Recent data has shown a sharp increase in Google searches (up 103.2% between October 2022 and November 2022 and 41.8% year over year) on how to get rid of mould, suggesting home owners across the country are struggling and looking for advice following the noticeably wetter and colder weather over recent weeks.
While mould is known to have detrimental effects to human health, it can also negatively impact the health of our pets. Sarah Dawson, vet nurse at ManyPets insurance, offers insight into the effects mould can have, the causes of mould poisoning, and her advice on how pet owners can better protect their furry friends.
Are pets affected by mould?
Like it does in humans, mould can cause respiratory issues in pets. The severity of this depends on the toxicity of the mould; ‘toxic’ mould, such as black mould, can be more serious, and even potentially fatal.
Mould spores typically grow in areas where moisture is present, and become more prevalent during rainy months due to leaks. Given their aptitude for sniffing, pets can inhale mould smores by sniffing around affected areas, which can lead to mould poisoning.
How can I tell if my pet has been exposed to mould?
When unhealthy levels of mould are inhaled by your pet, they will likely present at least one of the following symptoms: difficulty breathing, wheezing, sneezing, coughing, nasal discharge, lethargy, nose and/or mouth bleeding.
If your dog presents any of these there is a chance they are experiencing mould poisoning, particularly if there is mould present in your home. If this is the case, you should seek medical attention for your pet.
What is the treatment for mould poisoning in pets?
Initial treatment will generally consist of managing the symptoms of mould poisoning, including respiratory aid and medication for allergic reactions. Following this, recovery should be fairly straightforward, provided that you get to the root of the problem and eradicate the mould in your home, so as to avoid further exposure.
Are particular breeds more affected by mould poisoning than others?
Since all breeds can develop respiratory issues, if one is triggered by environmental factors (such as mould), then this can affect any breed. However, once they have developed a respiratory issue, some breeds will struggle more than others. For example, brachycephalic breeds, such as Pugs and Bulldogs, have a more squashed face with limited nostril space, which makes breathing more difficult.
How can I prevent mould poisoning in pets?
The number one way to prevent mould poisoning in pets is to ensure that your home is mould-free. Make sure to check any areas where moisture may collect; bathrooms, sinks, basements and windowsills are common locations for mould growth. Ensuring that ventilation systems are fully working is a great way to prevent mould; if you do spot any, get rid of it as soon as possible to ensure the welfare of your pets.