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Posted on 10-24-2017
Pet Safety Alert-Antifreeze
It’s fall, y’all! The approach of cold weather means many of us will be refreshing or flushing the coolant systems in our automobiles. Please keep in mind that antifreeze is very toxic to pets and it is important to clean any spills that might occur. Keep containers of antifreeze tightly closed and out of reach of pets, or children, for that matter. Antifreeze is toxic to humans, as well, but we are less likely to intentionally drink it. Antifreeze poisoning is the most common type of poisoning in pets, according to petmd.com.
Ethylene glycol, the active ingredient in automotive antifreeze, does its damage in an indirect way. When ethylene glycol is metabolized by the liver, a compound is formed from calcium in the pet’s blood. This compound creates crystals which block or destroy important parts of the pet’s kidneys. Although it takes a very small amount to be lethal (three ounces is enough to poison a medium-size dog, less for cats) pets may survive the initial poisoning only to develop kidney failure later.
Pets can consume antifreeze without owners being aware they have done so, and the early symptoms can be vague, which means the pet may not get treatment as early as necessary. Antifreeze poisoning also affects the brain and during the first stage of symptoms -the pet may appear drunk. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, frequent urination, weakness, depression, and seizures. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, a call to a vet is imperative. A veterinarian can tell you what to do at home if you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, and will give the pet a thorough exam once it reaches the office. There is no home remedy for antifreeze poisoning, so a trip to the vet office is the only way to prevent further damage.
Remember, check under your automobiles for leaks, clean spills promptly if you do your own coolant flushing, and don’t let your pet drink from puddles in or near a roadway. Prevention is key in keeping pets safe from antifreeze poisoning.
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