“Oh the weather outside is frightful…” No, really it is! With the colder months quickly descending upon us there are a number of worrisome things we should consider when it comes to our pets. This will be the first in a series of blogs containing winter safety tips for your pets.
Antifreeze poisoning is one of the most common poisonings seen in small animals. Ethylene glycol is the toxin that makes antifreeze lethal. It can be found in not only antifreeze but in engine coolant and hydraulic brake fluid as well. Antifreeze poisoning often occurs when it is leaked onto the driveway or road from a car’s radiator. Because of its sweet taste dogs will often consume great quantities of ethylene glycol which can cause fatal damage to the system. Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning in dogs and cats include:
• Drunken behaviors-euphoria/delirium, wobbly or uncoordinated movements
• Excessive urination
• Rapid heart beat
• Seizures/convulsions, shaking tremors
If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze it is critical to bring them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Treatment for the ingestion of ethylene glycol may include inducing vomiting, intra venous fluids and administration of alcohol. That’s right! Alcohol such as vodka competes with the ethylene glycol for use of a particular enzyme and prevents the damage it can do.Dogs that have consumed antifreeze in small quantities may survive but because of the toxic effect it has on the kidneys death due to kidney damage is common.
Antifreeze poisoning is easily avoided by keeping antifreeze containers closed tightly and out of the reach of pets. It is also important to check your radiator for leaks and have the repaired immediately. You may want to look for an antifreeze product containing propylene glycol as it is safer for pets if ingested.
This blog post was written by McQueen Animal Hospital, a veterinary clinic in Brampton providing quality affordable veterinary care