Beware of the dangers of antifreeze this winter

With the cold weather upon us and temperatures set to remain low for the next few days, we’re asking people to make sure they use antifreeze which contains denatonium rather than ethylene glycol, which can pose a danger to cats.

17 January 2013
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

Ethylene glycol, an ingredient in some types of antifreeze, tastes sweet to cats, but even small quantities of this product can make a cat very ill. The sooner your pet is seen by a vet, the better their chance is of making a recovery.

Cats can come into contact with antifreeze in many ways. They could lap up neat antifreeze from spills on a driveway or in a garage, or they could get leaks of water coolant from car radiators on their paws and then lick it off.

It is really important that extra care is taken when using antifreeze to prevent this from happening and that any leftover antifreeze and water coolant is properly disposed of. Your local council refuse site should have a section for hazardous fluids including engine oil and antifreeze.

You should take your cat to the vet immediately if they suffer with any of the following symptoms, which can happen within 30 minutes of ingestion:

  • Vomiting.
  • Appearing sleepy and disorientated.
  • Drinking more than usual.
  • Seizures.
  • Faster breathing rate.
  • Going to the toilet more frequently.

Mel Pressey from Battersea’s clinic team is only too familiar with the dangers posed by antifreeze after her cat Rosie was poisoned by it. Her cat was displaying many of the symptoms of antifreeze poisoning so she rushed her straight to her vet who confirmed her suspicions. Luckily, after two days of treatment for acute renal failure, Rosie made a full recovery.

Mel said: I would urge all cat owners to keep an eye out for the signs of antifreeze poisoning. When Rosie was poisoned it was a truly awful experience, and one I wouldn’t want other cats and owners to have to go through.”

We would hate to see this happen to any of our former or current residents, who are looking for homes. Find out more here.

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