Antifreeze Poisoning in Pets

Warm is out, and cold is on its way in! It’s time to start thinking about cool weather pet hazards. For example, did you know antifreeze is extremely poisonous to your pets?

Ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in almost all major antifreeze brands, has an inviting aroma, and a sweet flavor. Because of its appealing smell and taste, animals and children are often tempted to drink this deadly substance. You can try to help keep your pets safe by switching to a brand of antifreeze that contains propylene glycol instead of ethylene glycol due to the fact that is less toxic; however, animals can still become extremely sick and even die after ingesting propylene glycol, therefore we recommend keeping your animals away from all types of antifreeze.

If your pet is exposed to antifreeze, the first few hours after ingestion are critical. Animals that receive immediate veterinary care can recover—but the longer they remain untreated, the less likely they are to survive. Antifreeze poisoning occurs in two phases. In the first phase the animal typically appears “drunk”. They may act lethargic, disoriented, uncoordinated and/or groggy. Symptoms usually appear 30 minutes to one hour after ingestion and can last for several hours. The second phase, which can last up to three days, is characterized by symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, oral and gastric ulcer formation, kidney failure, seizures, coma and death.

Fortunately, Tennessee is one of the few states that require a bittering agent be added to ethylene glycol antifreeze to make it revolting for animals and children to taste. However, if you suspect that your pet has ingested anti-freeze, get them your family veterinarian immediately!

If it is after-hours, give us a call or bring in your pet for emergency care at Animal Emergency & Specialty Center