A WIRRAL vet is warning drivers of the harm toxic anti-freeze is causing to pets.
Gayle Elliot-Jones, from Churchview Veterinary Centre, Heswall, is calling on motorists to take extra care when putting the fluid in their cars as colder weather settles in.
She said the centre has seen two serious cases in less than a week as anti-freeze is believed to have poisoned cats.
It is thought people are accidentally spilling the liquid onto the ground and, due to its “sweet taste”, is attracting cats and dogs.
Ms Elliot-Jones said: “It is the toxin - ethylene glycol - that makes antifreeze lethal and as it has a sweet taste to it, it is appealing to pets. The animal will often consume the liquid in quantity before the aftertaste becomes apparent and causes it to stop.
“By then, it is too late and it does not take a significant amount of ethylene glycol to cause fatal damage to the system with the poison affecting the brain, liver, and kidneys, usually resulting in kidney failure.
“The cases that we have seen this week have all been in cats and it is very upsetting for the owners to see. Once anti-freeze has been ingested, prognosis is very poor for the animal.”
Initial symptoms include “drunken behaviour”, wobbly, uncoordinated movement, vomiting and a fast heart rate.
Ms Elliot-Jones added this then progresses to depression, weakness, seizures and coma.
Wirral RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes said pet owners should be aware of any change of behaviour in their animals and should contact a vet as soon as possible.
He said: “It is important for people to be responsible when using antifreeze and unfortunately, we have had incidences in the past where people have deliberately left the fluid out for animals to drink, which of course is an offence.
“It’s also worth mentioning that people will often put anti-freeze in their garden water features to stop them freezing over but pets, especially cats, will often come along and drink that.
“People should look out for the symptoms and not waste time in getting to a vet because the first few hours are absolutely crucial.”