Arwen Davies has experienced hardship throughout her life, but the devastating events of the past weeks have been a low point by any measure. Davies has survived breast cancer and a recent move with her three children near the seaside town of Southport in the UK.
As she faced those and other challenges, her family and beloved pets have gotten her through. The 45-year-old and her father are both especially fond of cats, caring for a small brood of kittens and advocating on social media for more laws and regulations to protect them.
Sadly, Davies and her family suffered a horrible loss when their cats died from what looks like deliberate, malicious antifreeze poisoning.
“All four of them died within a four-week period and had the same symptoms, with three different vets confirming it was antifreeze poisoning,” Davies told the Liverpool Echo. “By the time I got the cats to the vets it had gone too far and they had to be put to sleep.”
Ethylene-glycol, a key ingredient in antifreeze, is attractive to cats and other animals because of its sweet taste and syrupy texture. However, it is invariably poisonous and damaging to humans and animals. It requires quick treatment to survive when enough has been ingested, but symptoms can take days to manifest, often leaving pet owners in the dark.
“She’s absolutely devastated. They were like her children,” added Davies’ father, Del Breingan. The family also noted that they suspect it may be targeted abuse. Social media in the Southport area has long carried whispers of poisonings and mistreatment of pets.
In 2015, the BBC reported nearly 20 cats were found dead from poisonings in the area, with shelter volunteer Christine Bennetts adding, “It’s in a very particular area, in a very particular row of blocks.”
Whether the poisonings from nearly six years ago are related to the deaths of Davies’ cats or not, it shows that the area has been repeatedly harmed by deadly acts of animal cruelty in the past and present.
For his part, Breingan is taking his outrage at the loss suffered by his daughter and family and raising public awareness. On April 6th, he went on Cassie James’ “Mighty Radio Mid-Morning Show” to inform the public about the uptick in poisonings and the warning signs of ethylene-glycol intoxication.
According to the OTSNews, the radio host said, “lethargy, vomiting, incoordination, excessive urination, excessive thirst, hypothermia (low body temperature), seizures, and coma” are the early warning signs of antifreeze poisoning, and can appear (subtly, at first) within 30 minutes of ingestion.
If you suspect your pet may have accidentally eaten something laced with antifreeze, or if they habitually sleep in a garage or near a car that may drip it onto their coat, make sure you know the signs!
In the US, your local poison control will be able to help you take the next steps if your pet is suffering symptoms.
You can also learn more about how to prevent, identify, and treat ethylene-glycol poisoning here!
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