RECENTLY a much loved family pet in Douglastown, a rescue cat, was killed as a result of ingesting anti-freeze which contains the hazardous substance ethylene glycol.
Elspeth Stirling, who works for a well known cat charity, originally re-homed the cat to the family. She said: “The cat was a tiny kitten who had found her forever happy home, although this was not to be. She was much loved, and has featured in a local artist’s work. She cannot be brought back, but others may be saved if an article can reach out to people and warn them about the lethal danger of antifreeze for animals and children alike. Simple steps and care can prevent another tragedy.”
Ethylene glycol is a highly toxic substance and it can kill any animal, child, or person who ingests it. There is no antidote if it is consumed. The substance can also occur in some liquid rust inhibitors, solar collectors and many other manufacturing processes.
Anti-freeze is usually a translucent green colour with a yellow tinge, so look out for any puddling or drips under your vehicle and remove it immediately and get the car’s leak fixed immediately by a qualified mechanic.
Spills should be soaked up immediately with an absorbent material like cat litter or sawdust. Shovel the waste into strong plastic bags and dispose of properly and safely.
Just two tea spoons of the liquid is enough to kill a cat and within the first few hours there may be vomiting and salivating due to irritation of the stomach. There may also be stumbling and depression which resembles being drunk as ethylene glycol is a type of alcohol. Within 24 to 48 hours, signs of kidney failure will develop which include; loss of appetite, vomiting, dehydration, excessive urination or no urination at all.
In order to avoid accidents, never put anti-freeze in a container that was once used for something else and never put drained anti-freeze in an open container.
There is no good reason to store anti-freeze at all. If you have any left over after use you can take it to the Recycling Centre on Queenswell Road in Forfar.
If you are a business premises requiring to store and use chemical products then you must adhere to the Health & Safety Executive’s Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations. You can obtain the Approved Code of Practice and Guidance by visiting the website www.hsebooks.co.uk.
There are penalties for people who are found guilty of causing an animal unnecessary suffering and they can be sent to prison for up to 12 months or can be fined up to £20,000, or both. A person acting with insufficient care can be convicted.
Accidental poisoning can be prevented with antifreeze can be prevented so follow the above tips to avoid potentially life threatening disasters.
Not all poisoning with antifreeze is accidental, however, so be alert and remember that a child or a grown person can as easily die as an animal.