As a dog owner, you have probably never thought about ethylene glycol, and how it can impact your dog’s health. But ethylene glycol toxicity, or antifreeze poisoning, can be very dangerous for dogs. Though this substance is mainly found in antifreeze, it can also be found in brake fluid, windshield de-icers, motor oils, paints, inks, wood stains, printer cartridges, and other items. So, if you have a car, a printer, or you are doing some interior decoration, be careful about what your dog sticks their nose into. As little as half a teaspoon of ethylene glycol per pound of body mass is enough to be fatal for a dog.
There are three stages to ethylene glycol toxicity. In the first stage, your dog will develop symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, excessive thirst, hypothermia, muscle twitches, decreased reflexes, and even seizures. In the second stage, you might think you see improvements, but the situation is just getting worse. Your dog will be dehydrated, breathe rapidly, and be tachycardic. The last stage will come with kidney dysfunction, drooling, decreased urination, continued seizures, coma, and even death. If the poisoning is not treated, there will be permanent organ damage, and an increased risk of death.
If you manage to treat the dog within five hours of ingestion, they won’t need to be hospitalized. Intravenous fluids can promote urination, thus promoting the elimination of the substance from the body. You can also give them bicarbonate to reduce metabolic acidosis. If more time has passed, the toxin will start harming the kidneys. In that case, the treatment needs to be catered to the symptoms your dog exhibits. The treatment will aim to reduce fluid imbalances and reduce acidosis. Dialysis might be necessary.
If you notice any symptoms, your best bet is to take the dog to a vet as quickly as possible.