A local veterinarian has issued a warning to pet owners about the potential for antifreeze poisoning in the downtown Parksville area.
Dr. Jeff Dahl at Bellevue Veterinary Hospital said he was faced with two cases of antifreeze poisoning within one week — both of which came from the same general area.
The two pets, one cat and one dog, succumbed to the toxic effects of ingesting the automobile coolant.
“We discovered they were in the same region of town and we put the call out to other clinics and the emergency clinic to raise local awareness,” he said in an interview Thursday.
Dahl stressed he doesn’t believe the animals were poisoned deliberately, but he wants pet owners in the area of Pym Street, Soriel Road and Highway 19A to be extra vigilant.
“For the most part, people are careful about having this stuff out and maybe someone thought they were disposing of it properly, but they weren’t, or it could be leaking and puddling,” he said. “It may have been an unfortunate series of events, but we want to make sure things are cleaned up.”
Antifreeze poisoning takes place in three stages, he said, with the first stage appearing much like alcohol intoxication.
“In the first stage they act drunk, like they’ve taken in a lot of alcohol,” he said. “That one is a tough one to pick out as antifreeze intoxication because there are lots of things that can do that. Unfortunately, it is a fairly quick progression to the next stage.”
That stage, he said, is usually signaled by what appears to be a slight recovery as the animal starts to appear better. However, this is followed by the third stage, which involves major renal failure and, often, death.
“The first stage lasts about 12 hours and then a day after they seem to do a little bit better,” he said. “Then in a day to three days the kidneys are damaged and the signs of acute renal failure start to show.”
When the kidneys stop working the pet will become nauseous, depressed and run down, he said, and there can be a fair amount of pain as well.
Anyone who believes their pet may have ingested antifreeze should get to a veterinarian as soon as possible — within eight hours — in order to receive treatment.
“If you see them consume antifreeze they should be seen right away,” Dahl said. “There is an antidote that can be given to prevent the kidney damage from happening, but it typically needs to be given in the first eight to 10 hours. If we get to the point of kidney damage, the prognosis gets a lot worse.”