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Ethylene Glycol Toxicosis in Dogs

By: Dr. Anne Marie Manning

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Ethylene glycol toxicity is a life-threatening condition. The symptoms of ethylene glycol poisoning, however, are not specific for this disorder. Other diseases present symptoms similar to those observed in ethylene glycol toxicity. Examples of these diseases include:

  • Garbage ingestion. Animals that have ingested garbage, especially garbage that contains moldy food, may shake and have muscle tremors, which helps to distinguish them from animals poisoned with ethylene glycol.

  • Acute pancreatitis. Inflammation of the pancreas also causes vomiting, severe lethargy and, rarely, nervous system symptoms.

  • Severe gastroenteritis or intestinal tract obstruction. These conditions can cause vomiting, lethargy, and progressive deterioration of the pet.

  • Acute kidney failure. This may result from other types of toxins, trauma and infection. These causes of kidney failure are distinguished from that caused by ethylene glycol by laboratory tests, abdominal ultrasound and kidney biopsy. Treatment of acute kidney failure depends on the underlying cause.


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