Vet Saves Poisoned Cat’s Life With An Unexpected Antidote

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi
Dina Fantegrossi is the Assistant Editor and Head Writer for HomeLife Media. Before her career in writing, Dina was a veterinary technician for more than 15 years.Read more
| Published on July 20, 2017

One very sick kitty has a new lease on life and a fun new name thanks to the quick-thinking of a veterinarian at Australia’s RSPCA Animal Emergency Hospital at Wacol.

“Tipsy” the tomcat was saved from certain death with an IV infusion of ethanol – in the form of vodka – after ingesting a toxic dose of antifreeze.

Image Credit: Screen Shot via ABC News Australia


The one-year-old stray kitty was found in a deadly state outside a Lowood, Australia tire shop last week. He was hypothermic and suffering from convulsions when he was rushed to the RSPCA clinic. Veterinarian Sarah Kanther performed an ultrasound and recognized the tell-tale kidney damage that is a hallmark of antifreeze poisoning.

Antifreeze poisoning can be treated with pure ethanol, but the clinic did not have any on hand. What they did have was a bottle of Absolut Vodka left over from Christmas.

“We basically administered vodka intravenously,” Dr Kanther said. “It sounds a bit radical but the enzymes that metabolise the antifreeze, making it more toxic to the kidneys, also metabolise the ethanol in vodka. Once we administered that, he metabolised the vodka instead of the antifreeze.”


Tipsy was given an IV drip of 20 mL of the vodka over a 12 hour period. It worked like a charm! Aside from “looking woozy” throughout the day, Tipsy made a “remarkable recovery” according to his caretakers.

“He was pretty well drunk for a good portion of the day,” Dr Kanther said.

Image Credit: Screen Shot via ABC News Australia


He also woke up with a hangover and a mean case of the munchies the following morning, but that’s a small price to pay for one’s life! Dr. Kanther attributes Tipsy’s resillience to his youth and overall health prior to the poisoning.

He has been placed into a foster home where he will remain for the next several weeks. His kidney values will then be rechecked prior to his neuter and eventual adoption.

Of course, pet parents should know to never give any kind of alcohol to their pets, as this was a unique situation and the kitty was closely monitored.


H/T to ABC News Australia

Featured Image via Facebook/RSPCA Queensland