Antifreeze Poisoning

By | 12th January 2017

(Apologies for the translation – I wrote the original article in Dutch and translated it using Google Translate)

Around use this time of the year, many products that contain autbezitters antifreeze. Not only in the coolant or liquids defrost your windshield, sometimes the brake fluid or engine oil. Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, a substance that is highly toxic to cats (and dogs). Unfortunately, many cats find antifreeze taste good, this is poisoning relatively common. Also, cats ingest antifreeze by licking their paws when they are passed through. Antifreeze is quickly absorbed through the mucous membrane of the mouth. Very small quantities are already toxic, in the cat, this is about 1.5 ml per kg (for comparison, 1 teaspoon = 5 ml).

The toxicity is dependent on the amount which has been ingested by the cat, but with anti-freeze poisoning is one of the most lethal poisoning which there exist.

What happens after ingesting?

Ethylene glycol is rapidly absorbed in the body (within 2 to 3 hours). The substance itself is not that toxic, but it is rapidly converted in the liver to other highly toxic products such as oxalate. These toxic products affect several organs, but especially in the kidneys. The kidneys stop working and can no longer perform their function (among others waste treatment, monitoring acid and salt balance in the body).

What symptoms can get my cat?

There are 3 stages that occur after each other. It is important to realize that not all the symptoms in each animal, as clearly occur.

Stage 1: occurs within 30 minutes after the poisoning and can last for 12 hours. The symptoms fit with alcohol poisoning, the cat seems drunk. Cats may have nausea, vomiting, lethargy and show drunken gait.
Stage 2: create approximately 12-24 hours after ingestion of ethylene glycol. At present there is severe kidney failure is emerging. Complaints that this suit are not eating, vomiting, diarrhea and more drinking and urination.
Stage 3: This final stage occurs after about 24 hours. The kidneys stop work completely. Cats in this stage are very slow (often almost comatose), do not eat, vomiting and sometimes stink out of their mouths. Often they no longer urinate, because the kidneys no longer make urine. The outlook for a cat at this stage are very bad.
How the diagnosis can be made?

The diagnosis is usually made by a combination of different findings:

Appropriate for history, so a cat walking out freely.
Physical phenomena described
Certain abnormalities in the urine, the urine is too watery and often contains calcium oxalate crystals.
Certain blood disorders: high kidney values, sometimes with a too high phosphorus and high potassium levels. Some cats develop a low calcium levels or too high sugar content. Furthermore, there is often a question of acidity in the body (low pH).
An ultrasound scan of the abdomen shows sometimes very specific abnormalities seen in the kidneys.
Sometimes with a Wood’s lamp may be sensible (UV light) the fur, urine and, if necessary. vomit Cat view. On some products with antifreeze is in fact added a specific dye that lights up under a UV lamp.
Is there any treatment available?

Early and aggressive intervention is terribly important to poisoning with antifreeze. If you have seen that you have licked up antifreeze cat, immediately contact a veterinarian. In very acute cases (intake <1 hour ago) may be attempted to prevent absorption of ethylene glycol by the body to induce vomiting by your cat and administer Norit. Unfortunately, most of the cats only be offered in a later stage.

Treatment with medication within three hours after taking the best results. Treatment with ethanol is one of the most well-known procedures. However, this treatment is not without risk, and can have considerable side-effects. Treatment with the drug fomepizole may have fewer side effects, but this drug is not available everywhere. In addition, the cat is put on a drip and given supportive medications such as drugs for nausea. This kind of cats are real intensive care patients, with the associated costs.
The outlook is moderate and very dependent on the amount of antifreeze that has been recorded and the time it is taken.

Therefore, the incidence of poisoning with ethylene glycol is very important. Keep products with antivriesin a sealed container in a safe place. Spacious antifreeze spills immediately and thoroughly, even if only a little.

Marieke Knies

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