Pets and Mold – How Do You Know They’re Exposed?

When your pets come into contact with mold, they’re likely to get sick or develop allergies due to their weak immune systems.

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Pets are playful and adventurous. When they’re out exploring or indoors playing, they could ingest moldy food or get exposed to toxic mold spores. One area in which these organisms abound is the basement, a room that’s mostly damp and warm. Mold thrives if it stays dark, humid, and warm. We encourage you to keep an eye on the basement. Clean it up and make sure it stays dry. Otherwise, mold will grow and cause health problems to your pets.  

mold damage

Signs of Mold Exposure 

Your furry friends won’t tell you they’ve been exposed to indoor mold and are having a reaction. Some symptoms are mild, while others are serious and can lead to an emergency situation. When inhaled, floating spores can cause respiratory issues. Watch out for these signs in your pet:  

  • Itchy, runny eyes 
  • Nasal discharge 
  • Excess itching and scratching (in the absence of fleas) 
  • Secondary skin infections 
  • Wheezing, coughing, and breathing difficulties 
  • Bleeding from nose and mouth 

When ingested, mold leads to gastrointestinal and digestive problems. Your pet could lose their appetite, start vomiting, and have diarrhea. 

Prolonged exposure to mold can result in neurological issues like seizures or tremors. Your feline friends will show increased anxiety due to allergies. Birds may pluck out their feathers as they try to soothe their skin irritation. 

When cats and dogs get exposed to toxic mold, they can start shaking their heads and ears. Some chew their paws until they become sore, while others develop chronic ear infections. Their skin can become thick and smelly. In some cases, pets experience hair loss. 

Veterinary Checks and Treatment 

With several strains and species of mold in existence, it’s hard to tell what type of mold your pet got exposed to. Make sure you take your pet to your local vet if you suspect it’s suffering from mold sickness.  

The vet will examine your animal and prescribe detoxifying drugs and other medications. Blood tests are necessary for determining liver function. In some cases, a blood transfusion may be done, and antibiotics administered to fight off secondary infections. If the pets are very sick, they may require around-the-clock care at the vet’s. 

Pets do recover fully when they receive quick and proper medical attention following exposure. However, you shouldn’t take the pet back home until you uncover the cause of mold and eradicate it from your property. Continued exposure to virulent mold can worsen your pet’s condition and lead to organ damage and ultimately death. 

Where Does Mold Grow? 

Mold is everywhere. On the soil outside, in the attic, drains, shower, and below-grade areas like the basement or crawl space. You’ll also find them around windows, where pets love to soak up the sunshine. 

So, there’s no shortage of places where your pets could get mold exposure. 

Not every mold species is toxic or deadly. One type that everyone dreads is the black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum). This made headlines in 2007 when a vet identified it as behind the lung hemorrhage that resulted in the deaths of two cats. Black mold releases a mycotoxin that destroys cells and damages the liver when it gets into the bloodstream. It hinders the production of proteins that induce blood clots, resulting in severe and uncontrollable nosebleeds. 

Dealing with Mold 

Mold thrives in damp and dark areas, one of which is the basement, an area that stays out of sight throughout the year. Even if your pet rarely goes down there, it can still get exposed due to upward-moving air that brings with it toxic mold.  

Close to half of the indoor air you and your pets breathe originates from low-lying areas like the basement or crawl space. If there are mold spores and dust mites floating around, chances are they will move up to your home and cause problems like asthma and allergies. 

You can avoid mold-related health issues by cleaning up stagnant water in your home and waterproofing your basement. Some of the waterproofing measures you can take include drying out the air using a dehumidifier, controlling floods with interior drainage and a sump pump, and sealing wall cracks to stop leakage. 

Protect Your Basement and Pets 

If you’d like to waterproof your home to prevent moisture accumulation and mold growth, get in touch with Mount Valley Foundation Services for a free inspection and repair quote. We use industry-leading solutions to create a dry, comfortable, and mold-free environment for homeowners and their pets so they can live and breathe easy.

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