Yesterday I went outside to find my husband tackling a radiator. Jury’s out on who won that round – him or the radiator – but in the act of replacing it, copious amounts of antifreeze were unloaded into a big round pan.
And I’d just let Allie out to help me dig holes in the garden! EEK!
I scooped that pan up so fast (okay, not so fast that any of it sloshed out!) and stuck it high up on a shelf where no cat or dog could access it.
The reason for my panic is that antifreeze is deadly to pets. If a cat were to simply walk through it and lick the antifreeze off its paws – that’s enough to kill. And a mere 5 tablespoons of the stuff is fatal to a medium sized dog.
Sadly, both dogs and cats – and children, too! – appear to be drawn to antifreeze. I’m not sure what makes it seem so tasty to them, but if allowed, they’ll drink it.
Antifreeze contains Ethylene (or Diethylene) Glycol, which breaks down into toxic substances once processed through the liver. These toxic substances will then cause kidney failure if not treated immediately – or faster than that! – since absorption can occur so quickly.
Once Ethylene Glycol is ingested, it is rapidly absorbed into the liver from the intestines, and you can begin to see symptoms as soon as 30 minutes after your pet has been exposed. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested antifreeze, urgently seek emergency help.
|photo: Sean94110, via creative commons|
They will most probably induce vomiting to expel any remaining antifreeze in the stomach before it hits the intestines, as well as feeding your pet charcoal to bind to any remaining antifreeze.
The charcoal will prevent the intestines from absorbing the antifreeze and sending it on to the liver.
The odds that all antifreeze will be caught before metabolizing are very slim, though, but an emergency vet can also place your pet on dialysis to flush the kidneys and help mitigate the damaging effects of the antifreeze. Hopefully with swift action, the kidneys will be hit with a small enough amount of poison and they will be able to repair themselves.
The best thing you can do, though, is to practice prevention.
Please don’t underestimate the extreme hazard of this substance – to dogs, cats and children. Keep such harmful toxins stored safely out of reach – and if spills occur, immediately saturate the surface with water to dilute and disperse.