VETS are urging pet lovers in Wigan to sign a petition urging manufactures to add a bitter tasting agent to antifreeze following a spate of deaths.
Scores of pets have died recently in the borough after drinking the sweet tasting lethal liquid which often is spilt accidentally or in some cases put down maliciously in acts of cruelty.
Now White Cross vets - who have seen 13 cases of antifreeze poisoning in the past month - are urging people to get behind their campaign to make sure pets are not attracted to antifreeze by getting manufacturers to put bitter tasting agents in their products.
Figures from The Veterinary Poisons Information Service, which offers vets specialist advice about poisoned pets, reveal that the most common cause of death in more than 200,000 pets on its database, is due to Ethylene Glycol poisoning – the deadly ingredient in antifreeze which causes kidney failure. The figures also show that 90 per cent of cats that swallow antifreeze will die as a result.
Lorna Siddons, of White Cross Vets in Walkden, said: “We see too many poisoned pets across our practices every year who are in distress after swallowing antifreeze either as a terrible accident or a malicious act of cruelty.
“Ethylene Glycol is highly toxic and because of its sweet taste it is especially appealing to pets but just one teaspoon is enough to kill a cat and a tablespoon will kill a dog.
“If an accidental spill occurs and a pet either drinks or walks through the antifreeze and then licks their paws it can kill them. We have also seen cases where pets have been intentionally poisoned with food that has been soaked in antifreeze.
“However, these cases could be prevented if antifreeze wasn’t sweet tasting and included bittering agents.
“As winter approaches people will be filling up their cars with screen wash and it’s easily spilt. If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned with this substance, it’s essential they see a vet straight away. Early treatment can often be effective but many pets that are left untreated unfortunately have to be put to sleep or die of kidney failure within days.”
Naomi Fountain, whose pet cat, Mischief, died of antifreeze poisoning in 2009, is petitioning the Government to change the laws regarding antifreeze in the UK.
Naomi said: “Incredibly, the majority of people are totally unaware of the dangers that antifreeze poses to both pets and people.
“Currently our petition has over 20,000 signatures, and if we can stop just one person from going through what I did by raising awareness and encouraging change, we will have succeeded.”
To sign the petition visit http://www.whitecrossvets.co.uk/posts/antifreeze-kills/ or call the practice on 0161 799 5557.