pet poisonings
"Tipsy" on the mend   (image via RSPCA)


Just when you think you’ve heard it all something comes along to surprise you. That was the case in Brisbane, Australia, recently when a passerby noticed a lone cat outside a tire shop acting peculiarly. The behavior the animal exhibited was that of a living creature in the throes of antifreeze poisoning, which is not a pretty sight. The feline was whisked off to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) for an exam, where the diagnosis was confirmed.


After testing positive for renal failure, the staff at the facility were only too aware of the limited amount of time they had to act in order to save the animal’s life. Here’s where things got a little crazy: a quick-thinking nurse just happened to have a bottle of Absolut vodka in her car, so she rushed out to get it so that treatment could begin immediately. Wait! Vodka as a treatment?! Say what?!?!

Vodka, it’s Not Just for Getting Drunk Anymore

We’ve all heard of “a bit of the hair of the dog that bit you” for a hangover, but alcohol as a medical treatment? In this case, apparently so. The medics on staff quickly rigged an IV drip containing the clear liquid, and within several hours the cat — now aptly nicknamed "Tipsy" — had actually stabilized. How did they know to use it? “Unfortunately we have seen a lot of baiting going on and some of it is using antifreeze,” Michael Beatty of the RSPCA said. “Cats in particular are attracted to it because of the sweet taste.”

Animal Baiting

While there is no evidence to point to animal baiting in this particular case, it’s extremely sad that anyone would stoop to something so despicable. “Because it’s such a fast-acting toxin, they’re normally dead by the time we get to treat them,” RSPCA doctor Sarah Kanther stated to ABC News. “So basically, once you put the alcohol into his blood, it metabolizes that instead and gives the antifreeze time to pass in a less toxic form.”

Pet Poisoning

If you suspect one of your pets or any animal has ingested something harmful, make note of the symptoms and immediately contact the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 or the ASPCA’s Poison Control number at (888) 426-4435. As with any living creature, the sooner you seek medical treatment the better their chances for survival.