In the News: Treating Antifreeze Toxicity in Pets - The Trupanion Blog
Underwritten by American Pet Insurance Company

In the News: Treating Antifreeze Toxicity in Pets

Today, the FDA withdrew its approval of the antifreeze antidote for dogs,  Antizol-Vet, also known as fomepizole, 4-methylpyrazole, or 4-MP.

Photo by Clarissa Martinez
Photo by Clarissa Martinez

We looked through our database of insured cats and dogs and found that antifreeze is the tenth most common poison on our list of toxicity-related claims. We paid over $53,000 specifically on claims related to antifreeze toxicity. Dogs are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of ethylene glycol and even a small amount can be fatal. If your pet ingests antifreeze—or any other toxin for that matter— take them to the veterinarian immediately. Fortunately, Antizol-Vet is not the only treatment available for antifreeze toxicity. The costs to treat antifreeze poisoning can range from less than $100 to over $3,200 with an average cost of about $600.

Toxicity and poisonings in dogs and cats is a common problem. Trupanion has paid over $1.3 million total in claims for toxicity and poisoning in dogs and cats over the past two years.

While some of these toxins are well known—like chocolate—many may be a surprise. Trupanion looked into its database of toxicity and poison claims finding the 10 most common substances toxic to cats and dogs found very close to home.

Trupanion’s 10 Most Common Poison and Toxicity Claims:

  1. Chocolate
  2. Rat Poison
  3. Common household drugs (like NSAID’s, Advil, and Acetaminophen)
  4. Xylitol (commonly found in chewing gum)
  5. Grapes and Raisins
  6. Mushrooms
  7. Plants (like lily or sago palm)
  8. Marijuana
  9. Onions and Garlic
  10. Antifreeze

Some substances are far more toxic or tempting for cats than dogs, and vice-versa. For example, of the $1.3 million paid out, over 10% went toward chocolate toxicity claims specifically, and 99% of those claims came from dogs. On the other hand, lilies are incredibly toxic to cats and can lead to kidney failure if your cat simply licks a lily bulb. Of all the claims, lily toxicity came out as one of the most expensive, with an average claim cost of $1,000.

“The best option is to keep these toxins out of your pet’s reach. If you think your pet has been exposed to any of these toxins, it is important to stay calm and act quickly. Keep your veterinarian’s contact information and a pet first aid kit readily accessible in case of an incident,” says Kerri Marshall, DVM, chief veterinary officer at Trupanion.

For more tips and information on pet poison prevention, visit Trupanion’s Guide to Poison Prevention.

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