Antifreeze; Winter’s Sweet But Lethal Treat For Your Pet

on Nov 10 in Dog News

thirst

It’s convenient to overlook the harm in air conditioners, snow globes, paints, solvents and color film processors. But truth is, there is a hidden poison in each one of these objects and it doesn’t taste like one. The sweet scent and taste of antifreeze is what lures thirsty dogs into the trap of death. Antifreeze is most commonly found in automobiles used as a coolant so it can be found, spills or puddles, in a driveway, garage or even a sidewalk. It only takes a tablespoon of this lethal sweet stuff to kill a ten pound cat and only 5 tablespoons to kill a golden retriever. The poison in the antifreeze is the compound called ethylene glycol, and it only takes a small amount.

The honest truth is, if your dog or cat does ingest antifreeze you have about 8 hours for a dog and 3 hours for a cat to seek medical attention. The anecdote’s success rate is excellent and recovery is outstanding, but once you pass the 8 hour mark you have more to worry about and recovery and survival may not be an option. The hard part is, many owners do not know their pet has consumed the antifreeze until it is too late. The symptoms of antifreeze indigestion are, staggering and appearing to be drunk, increased thirst, lethargy, vomiting and seizures according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Animals’ Animal Poison Control Center. They warn however, that the drunken state is short lived and the dog will appear to be fine and recovered. Do not fall for this, at this stage the dog’s condition is grave and internal damage has proceeded to the kidneys. The kidney shuts down due to abnormal crystals forming inside of it. At this point, there is little to nothing that can be done for the condition of your pet. Make sure to watch your dog as he sniffs around outside and to not carelessly leave automobile products lying around.

If you witness your dog or cat ingesting antifreeze, have suspicions, or he/she is displaying symptoms, take them to the veterinarian immediately! As soon as you mention to your pet’s doctor anything to do with antifreeze they will immediately run a blood test to determine if antifreeze poisoning is the case. If your pet has indeed been poisoned, then treatment will immediately begin. The treatment is extremely effective if caught in the 8 hour window and pets recover well within a 72 hour stay at the veterinarian hospital. Effective, however costly, prices for a golden retriever sized dog can be anywhere from $2,000 to $2,500. To avoid the costly treatment, prevention is key!

Some states have required that producers and companies that make antifreeze type products, add bittering agents to their products so animals (and children!) will not find them appealing. No research so far suggests that the bittering agents actually help, so prevention is still the best and only option. Don’t let the claims of a bitter tasting antifreeze by companies make you feel better about using it or leaving it lying around. Prevent, prevent and prevent!

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