The active ingredient in antifreeze is ethylene glycol, which is a dangerous poison. Each year hundreds of animals, both domestic and wild, are attracted to its sweet taste. When large amounts are swallowed, convulsions and coma occur. Smaller doses can result in irreversible kidney damage. Symptoms can occur in only a few hours.
The only treatment for ethylene glycol poisoning is ethanol, usually administered as vodka. Only trained professionals should start treatment because the effects of alcohol poisoning can be as deadly as ethylene glycol poisoning. If you know an animal has consumed antifreeze, contact a professional immediately. The best way to avoid these circumstances is prevention.
What you can do to prevent antifreeze poisoning:
- Clean up any antifreeze spills that you see.
- Take care when changing your antifreeze to prevent spills and leaks.
- Periodically inspect your car for antifreeze leaks.
- Purchase environmentally friendly antifreeze that does not contain ethylene glycol. If your local store does not carry any of these brands, ask them to start.
- Make sure antifreeze is disposed of properly.