Definition of Antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol) Poisoning
Ethylene glycol is a colorless, odorless, sweet-tasting liquid. It is a common ingredient in antifreeze, because it lowers the freezing point of water. Ethylene glycol is also found in paint, solvents, radiator fluid, brake fluid, motor oil, aircraft and runway de-icing products, automobile windshield de-icers, ink, home solar units and wood stains. It is tasty enough that dogs (and cats) will lap it up in large quantities if they can get to it. Unfortunately, it is highly toxic. A dog's liver will metabolize ethylene glycol within a matter of hours. This creates a substance called oxalic acid, which binds to calcium in the blood and forms calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals eventually lodge inside the dog’s kidneys, leading to renal failure and sometimes sudden death. Owners should be sure that antifreeze and all other substances that contain ethylene glycol are securely stored somewhere out of their pets’ reach.