DON'T UP THE ANTI; Death lurks in water features.
Byline: Pamela Owen
DOGS and cats are being poisoned by owners using chemicals to stop water features in gardens freezing.
Vets have reported a rise in pets who have had organ failure caused by one of the ingredients found in car antifreeze - ethylene glycol.
This lowers the freezing point of water when mixed in. But it has a sweet smell and taste that is attractive to small mammals. And only a teaspoon of it is enough to kill a cat.
Vetsure pet insurance's managing director Ashley Gray said: "There is always an increase in cases at vet surgeries at this time of year and there is anecdotal evidence the incidence of antifreeze poisoning seems to be on the increase - especially in cats.
"It is thought that this is due to an increased trend for the use of antifreeze in garden water features from which many cats drink freely."
The issue was brought up in the House of Commons in December by Environment Minister George Eustice. He called for warnings about using antifreeze to be put on water features after figures suggested 50 cats die in Britain each month because of poison. Some of these are cases where people have targeted animals on purpose.
The symptoms include confusion, vomiting, an increase in thirst and urinating, depression, lethargy, mouth sores and bad breath.
Immediate medical treatment is needed to try to stop the toxin from being absorbed by an animal's liver.
Appetite Dogs and cats can also be poisoned by antifreeze spilled on the ground when they lick their paws. This is also how they get salt poisoning - from salt laid on paths and roads in winter.
Swallowing this can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, poor appetite, lethargy, walking in a "drunk" manner, excessive thirst or urination, tremors, seizures, coma and in severe cases death.
Ashley added: "Make sure that your antifreeze is stored away safely out of reach of pets with lids tightened and that any spillages are cleared up.
"And let your garden fountains freeze - like nature intends!"
DANGER: Antifreeze put in garden features is toxic to pets