Symptoms of Antifreeze Poisoning
It only takes a couple of drops for a dog to suffer from
antifreeze poisoning. To avoid it being fatal, you should know
the symptoms to look for so your dog can receive immediate treatment.
What Antifreeze Does
Antifreeze has a sweet taste that is appealing to dogs and cats, and any little amount left lying around or spilled on the ground can be enough to harm or fatally injure a dog. Three tablespoons is enough to kill a medium size dog. This amount is even less for cats.
Antifreeze, once entered into your dog’s system, turns into a crystalline acid and attacks the liver and kidneys. The liver absorbs and breaks down the antifreeze quickly and so symptoms usually recede, however this does not mean your dog is in the clear. Antifreeze continues damaging beyond that unless treatment is administered.
Symptoms within the First 12 Hours
The first 12 hours are the most crucial for the dog.
The effects of antifreeze are irreversible, so it is
important that treatment is administered immediately to
avoid the effects in the first place.
Symptoms will appear about 30 minutes after ingestion.These symptoms include:
Excessive thirst – Excessive urination – Crystals in urine – Diarrhea – Paralysis – Depression – Rapid breathing - Rapid heart rate – convulsions – Weakness – Lack of coordination – Nausea/vomiting.
The excessive thirst is a result to stimulation of the thirst areas of the brain. Vomiting occurs due to the irritating effects of the antifreeze on the stomach.
Symptoms over the Next Few Days
After approximately 12 hours, the liver breaks down the
ingredient causing these effects. However, further symptoms
may not crop back up for a few days, and by then irreparable damage will have already occurred.
These symptoms include:
Dehydration – Inability to urinate – Salivation/drooling – Ulcers
in the mouth – Seizures – Loss of appetite – Vomiting – Coma.
If you take your dog into the vet at this point, the only form of treatment will be euthanasia as the kidneys are shutting down or have ceased functioning all together.
Reading the Symptoms
Some dogs display fewer symptoms than other, especially early
on. Owners have reported noticing that something is “off” with their dog, such as a slightly drunken appearance where they wobbled and seemed a little out of it. When the dog improves
12 hours later, it is assumed they are feeling better. So when
the dog gets drastically worse a few days later, it comes as a surprise and this is the stage many owners bring their dogs to
the vet. By this time, it is too late.
Treatment for Antifreeze Poisoning
Treatment is possible so long as it is administered within the first 12 (at the most) hours of ingestion. A vet will treat your dog by inducing vomiting with apomorphene or hydrogen peroxide to prevent the pet from digesting any more of the antifreeze left in their stomach. Once this is done, activated charcoal is used to bind with the remaining poison in the stomach. During this time, your dog is given large amounts of IV fluids to get urine production going, as another means of getting more of the antifreeze out of the system faster.