Antifreeze (ethylene glycol) Poisoning and Your Pet

Be aware of antifreeze spills during these colder months – it could prove to be fatal for your beloved fur baby!

Ethylene glycol poisoning is a potentially fatal condition that results from the ingestion of substances containing ethylene glycol, an organic compound commonly seen in antifreeze. Dogs and cats usually come into contact with antifreeze when it leaks from a car’s engine onto the ground, when it is spilled onto the ground while being added to a car’s engine, or when the container is left uncapped.

Antifreeze is recognizable by its bright green coloring and “sweet” taste. Even small amounts can be fatally toxic to the body’s organs, including the brain, kidneys and liver.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs can be seen as early as 30 minutes after ingestion…..

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mild to severe depression
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated or drunken-appearing gait (ataxia) or movement and knuckling
  • Twitching muscles
  • Short, rapid movements of the eyeball
  • Head tremors
  • Decreased withdrawal reflexes and righting ability
  • Increased urination and increased thirst (polyuria and polydipsia)
  • Dogs will exhibit increasing depression, and tend to drink less but increased urination continues, which results in dehydration
  • Severe sluggishness (lethargy) or coma
  • Seizures
  • Lack of appetite (anorexia)
  • Vomiting
  • Oral ulcers/sores on mouth
  • Salivation or drooling
  • Kidneys are often swollen and painful

If you feel your pet has been in contact with antifreeze or is developing any of these signs or symptoms it is crucial you get them into one of our nearest clinics.