Diagnostic test are needed to recognize ethylene glycol toxicosis, including: Complete medical history and physical examination
Ethylene glycol test should be performed as soon after ingestion as possible
Urinalysis to evaluate for characteristic calcium oxalate crystals (one of the metabolic end-products of ethylene glycol breakdown), casts, and other evidence of kidney damage
Blood gas analysis to evaluate for the presence of severe acidosis
Serum biochemistry tests to evaluate for electrolyte disturbances (including low blood calcium) and abnormally high kidney function tests (blood urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, serum phosphorus)
Abdominal ultrasound examination to evaluate kidney size and appearance. Deposits of calcium oxalate crystals in the kidney result in a very bright (white on the ultrasound monitor) appearance within hours
Kidney biopsy to confirm ethylene glycol poisoning if kidney failure is present
Treatment for ethylene glycol toxicosis includes one or more of the following: Induction of vomiting by oral administration of hydrogen peroxide if possible before transport of the pet to the veterinary hospital
Hospitalization of the pet usually is necessary
Induction of vomiting (if not successful before arrival) and gastric lavage (pumping of the stomach) to remove the poison before it can be broken down to its toxic end-products
Administration of activated charcoal to bind ethylene glycol within the digestive tract
Intravenous fluid administration to correct dehydration
Treatment with sodium bicarbonate if acidosis is severe
Specific drugs such as 20 percent ethyl alcohol or 4-methylpyrazole (Antizol®) that inhibit the breakdown of ethylene glycol to its toxic end-products if the pet is seen within several hours after ingestion of ethylene glycol
Drugs to treat kidney failure and encourage urine production such as the diuretic furosemide and blood vessel-dilating drug dopamine. Unfortunately, these drugs are not often effective once severe kidney failure has developed and more than 80 percent of pets with kidney shutdown due to ethylene glycol poisoning die despite diligent medical treatment
Peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis is necessary if severe kidney failure and shutdown of urine production are present. These procedures require referral to a veterinary specialist.
Remove your dog from the source of ethylene glycol immediately. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog to have consumed ethylene glycol. Your veterinarian may recommend you induce vomiting in your pet by oral administration of hydrogen peroxide. Transport your pet to your veterinarian immediately.
Keep containers of antifreeze and air-conditioning coolant tightly closed and out of reach of pets. Clean up spills immediately and thoroughly. Antifreeze spills should be washed away with large amounts of water. Prevent access of pets to areas where ethylene glycol-containing products may be stored or spilled like the garage or driveway.
Use antifreeze products that do not contain ethylene glycol like Prestone LowTox® or Sierra®. Antifreeze products containing propylene glycol cause signs of drunkenness but are not fatal unless very large quantities are consumed, in which case death is the result of alcohol poisoning.
Most important: Do not allow your pet to roam unsupervised. Pets that are allowed to roam unsupervised are more likely to encounter a source of ethylene glycol and consume it. In many instances, owners are not aware their pets have consumed ethylene glycol until it is too late and severe kidney failure has developed.