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Anti-Freeze Poisoning

Every year thousands of pets are accidentally poisoned with antifreeze (ethylene glycol). It only takes a very small amount to become toxic for the animal and even fatal.

Antifreeze is very sweet to taste which is why animals are attracted to it.

One to two teaspoons will poison a cat.
Three tablespoons is enough to kill a medium size dog.


Where can antifreeze (ethylene glycol) be found?

  • Brake fluid
  • Liquid rust inhibitors
  • Hydraulic fluids
  • Decorative “snow scene” glass globes

Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning

Symptoms can vary depending on when and how much poison was ingested. 30 minutes from ingestion your pet may appear drunk and unable to walk properly although this phase often goes unnoticed. This symptom will subside as it is absorbed into the blood stream and kidneys which can fool you into thinking that the problem is over; sadly it’s not.

The symptoms will re-appear a day or two later but with more severity and may also include:

  • Depression
  • General weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures


If you notice any of the above symptoms or have seen your pet ingest antifreeze then immediate veterinary treatment must be sought.

The treatment for antifreeze poisoning will vary by the amount of antifreeze ingested and the time lapsed from ingestion. The aim of treatment is to decrease the absorption of ethylene glycol from the stomach and intestine and to increase it’s excretion through the kidneys.
Unfortunately the prognosis is extremely guarded.