There are many dangers to our pets during the winter months including antifreeze poisoning. In this edition of Pet Pointers, Lisa Chelenza explains the prevention and treatment.
Ethylene Glycol is the active chemical in antifreeze, and it is extremely poisonous to both people and pets. An unfortunate quality of antifreeze is that it tastes sweet, not bitter like many other poisons, so it can be easily consumed and when ingested can cause serious damage. A lethal dose of ethylene glycol can be as little as a teaspoon for a cat.
DVM Elise Kraft tells us emergency treatment is crucial if your pet is to be saved, but even then your pet could suffer long term damage.
Dr. Kraft said, "Antifreeze is an extremely lethal toxin to both dogs and cats. Typically dogs, if we can see them within six hours of ingestion, the prognosis is actually very good. It's much more toxic in cats than in dogs, so we like to see them within two hours. But after that time period is almost universally a 100 percent lethal toxin."
Some signs your pet may have ingested antifreeze include vomiting, drooling and they also may appear drunk, stumbling or tipping over. If you can find the container you believe your pet was exposed to, bring it with you to your vet so they know what your pet has ingested.
Ethylene glycol can be found in some cleaning products and some cosmetics, as well as in some other car fluids like brake fluid.
To help prevent poisoning, clean up chemical spills as they happen, keep all chemical containers clean and out of your pets reach and keep curious cats inside.
Getting your pet to a vet as soon as possible is their best chance of survival.