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How can I help my kitten who swallowed gasoline?

Beige-and-white kitten peeking from behind a door frame.

Bashful kitty. (Photo: Flickr/Nick Perla)

How can I help my kitten who swallowed gasoline?

July 29, 2013

Q: My 7-month-old kitten, Meow Meow, drank gasoline (licking it off her coat). I tried bathing her in baby shampoo. What else should I do?

A: If she had it on her coat, you may want to try washing her with Dawn dishwashing soap, which does a very good job.

The toxicity symptoms will depend upon how much she ingested. Petroleum products are gastrointestinal irritants, and as such, inducing vomiting is not recommended.

We recommend gastrointestinal protectants, as well as coating agents (like sucralfate) to protect her esophagus, stomach, and intestines and help heal erosions. We also recommend dilution by feeding soft foods, giving her a small amount of milk to drink, and encouraging water or clear broth consumption.

To decrease stomach irritation, give either:

1- Pepcid AC (famotidine) at one quarter of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 lbs of body weight every 12 hours. Or...

2- Prilosec (omeprazole) at one quarter of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 lbs of body weight, every 24 hours.

These will reduce stomach acid and should help protect her stomach and esophagus. These are quite safe and should be used for several days.

Gasoline can also cause pneumonia if a significant amount of fumes are inhaled. If a significant amount is ingested we can also see effects on the brain, similar to alcohol overdose including tremors, seizures, coma, and death.

If Meow Meow ingested more than a few licks, I highly recommend that she see a veterinarian on an emergency basis. If she licked a few times due to having a small amount on her coat, then the bathing you have done, giving her milk to drink, and the acid reducers and feeding a soft diet for a couple of weeks may be enough.

If she is vomiting, having trouble breathing, has tremors or seizures, then she absolutely must see a veterinarian.

-- Answer from Dr. Kara, a veterinarian on JustAnswer.

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