When a London housecat accidentally drank spilled car brake fluid, staff at a nearby Blue Cross animal hospital saved her life by using a risky but effective vodka IV drip.
Poor Princess, a seven-year-old tabby, didn't mean to drink toxic brake fluid from a spilled bottle in a backyard garden shed. She was just cleaning her fur, which when it comes to cats means licking it. By the time Teresa Correira Maria (Princess's owner) found her, soaking wet Princess was in a bad way. The distraught but quick-thinking pet owner immediately bundled her into a carrier and off they went to the Blue Cross animal hospital in central London.
Upon arrival at Blue Cross, staff quickly determined the nature of the poisonous liquid: brake fluid, much like auto antifreeze, contains a type of ethylene glycol that is poisonous to pets. There is, however, an effective antidote for ethylene glycol poisoning: ethanol, aka drinking alcohol found in distilled spirits such as vodka.
Not having any vodka on hand (or at least, none that any staffers would admit to), Blue Cross veterinarians nipped over to the nearest pub and procured a bottle. “Pets should never be given alcohol but this was the only solution to prevent the poison from taking over and killing her,” explained Heather Loh, a vet at Blue Cross. Don't try this at home, folks - this is a job for professionally-trained veterinarians.
Clinic staff also trimmed and washed Princess's fur to ensure she wouldn't ingest any more of the toxic liquid. “She was a bit worse the wear for several days afterwards,” added Loh, “but we were relieved blood tests showed the effects of the drip were working and the poison would no longer be fatal.” A follow-up checkup confirmed Princess was well on the road to recovery having caught a brake, er, break courtesy of the vets at Blue Cross.