1. Ethylene glycol ingestion is an emergency. Contact your veterinarian immediately and take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
  2. If the animal is showing no signs, your veterinarian may instruct you to induce vomiting, however, do not induce vomiting unless instructed to.
  3. If possible, provide a sample of the product ingested to your veterinarian to aid in identification of the toxin and the amount ingested.




Onset time for clinical signs is 30 minutes to 12 hours, most commonly within 1-6 hours.

Initial (stage 1) signs:

  • Vomiting
  • Inappetance
  • Depression
  • Fatigue/lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Uncoordinated gait (Ataxia)
  • Seizures

Stage 2 signs:

  • Rapid breathing or panting (tachypnoea)
  • Marked increase in heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Coughing (due to fluid on the lungs or pulmonary oedema)

Stage 3 signs:

  • Excessive urination (polyuria)
  • Excessive drinking (polydipsia)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the urine (haematuria)
  • Inability to produce urine (anuria)
  • Coma
  • Death


Ethylene glycol is converted to toxic metabolites which cause calcium oxalate crystals to form in tissues and urine, leading to organ failure and irreversible kidney failure.


The mainstay of treatment is preventing the body from converting ethylene glycol to its toxic metabolites by administering an antidote. Supportive care is vital, including intravenous fluids and monitoring kidney and heart function.



BSAVA (2012) BSAVA/VPIS Guide to Common Canine and Feline Poisons. Gloucester: BSAVA.

Cope R (2011) Household and industrial toxicants. In: Small Animal Toxicology Essentials ed. RH Poppenga and SM Gwaltney-Brant. London: Wiley-Blackwell. Pp260-263.