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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Skunk Spray View In Cats

First Aid Condition

First aid health condition

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Condition Overview

Skunk spray is not a medical emergency, but it is aggravating for you and potentially painful for your pet. A direct hit in the face can irritate the eyes and even cause temporary blindness.

Symptoms

An extremely skunky smelling pet.

Causes

Hunting dogs are the most common victims because they are more likely to meet skunks during rambles through the woods. Skunks can also invade urban settings, and they love to swipe cat food. They will often use a pet door to gain entrance to the house.

A pet doesn't have to be too close to become a target, musk glands on each side of the skunk's anus have retractable ducts that are able to spray the stink 10 - 15 feet to reach and repel an inquisitive pet.

Diagnosis

You will know it when you smell it.

Treatment

First aid is all you will need to de-skunk your pet.

  1. Keep your pet out of the house - If at all possible, keep you pet outside to clean him, or you will need to deodorize your entire house as well. be sure to wear gloves and old clothes, or you will end up getting the smell on you also. Before doing anything else, check your pet's eyes. If they are watering or red, this will indicate a direct hit with the spray. Use a stream of sterile saline contact lens solution to wash them out. If you don't have saline, gently running water from the hose will also work to rinse the eyes and reduce the sting. 5 - 10 minutes is a good rule of thumb.
  2. Comb the fur - A simple bath won't be enough - and before you get him wet, be sure to comb out the fur. once the water hits any snarls, the fur turns solid, and you will have to cut out the mats.
  3. Keep him still - You will neeed both hands to effectively scrub your stinky pet, so it is a good idea to tie him to the outdoor faucet or to the tub. For dogs, attach the leash to his collar and loop it around a stationary object. For cats, it is best to use a harness so that they don't choke trying to escape.
  4. Use skunk odor cleaners - In most cases, regular shampoo won't get rid of the odor as effectively as commercial cleaners like Skunk Kleen or Skunk Odor Eliminator, both available at pet stores.
  5. Try Massengill brand douche - Professional groomers say this works wonders to get rid of skunk odor. Mix about 2 ounces of Massengill with a gallon of water for small to medium-sized pets. Pour the mix over your pet and make sure that it soaks thoroughly into the fur. Wait 15 minutes, then rinse with plain water. Follow with a bath using his regular shampoo.

Prevention

After the first spray attack, most pets will learn to avoid skunks.

Support

Skunk musk is made up of chemical compounds called thiols. Chemist Paul Krebaum found the answer to skunk odor by figuring out how to change the thoils into other compounds that don't smell, using a homemade solution.

To make his formula: Mix 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide with 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap (pet shampoo will work). Wet your pet's coat down, apply the solution to his wet coat while the mixture bubbles, and leave it on for 3 - 4 minutes. Next, rinse thoroughly. This mixture works better than anything on the market, and you can't buy it. Krebaum never patented the formula because it can't be bottled. It will pop the lid off any container due to the gas buildup. Mix only as much of the solution as you can use at one time. DO NOT let your pet ingest any of this mixture, and before soaping, put a thick protective eye ointment (like Neosporin Ophthalmic ointment) in his eyes to protect them.

Show Sources & Contributors +

Sources

The First Aid Companion for Dogs And Cats

Publisher: Rodale Inc, 2001

Website: http://www.rodalebooks.com/

Authors: Amy D. Shojai, Shane Bateman DVM

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