Gorilla Glue is dangerous to dogs in its uncured state.
It still has not been established why dogs are attracted to it. Cats, as one might guess, have better sense.
Some readers may not be familiar with Gorilla Glue. It is categorized as a polyurethane adhesive. An excellent technical description is available by clicking here.
There are a number of brands of polyurethane adhesive, Gorilla Glue is the one best-known.
Polyurethane glues have a unique characteristic in that they expand when they come in contact with water. Indeed, users are directed to apply Gorilla Glue to one dry surface and to moisten the joining surface before clamping. Moisture initiates the curing process.
What happens next is where the danger lies upon ingestion. Polyurethane adhesives foam up two or more times their uncured size during the curing process.
Dogs like to chew on the containers Gorilla Glue comes in. Upon puncturing the bottle with their teeth, the raw glue is exposed. Because the material has a pleasing taste to dogs, they don’t just continue to chew the container, but actually swallow the glue.
Of course, saliva and gastric juices provide moisture to activate the glue. Affected dogs can present with foamy, cured glue in the hair around their mouths. However, it is their repeated, unsuccessful attempts to vomit that usually trigger concern for pet owners. Vomiting ensues because of the polyurethane glue’s enlarging nature, which usually fills the interior of the stomach. The glue is not digestible, and results in blockage of the intestinal tract.
TREATMENT OF POLYURETHANE ADHESIVE INGESTION
Induction of vomiting is contraindicated in polyurethane adhesive ingestion. Interestingly, Gorilla Glue’s MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) indicates that a “call a doctor, ambulance or seek veterinarian assistance immediately.” (italics mine) There must be a lot of dogs eating this stuff!
In addition, if a patient aspirated (breathed into the lungs) polyurethane glue during vomition, the prognosis would become much more grave.
Instead, surgical removal is needed. Gastrotomy, surgical incision of the stomach. almost always leads to successful removal of the foreign material and full recovery for the patient. Fortunately, this glue does not adhere to the lining of the GI tract, so the surgery is much like the extraction of any other gastric foreign body, except that this one forms a “cast” of the inside of the stomach. Long-term sequella are typically not reported.
As always, prevention is far superior to treatment. Keep polyurethane adhesives, and all chemicals, out of reach of children and pets. I keep mine well away from Willie.
See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.