Antifreeze Poisoning

As the cold winter months are upon us, people begin to winterize their vehicles, including changing their antifreeze.

Antifreeze is commonly used in winter months to prevent the radiator in cars from freezing. Antifreeze contains a substance called ethylene glycol. This substance, which can make its way onto the ground through leakage or dripping, is extremely toxic to animals. Ethylene glycol has a sweet taste, which makes it quite enticing to cats and dogs. Animals are most often exposed to it when they directly try to lick it off of the ground or lick their paws after walking through it.

Unfortunately, it does not take much ethylene glycol to cause serious and even fatal damage, so if you suspect your pet has ingested a product containing ethylene glycol, it is vital that you seek veterinary help immediately. Antifreeze poisoning can affect the brain, liver and kidneys of our pets.

Signs of ingestion include:

  • Staggering/incoordination
  • Euphoria
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Panting/heavy breathing
  • Seizures

The treatment and prognosis for pets with antifreeze poisoning depends on how quickly the animal receives veterinary care, thus medical intervention must take place as soon after ingestion as possible.

Antifreeze poisoning in pets can be easily avoided. Look for antifreeze products that contain propylene glycol, which is safer than the highly toxic ethylene glycol. Keep antifreeze container tightly closed and safely stored out of reach from your pets, dispose of empty or used antifreeze containers properly, check your car radiator regularly and repair leaks right away, clean up any leaks or spills immediately, and don’t let your pet roam unsupervised where they might come into contact with antifreeze.

If you suspect your pet may have come into contact with antifreeze or a product containing ethylene glycol, please contact your local veterinarian immediately. If you have any further questions about this topic, contact us at Lakeshore Road Animal Hospital, we are always here to help!

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Monday - Friday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 am - 2:00 pm for food and medication sales

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