A VETERINARY clinic in Bewdley has warned cat owners about the dangers of anti-freeze poisoning.

Riverside Vets, on Severnside South, has had to put down a number of cats who suffered kidney failure after ingesting the liquid which felines find sweet-tasting.

One couple in Kidderminster, who are customers of the practice, lost three cats in three years to anti-freeze poisoning, including their long-haired, ginger and white tom cat in mid May.

Rachel Inns, head nurse at Riverside Vets, said: “It is distressing for everyone involved and we are all distraught when we see a fit and healthy animal become ill so rapidly.

“It is almost untreatable.”

In a recent case the owners of an affected pet believed the poisoning was intentional and informed the RSPCA and police.

However a spokeswoman for West Mercia Police said: “Due to a lack of evidence we cannot say whether it was an intentional act or not.”

Vets can treat the symptoms of anti-freeze poisoning by placing cats on intravenous fluids and providing nursing care, but often this does not stop the onset of fatal kidney deterioration.

The faster a pet receives veterinary support the greater its chances of survival and Riverside Vets hopes to spread this message, as well as encourage vigilance against deliberate poisonings.

Miss Inns said: “If your cat is off-colour, quiet, not eating, sleepy or vomiting get in touch with a vet as soon as possible.”

The RSPCA says anti-freeze poisoning can cause animals “pain, suffering, distress and ultimately death” and is a criminal offence, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, with a maximum of 6 months in prison or a £20,000 fine.