Veterinarians warn of antifreeze poisoning

Posted: Sunday, March 30, 2008

FAIRBANKS - A spike in dog deaths has North Pole veterinarians warning residents to keep pets away from antifreeze.

At least five dogs have died from antifreeze poisoning in the last month, said Denali Lovely, a veterinarian at North Pole Veterinary Hospital.

The toxic ingredient in antifreeze is ethylene glycol, an odorless chemical that causes kidney failure. Antidotes are available but expensive and they are not an option if too much time elapses after ingestion.

Even small amounts of ethylene glycol are lethal. A 20-pound dog can die from one teaspoon.

Damage to the kidneys begins almost immediately and the first 12 hours are crucial if a pet is exposed, said veterinarian Margaret Eastman.

If a pet appears drunk, it should be tested immediately, she said.

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