PetMeds® Antifreeze Poisioning in Dogs and Cats

As the winter season is upon us and people prepare their cars and homes for winter, one of the biggest health risks for dogs and cats is exposure to antifreeze.  Many pets seem attracted to ingesting this toxin, which can lead to a medical emergency in affected pets. In addition to digestive upset (i.e vomiting and diarrhea), ingestion of a small amount of antifreeze can lead to acute and sudden kidney failure in affected pets, which is often very difficult to treat if it is not caught early. Protect your pet against antifreeze poisoning by making sure pets are not exposed to garage areas for prolonged periods of time

Many pets will present nonspecific symptoms of loss of appetite, increased thirst/urination, and/or vomiting and weakness. Diagnosis can be made by a blood test to detect this toxin at a local emergency clinic, or if there is history of known or potential exposure, in addition to noting the signs of acute kidney failure on blood chemistries. Treatment consists of aggressive IV fluid therapy, as well as a specific antidote to bind to the toxic ingredient.

Even with early detection and treatment many pets often die of complications related to kidney failure. Therefore, it is important to limit potential exposure of this chemical in garages, and to make sure that cars are not leaking antifreeze.

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2 Comments

  1. I lost one of my favorite dogs this way. Our neighbor decided to change his anti-freeze in front of his house and my dog drank some of it. Our vet figured it out. Dont know why dogs are drawn to this stuff. Maybe the makers could add some kind of “bad flavor” to it, much the same way the gas company adds an unpleasant odor to natural gas.

  2. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianDecember 20, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Hope the blog was helpful.

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