Antifreeze Poisoning

Antifreeze Poisoning

There are several household items that are toxic to our dogs or cats, one of the most problematic being antifreeze. Antifreeze has a smell and taste that our dogs are attracted to. Antifreeze poisoning can happen quite easily due to the fact that it is commonly spilled on the garage floor or dumped into the street when changed. The chemical in antifreeze is called Ethylene Glycol. It causes extensive kidney damage almost immediately after consumption. When antifreeze is consumed the body starts absorbing the toxin from the GI tract. Once the Ethylene Glycol is metabolized through the liver and kidneys, Calcium Oxalate crystals start to form and there is an increase in the urine pH. The lethal dose of antifreeze is about 3 ounces for a medium to small size dog.

Signs and Symptoms of Antifreeze Poisoning

Within the first 12 hours:

  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Increase water consumption
  • Stumbling or wobbling
  • Hyper-excitability
  • Not eating
  • Seizure activity

Within 24 hours:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Panting

Within 72 hours:

  • Marked Depression
  • Stumbling or generally uncoordinated walking
  • Severe vomiting and diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Various forms of paralysis
  • Decrease motor function

Diagnosis and Treatment of Antifreeze Poisoning

There are a few tests that can be done to diagnosis Antifreeze Poisoning. Mostly likely a blood test and urinalysis will be done. The urinalysis will show the pH level. Also when looking at the urine under the microscopic, the doctors will be looking for oxalate crystals. The blood test will evaluate the function of the kidney and liver levels.

Depending on how much time has passed, the treatment for your animal will include to induce vomiting, intravenous fluids, and activated charcoal. These treatments will help to slow down the absorption process, control dehydration, and stop any further metabolizing of the Ethylene Glycol.

Prevention of Antifreeze in Dogs

  • Keep any Antifreeze in your home hidden away, where no animals can get to it.
  • Make sure your vehicle does not leak antifreeze.
  • Do not allow your dog to drink out of puddles.


If you suspect your dog or cat drank antifreeze, please contact us at 505-869-2627and we will be glad to discuss your pet’s symptoms with you and make an appointment for your pet.