Zinc oxide ointments or creams are commonly used as topical skin protectants, astringents, and bactericidal agents. Most ointments contain 10–40% zinc oxide. Acute ingestion of zinc oxide-containing products usually results in gastric irritation (vomiting) and diarrhea, without the intravascular hemolysis, and liver and renal damage associated with elemental zinc ingestion. Signs are usually seen within 2–4 hr of a significant exposure. Vomiting animals should be managed symptomatically and supportively.
Last full review/revision March 2012 by Safdar A. Khan, DVM, MS, PhD, DABVT