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Dog Poisoned by Essential Oils

Mizzely

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Is that really true? I believe that many EO’s are extracted by steam distillation, which is reasonably harsh and uses heat. If they can survive that, and I know they can, I fail to see why they can’t be heated.

That being said, I am with Garet on EO’s being (for the most part) little more than snake oil.

ETA: I should add that heating would be largely useless anyway since most terpene and other components of plant oils (these are largely what plant oils are made of) have high-ish boiling points and you probably wouldn’t be able volatilise a lot of it below 100oC.
All I know is everyone always says to not heat them, and since it's wholly unnecessary to heat them, I've never really taken the time to research further. So perhaps that is one of those things that get repeated without evidence. I'll have to read when I have time :) A lot of oils are steam distilled but there are also ones that aren't.
 

LunaLovebird

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I'm sorry you feel like they're snake oil, because they offer some really good benefits. Thing is, they have to be distilled correctly, pure, and then used for the appropriate thing.
Oh, I know that some do show some medicinal properties. I am a medicinal chemist and currently am involved in a project focused around a particular plant oil and have other experience in the herbal medicines area. It actually isn’t to do with purity (whatever that means in this context) or how they’re distilled really, it’s more to do with the source itself. The same plant grown in different areas can yield oils with markedly different properties and chemical compositions. They’re unregulated and the medicinal properties that some of these oils might have (the science really isn’t there to support a lot of it) require certain methods of application and dosage to do anything meaningful. You can’t actually guarantee that the oil you are using does anything other than make things smell nice, which is fine if that’s what you want but you shouldn’t rely on it for more than that.
 

Fuzzy

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Poor dog. Tea Tree is one of the most adulterated oils.
 

LunaLovebird

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All I know is everyone always says to not heat them, and since it's wholly unnecessary to heat them, I've never really taken the time to research further. So perhaps that is one of those things that get repeated without evidence. I'll have to read when I have time :) A lot of oils are steam distilled but there are also ones that aren't.
Citrus oils aren't IIRC, but that's mostly because they produce a lot of oil. The standard for everything else is distillation. One reason you probably don't want to go boiling plant oil is the fact that it would be a pretty big burn hazard. Without proper agitation, the oil would probably bump and get everywhere, and if the hot oil vapour were to condense on skin, you'd get burned. The chemical composition would be otherwise fine, although if you were to do it for long periods of time I would expect that some of the components would oxidise.
 

Mizzely

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Citrus oils aren't IIRC, but that's mostly because they produce a lot of oil. The standard for everything else is distillation. One reason you probably don't want to go boiling plant oil is the fact that it would be a pretty big burn hazard. Without proper agitation, the oil would probably bump and get everywhere, and if the hot oil vapour were to condense on skin, you'd get burned. The chemical composition would be otherwise fine, although if you were to do it for long periods of time I would expect that some of the components would oxidise.
Yes citrus I believe are cold pressed. I know that CO2 extraction is a method, as is solvent extraction. Those are not as prevalent though.
 

LunaLovebird

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Yes citrus I believe are cold pressed. I know that CO2 extraction is a method, as is solvent extraction. Those are not as prevalent though.
We used to do CO2 extractions with the first year chem students using dried herbs placed inside a little tissue envelope, which was then put into a 15 mL tube with some dry ice and the lid screwed on tight. I don't generally take first year classes, but it was my favourite prac to view from a distance because quite often the lids would pop off rather loudly due to the pressure build up, and you would hear a lot of intermittent screaming from the hall.
 

Garet

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Cocker spaniel. Notorious for these problems although her (high ranking AKC breeder) says her dogs don't have such a thing. Yes, anything that will help. Currently we're using Dynovite. I don't see a change.

I think what she was saying is that's not how diffusers work - not that they cannot be heated.

I'm sorry you feel like they're snake oil, because they offer some really good benefits. Thing is, they have to be distilled correctly, pure, and then used for the appropriate thing. I made hubby a tincture for his bruises (he has thin skin and bruises easily). He was amazed that it worked. I could go on and on, that's just one example. It's a field that is hard to navigate, IMO -- and then the specialists are called aromatherapists, is that a name that would instill confidence and make you want to go see them for a remedy? :laugh:
A lot of "pure oils" contain highly toxic compounds, though. It's not the additives alone that makes oils dangerous, it's the oils themselves. Pure essential oils are dangerous and highly un-essential in any way, shape, or form. People get away using 'essential' because they contain an "essence" or smell. They're just smelly oils that can seriously hurt you, your family, and pets.
 

Hawk12237

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No, I don't add oils to the humidifier either. Most of the time the plastic and filters are not designed for that. I don't usually use a diffuser at all since I have such a wide range of critters here. I meant only that the water in a diffuser for oils does not heat oils :)
That's so true, they aren't Designed for it. I have no idea why it's stated that you can on those warm air mist humidifier. Then again they're made in china, go figure. :shrug:
I like the warm mist humidifier these Michigan winters can make it dry in house on cold days with furnace running.
Not great for the birds, so I run just warm water mist to increase humidity levels.
 

Birdie Mama

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You could also try some coloidal silver for the dogs. It is very good, for humans, and is said to be good for them as well. We make our own that we sue a tsp or two a day, and seems to help. Just look up coloidal silver online and see what it says.
 

finchly

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You could also try some coloidal silver for the dogs. It is very good, for humans, and is said to be good for them as well. We make our own that we sue a tsp or two a day, and seems to help. Just look up coloidal silver online and see what it says.
I hadn’t thought of that, but I have some. Thanks.
 

LunaLovebird

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You could also try some coloidal silver for the dogs. It is very good, for humans, and is said to be good for them as well. We make our own that we sue a tsp or two a day, and seems to help. Just look up coloidal silver online and see what it says.
I don't mean to come across as though I am attacking you here, but colloidal silver is more of a scam than EO's, although it is less likely to cause toxicity issues. Silver has no intrinsic nutritional value, and there is no evidence to support the claims often made regarding the effect it has on diseases.

ETA: I should have added this, colloidal silver can be a bad thing to take with certain drugs and does have some side effects if you're taking a lot of it over prolonged periods, but has less of the immediate toxicity concerns that some EO's have.
 
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CrazyBirdChick

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Thank you for sharing this @finchly! I am a true believer in essential oils and have seen them do miraculous things!

But I do believe essential oils harmed a dog that I take care of. The dog had an irritated and bald tail and kept licking it to oblivion. The owner put thieves and some other stuff (not sure exactly which other eo) but the dog's tail ended up getting necrotic and had to be amputated. We'll never know if it was the eo or if it would have happened anyway but it's definitely good to be extremely cautious and knowledgeable when considering oils for pets
 

Hankmacaw

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@LunaLovebird I have very strong feelings against colloidal silver. Particularly with birds. Silver is a heavy metal and birds are very susceptible to heavy metal toxicity. It has to be dangerous to birds.

With neither colloidal silver nor essential oils have I ever seen, nor heard of any clinical controlled trials done on either. No trials on medications, I don.t touch them. Without an OK from my veterinarian I don't ever use a supplement.

All of the snake oil stories are too good to believe - so I don't.
 

LunaLovebird

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@LunaLovebird I have very strong feelings against colloidal silver. Particularly with birds. Silver is a heavy metal and birds are very susceptible to heavy metal toxicity. It has to be dangerous to birds.

With neither colloidal silver nor essential oils have I ever seen, nor heard of any clinical controlled trials done on either. No trials on medications, I don.t touch them. Without an OK from my veterinarian I don't ever use a supplement.

All of the snake oil stories are too good to believe - so I don't.
I don't think it's dangerous in the same way that zinc or elemental mercury would be, because it is not overly reactive in the same way that other metals are. It is, by and large, chemically inert. My issues with it aren't to do with toxicity per say, just that it is at best kinda useless, there is nothing to support any claims that it actually helps anything (as you say), and the way alternative remedies like these and EO's (for example) are marketed is more often than not predatory and extremely harmful.

MLM's like doTERRA, Neora, etc., are worse still. They are very good at hiding critical reviews on their science when you do Google searches on them. They will change their names when there are too many legal troubles. Their "independent testing" is typically performed by labs and people with vested financial interests, because conflict of interest doesn't seem to matter in the alternative health world. Claims are often based on vastly over-extrapolated results performed in test tubes and Petri dishes - you can't compare these sorts of tests to how something will act in an actual human person. If you could, the expense and time it takes to get drugs to market would be a tiny fraction of what it is now. And as I mentioned before, EO's are just so variable in their composition (in addition to being toxic at relatively low concentrations). Even if there was a chemical in them that did help with something, and even if they could do that through a diffuser, there's a good chance the helpful component isn't even in there, or at least not in therapeutic quantities. It's little more than an expensive perfume. Chinese herbs is another example. In a lab I worked in previously, it was found that samples of herbal extracts more often did not contain the purported (and advertised) active ingredient, and very commonly contained highly toxic ones. But you'd never know that without checking, because these things aren't regulated.
 

finchly

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Thank you for sharing this @finchly! I am a true believer in essential oils and have seen them do miraculous things!

But I do believe essential oils harmed a dog that I take care of. The dog had an irritated and bald tail and kept licking it to oblivion. The owner put thieves and some other stuff (not sure exactly which other eo) but the dog's tail ended up getting necrotic and had to be amputated. We'll never know if it was the eo or if it would have happened anyway but it's definitely good to be extremely cautious and knowledgeable when considering oils for pets

Yikes! That’s terrible. :(

I too have seen, well goodness I have experienced very positive results with essential oils. I live with several chronic illnesses and a great deal of pain. When you live with it so long and the medical community does nothing to help, you look outside that circle. That’s what led me to herbal medicine, a chiropractor, and eventually essential oils and massage therapy.

You’d have never seen me get into those things before, but each one has had its uses. Despite being “severe” in one case and clearly testing positive for others, I am able to do a lot and not lay in bed like many other people do. I am not saying “I owe it all” to this or that, but alternative medicine has worked for me. I do take medication, but rarely a pain med.
 

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I was watching a short series on the Victorian ear on Youtube. When we look back in history we can easily say, NO WAY ! ARSENIC in Wallpaper! That is clearly a bad idea... yet countless people of the age covered their house in arsenic. Pets died, children died, it was horrid.

Fun watch if you are curious.


I wonder to myself, what kind of things are we doing wrong today? It is a fun exercise. We carry highly combustible lithium in our pockets, we cook with stick free pans, we gorge on antibiotics (when we don't have a bacterial infection), there are many more examples, think of some for fun :)

I wonder if diffusers will be remembered in history as a weird things humans did to themselves in the early 21st century. Don't get me wrong I too appreciate the nice smells. I won't use them in my house though, skeptical of the risk to birdies.
 

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@LunaLovebird
Silver is classified as a heavy metal, just like zinc, lead, gold, mercury, cadmium, cobalt and iron (and others). All are toxic to birds, some more so than others. All will accumulate and remain at the cellular level until chelated out of the cells.
 

LunaLovebird

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@LunaLovebird
Silver is classified as a heavy metal, just like zinc, lead, gold, mercury, cadmium, cobalt and iron (and others). All are toxic to birds, some more so than others. All will accumulate and remain at the cellular level until chelated out of the cells.
Not all heavy metals are created equal. The mechanism by which zinc, lead and mercury are toxic is not the same. They are chemically different and interfere in different ways. Elemental silver is virtually non toxic, whereas elemental mercury is highly neurotoxic (for example). Silver compounds are toxic, but generally only at high concentration or through prolonged exposure.
 

Garet

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Not all heavy metals are created equal. The mechanism by which zinc, lead and mercury are toxic is not the same. They are chemically different and interfere in different ways. Elemental silver is virtually non toxic, whereas elemental mercury is highly neurotoxic (for example). Silver compounds are toxic, but generally only at high concentration or through prolonged exposure.

Colloidal silver isn't considered safe or effective for any of the health claims manufacturers make. Silver has no known purpose in the body. Nor is it an essential mineral, as some sellers of silver products claim.


  • Colloidal silver can cause serious side effects. The most common is argyria, a bluish-gray discoloration of the skin, which is usually permanent.
  • Colloidal silver can also cause poor absorption of some drugs, such as certain antibiotics and thyroxine (used to treat thyroid deficiency).
  • The FDA also warned in 1999 that colloidal silver isn’t safe or effective for treating any disease or condition.
  • The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission have taken action against a number of companies for making misleading claims about colloidal silver products.

However, official bodies, such as the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), state that colloidal silver can cause serious side effects and that there is no strong scientific evidence for its effectiveness as a home remedy.

Please, don't use this stuff. It is effective for certain bacteria, but shouldn't just be used without a prescription.
 
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