A Blacon woman is urging cat owners to be on high alert after three of her pets died of antifreeze poisoning within 24 hours of each other.
Caireen Candlin of Melverley Drive, first noticed one of her cats Ned was behaving strangely on Tuesday morning after seeing he was wobbly on his legs, seemed ‘drunk’ and collapsed whenever he tried to stand up.
She rushed Ned to Vets4Pets on Brook Lane Chester, where Ned was put on a drip and had blood tests but as she returned home Caireen’s husband Jim came out of the house to say their other cat Lucy who had seemed fine that morning, was also looking dazed and appeared wobbly.
“I picked Lucy up and she just collapsed,” said Caireen. “Without a moment to think, we quickly rushed her to Vets4Pets where Ned was being treated and when we got there we found that Ned wasn’t getting any better.
“Unfortunately his blood results revealed he was suffering from suspected antifreeze poisoning and it wasn’t long until he started having seizures. The vet explained that Ned had a really low chance of survival, so we had to make a really tough decision there and then. The kindest decision for Ned was to have him put to sleep,” she said.
“We couldn’t believe it; this happened so quickly to Ned, we were heartbroken and so we just had to keep hoping for the best for Lucy.”
But Lucy’s blood tests revealed her organs had started to fail and it was highly likely that she had also fallen victim to antifreeze poisoning, so the family had to make yet another tough decision, just hours after saying goodbye to Ned.
Vet Jo Holly decided to run a blood test on the family’s third cat Tigg to ensure she was clear of any risk from ethylene glycol poisoning, an ingredient found in antifreeze.
She said: “It was a surprise to us all that Tigg’s test results revealed her organs were in fact in a worse state than Ned and Lucy’s, which meant her chance of recovery was low, even though she hadn’t shown any signs of being unwell.”
As Tigg was rapidly deteriorating, Caireen once again had to make the kindest decision for her pet, knowing what her other cats had been through, and Tigg passed away the day after Ned and Lucy.
“We couldn’t believe it, as Tigg seemed fine that day and was purring as usual, but we wanted to double check if she was ok to be on the safe side,” said Caireen. “It just goes to show how fast acting antifreeze solution is to pets, even before there are any recognisable signs of poisoning. All three cats are thought to have ingested the solution from the same source, but we’ve never found out where.”
Although there have been many cases of deliberate anitfreeze poisoning cases, cats can also ingest it from cars, and Dr Huw Stacey, vet and director of clinical services at Vets4Pets said its something not many drivers or pet owners are fully aware of.
“Antifreeze contains a toxin called mono ethylene glycol, which is very harmful when consumed by animals, and ingesting even the smallest amount is enough to be potentially fatal.
“Cats are particularly at risk because they tend to hide under cars for shelter and could lick up just a few drops of antifreeze that drop down from the engine.”
Be aware of the signs
The clinical signs of antifreeze poisoning can include:
Struggling to breathe
Increased urination and thirst