Unfortunately, our furry friends aren’t as fussy as we are when it comes to food. Over the years owners have reported their pets eating anything from socks and rocks to mouldy food and rotting rubbish. But did you know there are certain kinds of fungi and mould that are harmful for our best mates? Mould found on old food, compost or organic waste can lead to the ingestion of dangerous toxins. Mould produces highly poisonous substances known as mycotoxins. There are several different types of mycotoxins but the most common are tremorgenic mycotoxins, so named because they cause tremors and seizures in pets who digest them. Other less common forms of mycotoxins, such as aflatoxins, can attack your dog’s liver and cause the cells to die. In severe cases, mycotoxin poisoning can be fatal. Common examples of food that produce mycotoxins once they go mouldy are:
- Dog food
- Compost heaps
- Stored grains
Signs your dog may be suffering from mycotoxins include vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle tremors, seizures, incoordination, and panting. Signs can start to appear within 2 hours of ingestion, vomiting can be the first indicator even before tremors start to appear. The best way to stop your dog from eating mouldy food is to remove the temptation. Make sure there is no access to the compost pile, make sure the bin lid is secure to prevent late-night raiding. Always keep kibble in a sealed container and avoid feeding spoiled food to pets. If you suspect your pet is suffering from mycotoxin poisoning call your vet immediately for advice, they can also help plan a healthy nutritious diet for your best mate.