Antifreeze, brake fluid and vehicle cooling system ingredients… what do they have in common? A FATAL ingredient for your pet.

Have you ever heard of Ethylene Glycol? At Animal Emergency Service, we are far too familiar with the name and it literally makes our heart freeze at the thought.

What is ethylene glycol?

It is commonly found in antifreeze and de-icing solutions, brake fluid, vehicle cooling systems, photographic developing solutions and is even a component in ballpoint pens.  It is an odourless syrup that pets are drawn to due to the sweet taste.

What are the symptoms of ingestion?

It is rapidly absorbed across the gastrointestinal tract. There is necrosis and crystal formation inside the kidneys, resulting in acute renal failure. Clinical signs are almost immediate and include:

  • vomiting
  • wobbly legs
  • depression
  • increased drinking and urination progressing to absence of urination and anorexia

What to do if your pet has ingested ethylene glycol?

Time is of the essence for gaining emergency treatment. These animals require intensive medical stabilisation and care with a very guarded and serious prognosis. If you believe your pet may have ingested ethylene glycol, seek vet assistance immediately.

Please protect your pet this winter; awareness is better than a cure!