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Cats and Anti-Freeze

02 June 2018
Do you know that anti-freeze, which is regularly used in your vehicle radiator, is one of the main reasons of feline accidental poisoning?

Around 95% of commercial anti-freeze available contains ethylene glycol and this is a toxin. In itself it isn’t poisonous, but as the body breaks it down and absorbs it this can lead to fatal kidney failure. You can buy a propylene glycol based anti-freeze, which although it is still toxic, has been found to be safer than ethylene glycol based anti-freeze. Make sure any anti-freeze spillages are cleaned up quickly and check for radiator leaks under your car.

Often the signs for anti-freeze poisoning can be mistaken for other non-fatal illnesses. If a vet is able to treat your cat quickly their treatment can be successful. If your cat goes out and you notice that he is ‘under the weather’, you should seek immediate veterinary advice. Unfortunately, by the time your cat starts to show obvious symptoms, it may be too late.

Initially cats may vomit, walk with a tipsy gait, start twitching or shaking, want to drink or urinate more than usual. This may be evident within the first half an hour. As the toxin is absorbed into the digestive system cats can stop displaying symptoms. Within 12 to 24 hours the cat may be lethargic with a tender abdomen (especially around the kidney area).

If you do see a cat licking at an anti-freeze spill, contact your vet immediately. The sooner your cat can be treated, the greater his chance at surviving.