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Beware of Antifreeze
Every winter, hundreds of cats are treated for ethylene glycol toxicity. Although ethylene glycol is used primarily in antifreeze, it also can be found in cosmetics, paints and snow globe toys. Cats, other animals and children are attracted to ethylene glycol because of its sweet taste.
Antifreeze usually is found in sheds and garages, but sometimes can leak under cars, where cats often hide. Ethylene glycol causes acute kidney failure and death. It is highly toxic and only a small amount needs to be ingested to be fatal. Less than half a tablespoon can be lethal to a 10-pound cat. Cats typically develop symptoms of ethylene glycol toxicity within 30 minutes, and their kidneys can stop functioning within 6 hours of ingestion.
In order to decrease the number of poisonings, manufactures have developed safer antifreeze products containing propylene glycol or methanol–instead of ethylene glycol. To keep your cats, neighborhood cats and wildlife safe, do the following:
- Use antifreeze products that contain ingredients other than
- Store any products that contain ethylene glycol in safe, sealed
containers out of reach of pets and children.
- Some antifreeze/coolants, such as Prestone – Low Tox and Sierra, are made with propylene glycol, which is less toxic to pets and safer to use around them.
- Clean up any spills, and be sure your car is not leaking.
- Keep other ethylene glycol-containing products such as cosmetics,
snow globes and paint away from your pets.
- Know the symptoms of ethylene glycol poisoning: staggering, lethargy, increased thirst and urination, vomiting and dehydration.
If you think your cat has been exposed, time is of the essence. Take your cat to your veterinarian or the nearest emergency clinic for immediate treatment. Any delay in treatment can be fatal.