Bellevue Veterinary Hospital, Parksville

(250) 248-2031

Antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol) Poisoning


This week, we are issuing a warning to pet owners about the potential for antifreeze poisoning in the downtown Parksville area.

Bellevue Veterinary Hosptial has dealt with two cases of antifreeze poisoning within one week — both of which came from the same general area in Parksville. These pets resided in the area of Pym Street, Soriel Road & Highway 19A.

We don’t immediately believe the animals were poisoned deliberately, but we want pet owners to be aware of the risk. Antifreeze is tasty and pets (especially dogs) are quite happy to drink it.

For the most part, people are probably very careful about handling this very toxic material. But there could be vehicles that are leaking or it’s possible that someone has inadvertently discarded the liquid in an unsafe manner.

The active (and toxic) ingredient in antifreeze is ethylene glycol. Ethylene glycol poisoning starts off looking much like alcohol intoxication. This begins around 1-2 hours after ingestion. Sometimes there is nausea and vomiting and there may be staggering and uncoordination (and sometimes other neurological signs). Over the next 12 to 24 hours, the toxic effect is felt by the kidneys. This toxin causes acute kidney failure. When the kidneys stop working the pet will stop eating, become nauseous, depressed and feel very sick.

Anyone who believes their pet may have ingested antifreeze should get to a veterinarian as soon as possible — in order to receive treatment. There is an antidote that can be given to prevent the kidney damage from happening, but it needs to be given in the first few hours. If we get to the point of kidney damage, the prognosis is poor.

Please make sure that your car is not leaking antifreeze and that if you are handling this fluid, you are disposing of it properly and doing so without any possible exposure to pets or children. Or better yet, consider a safer version of antifreeze for your vehicle. Ask about this product at your local hardware store.

Tags: Toxins,, Kidneys