Ethylene glycol, the toxic component of antifreeze, causes severe kidney damage. Signs include:
- Incoordination and unsteadiness
- Seizures (fits)
- Difficulty breathing
Damage develops from as soon as 30 minutes after ingestion, and worsens over several days until the kidneys fail. Intensive and rapid veterinary treatment, as soon after the antifreeze has been drunk as possible, may improve chances of survival. Tragically for most cats, even with prompt veterinary care, drinking ethylene glycol is fatal.