My dog was sprayed by a skunk and after bathing her, I developed very itchy eyes and respiratory problems. Can skunk spray and odor cause these symptoms

First, if you experience respiratory problems for any reason, it is always a good idea to seek medical assistance. You are encouraged to do so.

Skunk spray contains a number of volatile chemicals. One found in the secretions of striped skunks is 3-methyl-1-butanethiol. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for this chemical states:

Potential Health Effects

  • Eye: Causes eye irritation. May cause chemical conjunctivitis and corneal damage.
  • Skin: Causes skin irritation. May cause cyanosis of the extremities.
  • Ingestion: May cause gastrointestinal irritation with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Ingestion of large amounts may cause CNS depression.
  • Inhalation: Causes respiratory tract irritation. Vapors may cause dizziness or suffocation. Can produce delayed pulmonary edema. May cause burning sensation in the chest.
  • Chronic: Prolonged or repeated skin contact may cause dermatitis. Effects may be delayed.

First Aid Measures

  • Eyes: Flush eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes, occasionally lifting the upper and lower eyelids. Get medical aid.
  • Skin: Get medical aid. Flush skin with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes. Wash clothing before reuse.
  • Ingestion: Do not induce vomiting. If victim is conscious and alert, give 2-4 cupfuls of milk or water. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person. Get medical aid.
  • Inhalation: Remove from exposure and move to fresh air immediately. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. Get medical aid.
  • Notes to Physician: Treat symptomatically and supportively.

Source: MSDS Creation Date: 9/02/1997, Revision #6 Date: 10/03/2005

There are additional nasty chemicals found in skunk spray. The web site by Professor William Wood skunk deodorizing has additional information.