Our neighbor's cat just died in a really bizarre accident. The veterinarian said she was poisoned by antifreeze which is very tasty for dogs and cats. The neighbor had winterized his car that morning and some antifreeze must have spilled in his driveway. I've never heard of such a thing and bet your readers don't know that antifreeze is dangerous.
Unfortunately, antifreeze poisoning is not uncommon. This is why, each fall, I try to warn about the unsuspected danger this common substance has for dogs and cats -- and all animals. Just one teaspoon can kill an eight-pound cat. As little as one and one-half ounces can kill a 20-pound dog. Even a less-than-fatal dose can cause serious damage. The sweet taste of antifreeze is its fatal attraction. Someone spills a little antifreeze when he is winterizing his car. A pet steps in it, then licks its paws or takes a lick from the spill. It likes the taste and proceeds to lap up all it can find. The antifreeze works very quickly. Within 30-60 minutes the animal is depressed, has a look of apprehension and becomes ataxic (stumbling). It vomits, soon becomes paralyzed, and within 6-12 hours goes into a coma. At the first sign of distress -- or if there is the slightest suspicion that poison was ingested -- you should rush the animal to the veterinarian's office or animal emergency hospital. The deadly ingredient in antifreeze is Ethylene glycol which metabolizes after ingestion to produce toxins which work on the central nervous system and kidneys. The quicker the animal is treated, the more likely it is to recover. Clearly, prevention is the best medicine. Keep animals out of the area when using antifreeze and make sure any spills are washed away and that empty or open containers are put in secure trash cans.