Beware This Tasty Pet Poison
Hopefully by now it is common knowledge that antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol) is a toxic poison for both humans and our pets. Unfortunately for pet owners, dogs and cats are far more susceptible to become poisoned by this toxic chemical because of the taste and the careless use of the substance.
Because September is the time of the year when many people add antifreeze to their automobiles to get ready for winter, the exposure to this poison is more eminent. It could also result from a leak in the coolant system, an overfilling of the coolant, or even the residue left in the plastic jug. Dogs and cats will be attracted to this tasty chemical and even floor residue could be enough to be fatal.
Every year more than 10,000 dogs and cats are accidentally poisoned with automobile antifreeze. This poison is toxic to all creatures including people. Less than 3 ounces of antifreeze is sufficient to poison a medium size dog and once the chemical is ingested, it is like a time bomb waiting to go off.
The poison attacks the brain, liver, and mostly the kidneys. The diagnosis of antifreeze poisoning is not difficult especially if the guardian has seen or suspects their pet has consumed the antifreeze. The classic symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include a staggering, drunken appearance, excessive drinking and urinating, depression, and wobbly gait.
The biggest hurdle in treating this condition is the essence of time.
A dog or cat can only be cured if the poisoning is detected before the extensive damage has occurred. The longer this poison remains in the body without treatment, the more damage that is caused to the kidneys.
After about 6 hours, the symptoms will begin to disappear and it will seem like the problem is over…but it is not over. That’s just how long it takes for the chemical to do its damage to the kidneys. Once the ethylene glycol is converted to formic acid and oxalate, the damage is done and at this stage it is rarely reversible.
The immediate first aid treatment is to induce vomiting.
This can easily be done with a hydrogen peroxide solution of one teaspoonful per five pounds of your pet’s body weight. The hydrogen peroxide treatment can be given three times spaced at 10 minute intervals. Just make sure to only use this first aid treatment if you know that the antifreeze was consumed within a span of two hours.
If your pet has not vomited after the third dose, stop the treatment and seek veterinarian assistance immediately. Time then becomes the critical factor in saving the life of the animal. Whether the dog vomits or not, it is best to seek the advice of your veterinarian.
In most cases, dogs and cats that have consumed antifreeze in very small quantities may survive but will develop kidney failure within days of ingestion. The best suggestion we can give is to be totally aware of the danger of this chemical and take the necessary precautions to keep the pets clear of this extremely dangerous element.
Robert Mueller, BSc, Pharm. is a registered pharmacist and has been formulating raw diets for more than thirty years. Recognized as one of the early pioneers in promoting raw foods to pets, Rob's history of developing and promoting raw meat diets has exposed him to dogs, cats, and zoo carnivores worldwide. He is also the author of the book Living Enzymes: The World's Best Kept Pet Food Secret. Rob and his wife love to travel with their dog, Ubi - a sheltie/beagle mix.
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