People can experience unwanted allergies and adverse health effects if they’re exposed to mold – this might not be the most surprising statement, but did you know that animals can as well? If you have a pet, mold is a major concern, because our homes provide ample opportunity for mold growth.
Fortunately, by recognizing the most common places for mold, you can help protect your pet and reduce the chance it will suffer from a severe reaction to mold.
- Many humans experience allergic reactions to mold. Similarly, our pets can also suffer an allergic reaction to mold; however, the symptoms may not be the same. Pets that suffer from a mold allergy may display increased scratching, licking, rubbing or chewing of their skin, particularly around the feet, ears or face. Additionally, allergies to mold may result in hair loss, mutilated skin, crusty papules, red lesions and secondary infections in both cats and dogs.
Aspergillosis is a common reaction to the Aspergillls species of mold, which affects dogs more often than cats. Two forms of aspergillosis exist: nasal and disseminated. In nasal form, the mold grows within the nasal passages. The more serious disseminated form develops slowly or suddenly and causes pain, lameness and inflammation. The nasal form is treated using anti-fungal medication, while the disseminated form is more difficult and complex to treat, and often impossible to cure.
Black mold, also known as toxic mold, is just as dangerous to pets as it is to humans. In 2007, the first documented cases of toxic mold affecting pets occurred. Veterinarian Douglas Madar of Marathon Veterinary Hospital in Florida noted that blood tests showed two cats suffered from the toxin that is produced by toxic black mold, which he believed ultimately led to their deaths. Both cats were healthy and in for a routine dental cleaning. Symptoms of black mold poisoning range in severity from mild respiratory issues to full-blown pulmonary trauma, according to Madar.
Preventing mold is important for pet owners who live in areas of high humidity or whose homes have been damaged by water or flooding. Thoroughly inspect water-damaged areas for mold and clean them immediately. Don’t hesitate to call a mold removal professional. Indoor air filtration or purification systems also help to reduce mold spores in the air. Keep your pets safe and remove mold from your home as soon as possible.