Nov 172012

Now that it is getting colder outside, we want to remind everyone that Ethylene Glycol, the main ingredient in antifreeze can be very dangerous and fatal to animals. As little as one teaspoon can be fatal to a cat and two ounces can kill a dog.

Because it has a sweet smell and taste, it is very attractive to your pet. Some states have even passed laws that requires a bittering agent be added to antifreeze, or Ethylene Glycol.

Antifreeze is highly toxic and quickly absorbed. It damages the kidneys almost immediately after it is absorbed and can cause kidney failure and death.

Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning within the first 12 hours include not eating, vomiting, depression, hyper-excitability, stumbling, wobbling, and possibly seizure activity. Within 24 hours after consumption, the animal exhibits rapid-breathing and panting. At 48-72 hours the symptoms become more severe as kidney failure occurs. This is when death can occur.

If immediate and intensive therapy does not take place the prognosis is grave.

The treatment involved in anti-freeze poisoning falls into two categories:

a) Preventing damage to the kidneys, and b) Supportive care

1) To prevent the kidney damage from anti-freeze, the animal is placed on large volumes of IV fluids.  Along with these fluids, IV medication (either fomeprazole or alcohol) is given to prevent the liver from breaking down the ethylene glycol  into the toxic metabolites that ultimately damage the animal’s kidneys.

2) Supportive care is centered around controlling nausea, vomiting and neurological signs through monitoring and injectable medication.


Treatment is only successful if it begins before any clinical signs of kidney involvement occurs.The most identifiable clinical signs owners will notices is a mental stupor and ataxia. Sometimes we say your animal appears drunk.


Preventing your pet from consuming anti-freeze is easy.

1) Keep any antifreeze in your home sealed and in a cabinet away from dogs.

2)  Make sure your vehicles do not leak antifreeze and that all spills are thoroughly


3) Do not allow your dog to drink out of puddles.

4) Do not let your animal roam, as they could be exposed to anti-freeze at

another home.