Thousands of our dogs and cats are becoming either seriously ill and in many cases dying, because the freezing conditions require the councils to act by treating the roads etc. Once these conditions start, the gritters and salt spreaders are out in force, keeping our roads safe for us. People are also topping up on antifreeze in their engines cooling system and windscreen washers.
Unfortunately these actions can be devastating to our pets.
Dogs and cats are walking through substances left by gritters and car drivers defrosting their windscreens. This then irritates and they lick their paws, ingesting the poison. Consuming rock salt can cause pancreatitis, dehydration and liver failure. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, this tastes like lemonade to dogs and cats and can be fatal when ingested.
Symptoms of rock salt poisoning:
Burns to the mouth and throat, excessive salivating and drinking. Raw and sore paws. Dehydration, liver and kidney failure and pancreatitis.
Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning:
The symptoms of antifreeze toxicity typically develop in three separate stages.
Stage one Usually occurs within approximately 1 hour after the pets has ingested the antifreeze and can continue for up to 10 hours. The symptoms typically resemble signs of alcohol intoxication and include one or more of the following:
- Lack of coordination
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Gastrointestinal irritation and discomfort
- Low body temperature
Stage Two Occurs between 12- 24 hours after ingestion. During this stage, the neurological signs of toxicity may come and go and the animal may return to “back to normal”. However, unknown to the owner the dog may develop
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Progressive weakness
Without treatment, the animal will enter Stage Three, which is between 24-72 hours after ingestion. The consequences of this stage are due almost to the disastrous effects of the toxic metabolites of ethylene glycol on the dog’s kidneys. By the time it reaches stage three, the animal will be in acute and probably irreversible kidney failure. the signs of this terminal stage typically include:
- Painful kidneys
- Swollen kidneys
- Decreased production of urine
- Absence of production of urine
- Lack of appetite
- Oral ulceration and pain
- Excessive salivation
- Low body temperature
- Low blood pressure
- Abnormal eye movements
ANTIFREEZE IS THOUGHT TO HAVE A MILDLY SWEET FLAVOUR THAT IS INTERESTING TO DOGS AND CATS. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT A VET IMMEDIATELY IF THEY SUSPECT THEIR PET MAY HAVE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH THESE SUBSTANCES OR IF THEY SEE THE WARNING SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS.
THE SOONER YOUR PET RECEIVES VETERINARY TREATMENT, THE BETTER THEIR CHANCES OF SURVIVAL
Keep pets safe
Always clean up spills or leaks
Always clean up spills immediately
Always store and dispose of antifreeze safely and responsibly