Police investigate poisoning of two cats in West Peabody
posted at 9/10/2012 5:35 AM EDT
September 10, 2012
By Ethan FormanStaff WriterThe Salem NewsMon Sep 10, 2012, 05:00 AM EDT
(excerpt from article)
The veterinarians office that the police report refers to is Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital in Woburn, which offers 24-hour emergency and critical care.
Sommer Aweidah, a spokeswoman for the hospital parent company, InTown Veterinary Group, said the hospital dealt with two families who came in separately with cats suffering from renal or kidney failure after being poisoned, most likely by antifreeze. One of the owners told the vet that a third cat may have died in the neighborhood in the same way.
At least one of the cats showed a strong positive test for ethylene glycol poisoning. The other tested negative, but it had to be put to sleep before more testing could be done, Aweidah said.
Ethylene glycol is found in antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid and other products, Aweidah said.
According to a veterinarian at the animal hospital, Dr. Sarah Allen, it is not the ethylene glycol that is harmful, but the metabolism of it into toxins in a cats or dogs body. Early signs of poisoning include an unsteady animal, vomiting, excessive drinking and urination, depression, twitching, and head tremors, according to the PetMD website. A quarter of a teaspoon per kilogram can be lethal, Allen said. Thats about the amount of one lap by a cat. The chemical has a sweet taste that attracts animals to drink it. It is harder to differentiate ethylene glycol in cats than in dogs, because often outdoor cats disappear and are never diagnosed. Dog owners tend to bring their pets in a little sooner.
There is no treatment to give pets at home. If you suspect your pet is poisoned, take it to the vet right away.
If you wait for them to get sick, the chances of saving them is less likely, Allen said.
Aweidah said the best way to protect a cat from antifreeze poisoning is to keep it indoors. An outdoor cat's average life span is 5 years, while an indoor cat can easily live 20.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.