Due to a long history of studies on mold and its effects on human beings, it is easy to be aware of the potential health risks that afflict humans from household mold growth. However, pets are a different story. Believe it or not, your pets are at greater risk of experiencing adverse health effects from mold-related issues because pets’ immune systems are not as advanced as humans. This means that mold can be especially dangerous when considering our furry companions.
The risks mold presents to our pets were not discovered until recently, and now we know that household molds can be even more virulent in our pets than in ourselves. This most notably includes cats and dogs, but extends to various other small animals commonly found living as pets. When continually exposed to mold, especially mycotoxin-creating molds such as black mold, our pets can experience a severe range of side effects and health problems, sometimes even leading to death, unless they receive proper – and immediate – medical care. Mold affects are pets in two distinct ways.
The first is through mold spores, released into our home’s airways from mold growths found throughout our homes. Our pets come into contact with mold spores through inhalation, and when inhaled, our pets may experience a range of respiratory issues. The most typical of these inhalant-related issues include fever, lethargy, and problems with breathing. This could look like difficult or rapid breathing, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, laziness or inability to move swiftly, and even bleeding from the mouth or nose. The other way mold affects our pets is through ingestion: eating foods with visible or invisible mold growths attached to them. This commonly leads to digestive problems, the most notable of which includes damage to the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of mold ingestion include loss of appetite, vomiting, and changes in our pets’ stool.
Similar to humans, our pets can develop severe allergic reactions if exposed to mold for prolonged periods of time. This can even lead to changes in our pets’ neurology, affecting behavior, appetite, and eventually leading to tremors or seizures. While not all mold symptoms are as notable as those previously stated, it is important to take care of mold problems in our homes, especially when living with four-legged companions. It is our job to look out for the sanctity of our pets’ health, and mold can lead to a multitude of pet-related health issues down the road.
Mold also holds a variety of other side effects when considering our pets. These include, but are not limited to: labored breathing, wheezing, sneezing, coughing, runny nose and eyes, excessive licking and scratching, skin rashes and sores, fur loss, diarrhea, lameness, trembling, convulsions, anxiety, and noticeable changes in our pet’s behavior.
It is important to look out for our furry friends, and if there is mold present in our homes, it means our homes are not safe to house our loving pets. Homes with pets should take extra care to look out for mold growths, and may even consider regularly hiring a specialist to perform mold inspections in order to ensure that we are creating a safe space for our pets to live.