Turpentine is an essential oil, a mixture of pinenes, camphenes and other turpenes, derived from pine trees. It should not be confused with turpentine substitute (White spirit) which is commonly used as a paint thinner.


[affected.gif] Animals most affected
Dogs, cats.


[etiology.gif] Etiology


[toxic.gif] Toxicity
Highly irritant substance with a narcotic action. Toxic doses not known.


[clinical.gif] Clinical features

On ingestion

Dermal contamination
(Especially if there has been rubbing or brushing of the animal's coat):

On inhalation


[lesions.gif] Lesions
Variable according to the route of exposure:


[treatm~1.gif] Treatment
No antidote. Symptomatic and supportive care only; attempt to eliminate the compound.

Following ingestion

In all cases

If indicated



[case.gif] Case summaries
Three dogs were discovered in a room by their owner. They were restless and had a staggering gait. A bottle of turpentine oil had fallen down and broken open. Clinical examination indicated that there was no pulmonary involvement and it appeared that none of the liquid had been swallowed. The animals were observed for some time and made a rapid recovery.
A dog had swallowed a sponge soaked in turpentine oil. He presented with trembling and ataxia. The animal had vomited prior to arrival at the surgery and had a few convulsions. Severe dyspnoea completed the clinical picture. Gastrointestinal demulcents and antibiotics were prescribed. The animal made a full recovery in about a week.