Winter reminder: Keep antifreeze away from pets
SUMMIT COUNTY – Skyler, a local 4-year-old, flat-coated retriever can thank his lucky stars that his owner is a serious animal lover. Otherwise, he probably wouldn’t be around today.When Skyler was a puppy, he chewed the top off a bottle of antifreeze and ingested the toxic automobile fluid. His owner, Nancy Ring, director of the Summit County Animal Shelter, discovered the situation and immediately called her vet.”I induced vomiting, and we assessed the vomit to see how much he likely ingested,” Ring said. “It was such a small amount, we opted not to go through the long, arduous process of hospitalization and IV fluids.”Luckily for Skyler, Ring’s supply of antifreeze contained propylene glycol, less toxic to pets – but just as effective in autos – than the more common ethylene glycol coolants.Skyler swallowed about a quarter cup of the opaque, sweet-smelling liquid, but is alive and well four years later.”He did great, because it was the safer antifreeze. They have to ingest so much more of the propylene glycol for it to be harmful. That was the saving grace. Had it been (ethylene glycol), we probably would have lost him – it only takes a teaspoon.”Ring did stress that propylene glycol is still toxic, and should also be kept out of pets’ reach.Steve Marsh of High Country Auto Repair said auto workers are able to flush out coolant systems that contain ethylene glycol and replace them with the more pet-friendly formula. The process doesn’t cost auto owners more than they would normally pay for a procedure that should be part of their regular maintenance schedule anyway.”Ethylene glycol should be flushed every 30,000 miles or every two years. Generally, if you have ethylene glycol or propylene glycol coolant, it’s one of the more neglected things in people’s cars to begin with,” Marsh said.A leak from the coolant system can leave a toxic green or orange puddle that can lure dogs and cats with its sweet smell and taste. Anyone who discovers a leak should cover the spill in cat litter, wipe it up with rags and throw it away in a sealed bag in order to prevent a potential poisoning.An animal who has ingested antifreeze may appear inebriated within 12 hours and then briefly recover. Within 36 hours, the animal will begin to vomit and, if left untreated, will likely die from kidney failure.Cats are more susceptible than dogs, because they are more likely to lick paws that come into contact with antifreeze, and their smaller size means smaller doses can be fatal. The sooner a pet receives medical attention in the event of a poisoning, the more likely its recovery.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at email@example.com.
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