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The Dangers of Toxic Mold to Pets

Picture of a dog and cat

Mold can be just as dangerous to animals as it can be to people. While there are many types of mold that can affect your home and pose a threat to your pets, exposure to toxic black mold is by far the riskiest of all, both for yourself and for your companions.

In this post, we’ll look at what symptoms pets can exhibit after they have been exposed to mold, how you can prevent it from happening, and we’ll also give you some tips on how to best manage this situation in the future.

What can mold exposure do to our pets?

One of the most common health problems that both dogs and cats can experience after being exposed to black mold consists of respiratory problems. Sometimes, damage to the gastrointestinal tract is possible, too, particularly if the animal eats something contaminated with mold.

While most cats will try to do their best at avoiding moldy areas, sometimes dogs aren’t as cautious. Furthermore, cats are also less likely to eat moldy food, whereas dogs will eat almost anything if they are very hungry. Even if a cat merely checks the smell of some type of food, they might accidentally inhale mold spores.

If a mold infection in pets is left untreated, it can lead to severe health issues, with one of the most important ones being organ failure. Pets can also develop allergic reactions and a variety of neurologic problems, including seizures.

Here are some typical clinical signs that you can notice in a pet that has inhaled mold:

  • Difficult breathing
  • Nasal and eye discharge
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite
  • Bleeding from the mouth or the nose
  • Lameness
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Lethargy
  • Skin rashes or signs of dermatitis

The most challenging issue with mold exposure is that the symptoms that pets exhibit are so varied that it can be mistaken for something else. For example, you might think that your cat or dog has a common respiratory infection.

Most colds or flu cases resolve on their own in a matter of up to a week, but that is not the case if mold exposure is at the root of the problem.

Treating Mold Sickness in Pets

If you notice any of the clinical signs that we have mentioned previously, you should take your pet to the vet clinic as soon as possible. This is even more essential if you know that you have a mold contamination in your home and the animal might have been exposed to it.

Incipient cases are usually easier to treat compared to those that involve chronic exposure to mold. Sometimes, your pet might have to receive a blood transfusion and a variety of medications to counterbalance the damage that the infection might have caused.

Since in this case, a range of internal organs can be affected, a full set of blood analyses have to be performed in order to assess how the liver, kidneys, and the other important organs are functioning. Special tests such as pulmonary X-rays or various other imaging diagnostic methods might be necessary, too.

Prognosis

If your pet gets veterinary care as soon as possible, they might make a complete recovery in a rather short amount of time. Sometimes, your cat or dog might be prescribed medication that you need to give to them for a longer period of time.

Repeat checkups can be required to make sure that everything is progressing smoothly and that the therapy is functioning properly. The most challenging thing that pet parents have to address if their furry companions have been diagnosed with this health problem is getting rid of the mold in their living environment.

Prevention

Mold can be an almost invisible enemy, and it can get into places that are hard to reach and, therefore, hard to clean. Sometimes, getting the help of a professional to have the mold removed is a far better idea than having to do it on your own. Professionals can both get rid of the mold, but they can also make sure that no hidden or dormant mold spores are in your home.

Remember, preventing mold contamination is important both for your pets, since they are the first to get exposed as they spend most of their time on their four feet, on the ground, but also for your whole family.

Cases of aspergillosis, which is a fungal infection, are just as common in cats or dogs as they are in humans.

So, what can you do to make sure that your pet doesn’t develop this infection? Here are some useful tips:

  • Clean your pet’s food and water bowls every day
  • Make sure that pet food is kept in airtight containers or in a dry area
  • Wash your dog’s or cat’s bedding and toys every week
  • Don’t let your pet get in the trash can or wherever else there could be moldy food
  • Don’t let your cat or dog get into the basement or crawl under the furniture, especially if you know that you’ve had a mold problem in the past
  • Check your house for mold on a regular basis

Where does mold tend to grow?

One thing’s for sure – fungi do not love clean and dry places. That’s why mold tends to show up in places such as wet basements, cluttered spots throughout your home where there isn’t enough ventilation, or your kitchen, where things tend to get steamy.

It’s actually less common to see mold right on a wall that’s exposed to sunlight or the outside environment. The likelihood of you finding a moldy area behind a cupboard is higher than on a dry, open wall.

One of the most dangerous situations of all is the instance where the mold gets in your ventilation system. If that happens, the spores will virtually be spread everywhere in your home, meaning that all of it will be contaminated and unsafe for your family and your pets.

Even if you discover mold in your home, there’s a high chance of you spreading the spores by accident if you undertake the task of cleaning that area. Professionals are often equipped with the right equipment that can limit the spread of the spores and also get the area cleaned properly.

Qualified mold inspectors are available across the country and most of them are willing to answer your questions and tell you how they can help.

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