Vodka saves puppy after she ingests antifreeze

Cleo with Vet Yenny Indrawirawan.
Cleo with Vet Yenny Indrawirawan.

Cleo the puppy is alive and well, thanks to some quick thinking by a veterinarian and the healing powers of booze.

The 10-week-old American Staffordshire puppy belonging to Stacey Zammit of Truganina, Australia, nearly died of ethylene glycol poisoning after she licked radiator fluid off spare car parts in Zammit's garage last week.


After 30 minutes, Cleo was swaying on her feet and rejecting food. Zammit rushed her to the vet, where she learned that her puppy was only hours away from renal failure, reported the Melbourne Herald Sun.

The vets administered vodka from a bottle a nurse happened to have in her car and gave Cleo a shot of 30ml through a nose tube every few hours. She consumed almost a bottle and a half in less than three days.

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Veterinarian Scott Hall from Animal Accident and Emergency Point said the vodka was used to stop a deadly chemical reaction in the liver. Normally, ethanol is the preferred treatment, but in a pinch regular old vodka was able to save the puppy's life.

"Stopping that chemical reaction is really important to stop renal failure or kidney failure," Hall said.


Cleo's small size of less than 7 pounds meant it would only take a little bit of the radiator fluid to poison her.

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"The owners were straight on top of the money," Hall told Nine News. "They realized straight away that things weren't right and came straight to us."

"The next time I saw her I asked if she was wasted, and the vet was like, 'yeah,' Zammit said. "Cleo had really bloodshot eyes and she was pretty unsteady. She couldn't move around much because she was so wasted."

She was definitely intoxicated," Hall said. "I'm sure she would have had a bit of a hangover coming off it."

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A relieved Zammit said Cleo was well on her way to recovery after spending four days at the vet.

"She slept a lot and she was eating a lot, but she seems really happy now," Zammit said.

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