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Windshield Wiper Fluid

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Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs

Level of toxicity: Generally mild to moderate

Common signs to watch for:

  • Lethargy
  • Walking drunk
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Central nervous system depression

Windshield wiper fluid often contains methanol (30-40%) or antifreeze (e.g., ethylene glycol). Methanol can also be found in model airplane fuel (also called “glow fuel”), gas line antifreeze solutions, paint removers, varnish, and many solvents. When ingested by dogs and cats, methanol poisoning shows similar signs to ethanol (e.g., alcohol) poisoning, and can cause lethargy, walking drunk, vomiting, a low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and central nervous system depression. In severe cases, a low blood pressure, respiratory failure, and seizures can occur. While blindness can be seen with methanol poisoning, this is typically only seen in humans and primates. Immediate evaluation by a veterinarian is imperative. Methanol poisoning is not treated with fomepizole (the antidote for antifreeze) or ethanol.

Poison type: Garage Items

Alternate names: Methanol, ethylene glycol