Oxymetazoline, tetrahydrozoline, naphazoline, nasal sprays, nasal decongestants, Afrin, ophthalmic preparation, Visine, eye drops, Alpha-2 Agonists
Toxicity to pets
Imidazoline decongestants are topical vasoconstrictors (constricts blood vessels). Imidazolines (like oxymetazoline and tetrahydrozoline) are commonly found in over-the-counter eye drops and nasal sprays. When a bottle of product containing imidazolines is chewed, it can result in severe poisoning in pets – even death, when untreated. Even a small ingestion can cause clinical signs of vomiting, lethargy/depression or agitation, ataxia (incoordination), hypotension, and a life-threatening low heart rate. Immediate veterinary attention should be sought following ingestion. Please contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline® for life-saving advice if your pet has ingested one of these common eye drops or nasal sprays.
Common signs to watch for:
- Lethargy or depression
- low blood pressure
- Life-threatening low heart rate
The content of this page is not veterinary advice. A number of factors (amount of substance ingested, size of the animal, allergies, etc.) determine what is toxic to a particular pet. If you think your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, call Pet Poison Helpline or seek immediate veterinary treatment.