Thursday, December 11, 2008

Simple Survival Tips - Winter Hazards for Pets - Antifreeze

Antifreeze, also known as ethylene glycol, can be a potential problem for your pets in the winter. Cats and dogs are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze. They will usually not hesitate to sample some if it is left out in a container or spilled on the garage floor, carport or driveway of your home.

Antifreeze is extremely toxic to dogs and cats. Antifreeze is rapidly absorbed into their system and it has a high mortality rate if not treated very quickly. The initial signs of antifreeze poisoning usually appear within one hour after being ingested.

There are also other sources of this deadly chemical. Heat exchange fluids (sometimes used in solar collectors for heating water), some brake and transmissions fluids and diethylene glycol which is used in color film processing are just a few.

Usually within 12 hours of ingestion, acute cases of antifreeze poisoning pets often exhibit symptoms resembling alcohol intoxication. The signs include stumbling, vomiting and depression. The kidneys are the most severely affected part of their bodies. Even if the animal seems to show signs of initial improvement after treatment, they may succumb shortly afterwards as a result of kidney failure. When the kidneys shut down, your dog or cat will be unable to produce urine.

This type of kidney failure usually happens within 12 to 24 hours after being ingested by cats and within 36 to 72 hours after being ingested by dogs. Successful treatment is entirely dependent upon a quick response by you when ingestion of antifreeze by your pet is suspected.

If you suspect that your animal has come into contact with antifreeze and may have ingested it, contact your veterinarian immediately.

A safe alternative to ethylene glycol antifreeze is available. It is called propylene glycol, and while it does cost more than “regular” antifreeze, it may be worth the extra piece of mind it will give you knowing that your pets will be safe.

Staying above the water line!


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