Even small amount of antifreeze deadly to pets

Pete Keesling

Q: Our dog, Rex, has been feeling kinda puny lately. He isn’t eating and seems really tired. My friend was over yesterday day and drained his car radiator. Rex licked up some of this fluid. He seemed to like it. Now my brother told me that radiator water is poisonous to dogs. Is that true? What should I do?
(NOTE: This question was sent to me by email. I can only hope this reader read my email response and called his vet right away. I haven’t had any more correspondence since then.)
A:
Radiator water, by itself, isn’t dangerous. But the antifreeze used by most mechanics is deadly toxic. If Rex consumed fluid that had antifreeze mixed in it, he may be very sick. He needs to see his veterinarian right away. Not later today or tomorrow. Right now!
Most antifreeze products contain ethylene glycol, a substance that actually tastes good to animals. This substance concentrates in the kidneys and causes formation of small oxalate crystals that block renal function. It takes hours for this to occur, sometimes as much as 48 hours. But once this happens, treatment is nearly impossible. The kidneys shut down. This substance is very, very dangerous.
Here’s the worst part. It takes a very small amount of antifreeze to do permanent kidney damage. Just a few teaspoons of undiluted antifreeze can be fatal to a dog or cat. Radiator fluid containing this substance can be equally toxic, depending on how much antifreeze it contains.
Rex needs to be seen immediately. If oxalate crystals haven’t yet formed in his kidneys, he can be treated with intravenous fluids and an antidote. But time is of the essence here. Get him to the vet after you read this!
Q:
We bought an English bulldog puppy a year ago. Adeline’s the light of our life and everyone loves her. So now we’re thinking we might want to breed her to get puppies. Our vet is discouraging us, saying that we should reconsider. What do you think?
A:
Ah, my favorite breed! Bullies are wonderful companions; they’re affectionate, entertaining (they can be real comedians) and devoted family members. Their personality and their high pricetag has attracted a lot of folks who think they might want to get into the business of breeding.
English bulldogs are one of the more expensive breeds, but there are reasons for that. And I agree with your veterinarian. If you’re serious about breeding and raising bulldogs, you need to fully understand what’s involved. Here’s why.
First of all, many of these dogs can’t breed successfully without assistance. Left alone, a male and female may or may not be interested in their chosen mate. This is true in all breeds. And when one or the other of a “romantic” couple is disinterested … well, you can easily guess the results.
Artificial insemination is available, but it’s costly. Blood tests that determine when ovulation will occur are also a considerable expense. But these tests are necessary because females only come into estrus twice a year. Unsuccessful breeding means waiting six months to try again.
Most pregnant bullies are easy to care for until it’s time to whelp.
Caesarean-section delivery is often necessary in this breed, and it comes at a high price. Routine c-sections can cost between $2,000 and $3,000, more if there are complications.
And, of course, there aren’t any guarantees how many pups will be in your litter. Experienced breeders and veterinarians will tell you that a one-puppy litter is actually very common.
Finally, let’s talk about the work involved with the newborn pups. A lot of bulldogs aren’t careful mothers. They fall asleep and can roll onto one of their pups with fatal results.
So your job with a new mama and her litter will be to separate her from her pups for the first week, bringing the pups to nurse on her every two to four hours. You’ll get very little sleep that first week.
We all know how cute these dogs are. But that “cuteness” comes with a cost, both financial and emotional. So you need to take time to seriously consider whether or not breeding your sweet Adeline really is a good idea.

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