A common disinfectant with germicidal, deodorizing and bleaching properties. Usually
in liquid form containing sodium hypochlorite (5 - 25% concentration), a solid bleach
block or a powder containing calcium hypochlorite (chloride of lime, chlorinated
Note: there is a new generation of non-chlorine bleaches based on hydrogen
Animals most affected
Accidental ingestion, in particular where dogs bite into concentrated bleach blocks.
There is an associated risk of splashing bleach into the eyes. Drinking dilute solutions
of bleach (all animals), or falling into containers full of diluted bleach (cats).
Caustic and irritant properties, similar effects to alkalis. Toxic doses unknown.
Ingestion of concentrated solutions
burns to and erosions of the lips, tongue and oral mucosae;
irritation of the stomach and intestine, with diarrhoea, possibly haemorrhagic,
Ingestion of dilute solutions
few adverse effects;
mild buccal irritation, salivation.
Contact with eyes or skin through splashing
skin and eye irritation;
if solution concentrated, burns to the eye, with pain and lacrimation.
mild to severe gastroenteritis;
erosion, occasionally ulceration of buccal mucosae or ocular tissue.
Do not induce emesis or perform gastric lavage.
wash the mouth out with cool water;
activated vegetable charcoal;
antacids, aluminium gel to protect the gastric mucosae;
iv saline or glucose-saline;
corticosteroids, antibiotic cover if indicated.
Following dermal or ocular exposure
wash the skin well without rubbing;
irrigate the eyes well with water initially, then with physiological saline,
local anaesthetic eye drops (e.g. Ophthaine);
in both situations, corticosteroids and antibiotics if indicated.