Did you know that antifreeze is poisonous to cats, dogs and other animals. Not only that but they think it tastes pretty good too, so it is a big danger to our pets.
Ethylene glycol toxicosis is a type of poisoning that occurs after ingestion of antifreeze or other fluids containing the ingredient ethylene glycol. Antifreeze is the most common source of ethylene glycol.
Animal poisoning by antifreeze is worryingly common as antifreeze is often accessible to pets and animals and it tastes sweet.
Ethylene glycol poisoning can be fatal if not treated within a few hours of ingestion and even then it will likely prove fatal to your pet.
Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning
Antifreeze poisoning is not easy to spot until it is too late. Initially, if anything, the pet may seem quiet or a little unsteady (tipsy). Once this passes the danger really begins as irreversible kidney damage has probably already occurred, often much later after the actual ingestion of the antifreeze. Pets do not often survive Ethylene glycol poisoning. The initial symptoms are simply too subtle until it is too late and kidney failure has already occurred. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze you must go to the vet immediately.
What can be done?
As ethylene glycol is a cheap and effective antifreeze, banning it may be a step too far for some. Another solution is to request that all ethylene glycol based antifreeze is made bitter and therefore less likely to be ingested by pets.
In the mean time you can check the ingredients of your antifreeze and avoid ethylene glycol based antifreeze or look for one that it non-toxic. You can buy an alternative such as propylene glycol based antifreeze, which is less toxic and less attractive to pets too.
You are responsible for keeping your dog safe so make sure they don't accidentally ingest antifreeze. Keep them away from any puddles on roads, driveways and anywhere else antifreeze may have been used such as toilet bowls, outside ornamental water fountains and so on.
Please also use antifreeze responsibly. Store it in secure containers, safely dispose of used antifreeze containers, mop up any spills quickly and thoroughly, check your car radiator regularly for leaks and don't use or dispose of antifreeze anywhere that animals or pets can lick it.
Recent antifreeze poisonings
Actor Daniel Radcliffe revealed how he almost poisoned himself from accidentally drinking antifreeze on a movie set. He was unaware that the toxic substance had been added to the water to ensure it wouldn't freeze. Luckily he suffered no lasting damage.
In November 2014 it was reported that MPs were to debate the control of antifreeze products following the suspected poisoning of up to 22 cats in the village of Calverton, Nottinghamshire. The deaths appeared to be linked and could have been malicious.
Blue Death Org UK have started a petition and antifreeze awareness campaign. The aim is to promote awareness about antifreeze poisoning and have it banned unless it contains something bitter that will make it less appetising to animals.
You can help by writing to your MP, visiting the Blue Death Org UK website to learn more, print off posters and leaflets, and sign the petition. Please also help spread the word via social media #antifreezekills