A petroleum distillate used as an alternative to turpentine and known as turpentine
substitute. Similar to kerosene, it is a mixture of long-chain hydrocarbons.
Animals most affected
accidental ingestion of the solvent (most often in the form of a paint thinner),
polishes, waxes, window and metal cleaners;
accidental inhalation and aspiration; such incidents frequently arise where
the solvent is used topically for removing paint stains or hydrocarbons which
have marked the coats of animals; however this is an inappropriate, potentially
harmful action which is all too often accompanied by vigorous brushing or rubbing;
prolonged inhalation of the vapours (e.g. where animals are locked up in confined
areas where such products are stored).
The product is highly irritant and very volatile (due to its low surface tension,
the petroleum distillate achieves widespread diffusion in the lungs, even when the
quantities involved are extremely small). Elimination is through the lungs. Toxic
doses are not known.
The following problems may arise:
gastrointestinal: nausea, severe and protracted vomiting, colic, diarrhoea;
neurological: hyperexcitability, ataxia, convulsions (most marked in cats);
respiratory: dyspnoea, coughing, bradypnoea;
renal: oliguria, albuminuria, haematuna;
deterioration over several hours to several days, frequently death occurs.
(Especially if there has been rubbing or brushing of the skin): effects as above,
together with severe pruritus.
severe respiratory difficulties: suffocation, hacking dry cough, wheezing, severe
dyspnoea, acute respiratory distress;
rapid deterioration and death.
Variable, dependent on the route of exposure:
pulmonary oedema, pneumonitis;
cutaneous desquamation and oedema;
No antidote. Symptomatic care only, promote excretion.
gastric lavage: to be avoided except in cases where a large amount has been ingested
and where the procedure may be closely monitored (due to the risk of an aspiration
oral sodium bicarbonate, 100 mg/kg per day;
adsorbents (activated vegetable charcoal).
In all cases
antibiotic cover to prevent secondary infection of the lungs.
A dog accidentally became covered in paint. The owner cleaned its coat using white
spirit. A short while afterwards, the animal presented with a drunken staggering
gait and weakness in its hind quarters. On clinical examination, the veterinary surgeon
noted that the dog had a mild tremor and congestion of the mucosae. The animal was
kept under observation and given antibiotics. His condition improved rapidly without
complications or sequelae.