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Winter: Beware Antifreeze Poisoning

An easily preventable problem seen in pets this time of year is antifreeze poisoning. Careless disposal or draining of automobile radiators – often times by individuals unaware of the toxic possibilities to pets – is the leading cause.

The symptoms can be reversed depending on the amount ingested and the time interval after ingestion. Puddles of this greenish/yellow liquid are too frequently found in street gutters, garages and driveways. Its sweet taste attracts pets and can be lethal in even the smallest quantities - a small amount of antifreeze solution can cause death; cats only need to lick a few drops. Restlessness, depression and unsteadiness appear within 60 minutes of ingestion and may be followed by coma and death within 12 to 36 hours. Prognosis is typically poor and the best treatment is prevention. This tragedy can easily be prevented by using extreme caution when handling antifreeze and taking the proper precautions when disposing of it. If you suspect your pet has ingested antifreeze, immediately bring him to your nearest veterinary emergency clinic.


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