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Antifreeze a Sweet But Lethal Drink for Pets
Date:10/29/2010

r: Internal damage is worsening as abnormal crystals form in the kidney, ultimately causing the organ to shut down.

"Once an animal has already gone into kidney failure, there is almost nothing you can do," Lee explained.

If caught in time, she said, the prognosis for recovery is excellent. A blood test confirms if an animal has antifreeze poisoning and whether treatment is needed. Owners should expect a 72-hour hospital stay for poisoned pets, along with a high veterinary bill. Treatment for a medium-sized dog, for example, runs between $2,000 and $2,500.

A better alternative is to protect your pet from accidental exposure in the first place by immediately washing antifreeze spills off driveways and keeping automotive products high on shelves out of reach.

More than a dozen states -- including Arizona, California and New Jersey -- now require manufacturers to add a bittering agent to antifreeze to deter children and pets from drinking it.

However, the ASPCA says there's no published data demonstrating that adding a bittering agent to antifreeze effectively works in repelling dogs, and such products may give pet owners a false sense of security.

A safer alternative is antifreeze containing propylene glycol, which veterinary toxicologists say is still poisonous to pets if large enough quantities are ingested, but it is less likely to kill them.

More information

There's more on poisoning threats to your pets at the ASPCA.

SOURCES: Justine Lee, D.V.M., D.A.C.V.E.C.C., veterinarian, associate director, Pet Poison Helpline; Camille DeClementi, V.M.D., D.A.B.T., D.A.B.V.T., board-certified veterinary toxicologist, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)


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