Ethylene glycol poisoning
Ethylene glycol is found in antifreeze but also in engine coolants, de-icer solutions, motor oil, brake fluid, paints, solvents and lots of industrial products. Just one tablespoon can render your dog very ill and it only takes a few licks for your cat to be in mortal danger. This poisoning is not to be taken lightly as it causes kidney failure in our pets.
Cats and dogs like the sweet taste of EG so it is important to keep containers tightly closed and any drips down the side of the container wiped away. Clear up spills immediately and ensure your car isn’t leaking any EG containing liquids on to the driveway as cats and dogs will lick EG off the tarmac if it is there!
Within a short period of swallowing EG your pet may begin to stagger, vomit and have an excessive thirst. From 12 hours these signs may subside but your pet will be developing severe kidney damage. This will develop into acute kidney failure; there will be a loss of appetite, the pet will be weak with a rapid heart rate followed by seizures.
TREATMENT AND PROGNOSIS IS DEPENDANT ON THE SPEED OF VETERINARY CARE: THE QUICKER TREATMENT STARTS THE GREATER THE CHANCE OF SURVIVAL.
So what happens when EG is consumed? The liver processes EG and transforms it into a more toxic substance that accumulates in the kidneys as crystals. These crystals do not dissolve and cannot be removed from the kidneys causing permanent damage. This triggers kidney failure and death within a few painful days.
Treatment focuses on preventing kidney damage; activated charcoal will prevent further absorption of the toxin from the stomach and intestine. Ethanol or specific antidotes that halt the metabolism of EG into the damaging metabolites are administered intravenously. Kidney and urine output are closely monitored over 2-3 days.