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Antifreeze Poisoning Alert

The headlines are scary. Just before Christmas, a dog in Vaughn died after eating kibble that had been laced with ethylene glycol, most likely from antifreeze. Apparently, the kibble had been left near a community mailbox in a public area. After the dog became violently ill and unfortunately passed away, the kibble was tested and found to be tainted with glycol.

In another incident in late November, a dog owner noticed his pet chewing on a suspicious green-coloured treat. He found several more in the area and noted that they had a strong chemical smell. Luckily, that dog survived after quick treatment.

We can’t speculate on what makes people do such terrible things. However, we can be prepared. Antifreeze is very common and someone carrying a bottle of it would not attract attention – no doubt part of the reason why it seems to crop up again and again in these cases. Naturally, cats who are let outdoors are also subject to possible poisoning.

• It may be difficult, but the best treatment is prevention: try to make sure your dog does not eat anything from the ground and keep your cat indoors.

Antifreeze is very dangerous and can certainly be fatal if ingested by dogs or cats. Specifically, the toxic agent is ethylene glycol or EG, which is also present in radiator fluid, motor oils, some types of brake fluid, paints, solvents and more. Even a very small amount is a hazard – just one teaspoon can be fatal to your cat.

The signs of EG poisoning come in three stages:

• Stage 1 (within 12 hours): drunk-like behaviour, drooling, vomiting, excessive thirst or urination, vomiting
• Stage 2 (12-24 hours): symptoms seem to go away – but all the while, internal injuries are progressing.
• Stage 3 (12-14 hours for cats/36-72 hours for dogs): acute kidney failure, lethargy, vomiting, halitosis, seizures, coma.

• What to do: Get help immediately! Cats must be treated within 3 hours of exposure while dogs must receive treatment within 8-12 hours of ingestion.

For help with any pet poisoning issue, consult the Help Line:

To your pets best health!

Dr. Gary Arzem, Newmarket’s Veterinarian

About Dr. Arzem and The North Yonge Veterinary Hospital:
Dr. Gary Arzem received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from The Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Ontario in 1989. He is the founder and head veterinarian at The North Yonge Veterinary Hospital in Newmarket, Ontario. Having practiced veterinary medicine for more than 25 years, his skills and special interests include surgery, dentistry, diagnostic imaging (ultrasound and radiography), dermatology, internal medicine, cardiology, ophthalmology and public health as it relates to pets and their owners. He is a founding member of The Veterinary Emergency Clinic of York Region in Newmarket. Dr. Arzem is recognized as an educational leader in the community and is involved with The Ontario Veterinary College, York Region District School Board, Simcoe County Board of Education, and Seneca College’s Co-Operative Education Programs. Dr. Arzem also participates in several continuing education conferences, including The North American and Western Veterinary Conferences and he is actively involved in fundraising for a number of charitable organizations, such as The Pet Trust Fund, The Farley Foundation, The Hospital for Sick Children and the Canadian Cancer Society. He has also appeared on City T.V.’s Animal House Calls and Rogers Your Pet Your Vet television shows and has written several articles for Newmarket’s Snapd Newspapers.

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