Toxicity of melaleuca oil and related essential oils applied topically on dogs and cats

Vet Hum Toxicol. 1994 Apr;36(2):139-42.


Cases of melaleuca oil toxicosis have been reported by veterinarians to the National Animal Poison Control Center when the oil was applied dermally to dogs and cats. In most cases, the oil was used to treat dermatologic conditions at inappropriate high doses. The typical signs observed were depression, weakness, incoordination and muscle tremors. The active ingredients of commercial melaleuca oil are predominantly cyclic terpenes. Treatment of clinical signs and supportive care has been sufficient to achieve recovery without sequelae within 2-3 d.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacokinetics
  • Oils, Volatile / toxicity*
  • Plant Oils / pharmacokinetics
  • Plant Oils / toxicity*
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Terpenes / pharmacokinetics
  • Terpenes / toxicity


  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • Terpenes
  • Tea Tree Oil