available throughout North America.

1-888-4ANI-HELP (1-888-426-4435). $65.00 per case, billed to caller's credit card.

Follow-up calls can be made for no additional charge by dialing 888-299-2973.

There is no charge when the call involves a product covered by the Animal Product Safety Service.

**Pet Poison Helpline - 24-hour service available throughout North America for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance with treating a potentially poisoned pet.

1-800-213-6680 ($59.00 per incident). Staffed 24-hours a day.

Updated 6/20/17

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