With winter already here, we are getting our cars ready for the cold season. One thing many people are not aware of is that while antifreeze is our car’s best friend during the winter, it is a DEADLY enemy of our pets.

At Chestermere Veterinary Clinic we focus on preventing accidents, so we want to make you aware of the dangers of antifreeze ingestion for your pets. Because of the sweet taste, many dogs and cats do not think twice when they come across this dangerous liquid. If a cat walks through a puddle of antifreeze and licks her paws, it is enough to kill her. A small sized dog can be killed by ingesting just 2-3 tablespoons of antifreeze. Death can result in a very short period of time.

Signs of antifreeze poisoning vary depending on the time of ingestion: your pet can appear drunk or be very lethargic or may have seizures. Some pets will vomit, others may start drinking large amounts of water and start urinating more. They might seem better after a day but then get worse very quickly because the kidneys begin shutting down. Call us immediately at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic (403) 272-3573 if you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze.

Blood and urine tests can confirm the diagnosis of antifreeze ingestion. In some cases though, these tests will become negative as the kidneys begin to fail. If kidneys fail, the pet will usually die.

Treatment is possible if the pet is brought to the veterinarian within a few hours after ingestion. At Chestermere Veterinary Clinic we intervene promptly if the pet is presented soon after antifreeze ingestion: we induce vomiting, then administer activated charcoal to bind the antifreeze in the intestine. Then we administer a drug that will make the antifreeze be eliminated in the urine instead of transformed into toxic products in the liver.

If the pet presents to the clinic with kidney damage, then the prognosis is usually not good. Aggressive treatment is needed in a 24 hour facility and the outcome depends on how much kidney function is affected.

So let’s try and keep our pets safe by:
-cleaning very well any antifreeze spills on the driveway or in the garage
-keeping antifreeze in a leak proof container
-disposing of used antifreeze properly (take it to a special disposal station)
-not allowing pets to chew on antifreeze containers, even if they are empty

If you have any questions please contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic (403) 272-3573 or visit us at http://www.chestermerevet.com.

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