Antifreeze. The Consumer Specialty Products Association along with the Humane Society Legislative Fund made a joint announcement on December 13, 2012 that anti-freeze and other engine and radiator coolants manufactured in all 50 states will now contain a bitter flavoring agent. Previous to this announcement, antifreeze smelled and tasted sweet which made it attractive to pets and children. Unfortunately antifreeze is also deadly. Less than one tablespoon is lethal for a ten pound dog. A single teaspoon can be fatal to a cat. The active ingredient in antifreeze is ethylene glycol which if ingested by a dog or cat leads to simultaneous liver and kidney failure which after just a few hours is irreversible and consequently fatal. The treatment for antifreeze ingestion when applicable is intravenous Vodka.
Sierra is a brand name of for a type of anti-freeze that contains propylene glycol as the active ingredient instead of ethylene glycol. This type of anti-freeze works just as well in your car but is slightly less toxic than ethylene glycol if ingested by a pet. Unfortunately Sierra smells and tasted good to pets so it remains a potential health risk.
According to the Humane Society Legislative Fund nearly 90,000 animals are poisoned each year by ingesting this sweet smelling substance.
Remember to keep your pets out of the area you are in when you change and/or drain antifreeze from your car.
Be sure to check your cat or truck regularly for leeks as they also contain antifreeze. Store anti-freeze in tightly closed containers and keep it in secured cabinets.
If you think your pet may have consumed antifreeze, remember, this is a true life or death emergency.
Drive to your vet or the closest emergency facility ASAP and call ahead while you are on your way
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry confirms that Ethylene glycol is rapidly absorbed following ingestion and affects the entire body beginning with the central nervous system, followed by the heart and lungs and finally failure of the kidneys and liver which leads to death.