Do you have mold in your home? The dangers of mold exposure are alarming. You must provide an answer to this crucial question since, if ignored, mold exposure in dogs can result in major health issues (as it does for you as well).
Mold spores in the air are something your dog is constantly exposed to. Some dogs are more sensitive to mold spores than others, just like people. You can shield your dog from the negative effects of mold by knowing how to identify and treat mold exposure.
What Is Mold?
Mold can develop everywhere there is moisture. Mold generally develops outdoors in damp, shaded locations. Anywhere in your house that gets damp and keeps moisture is a good place for mold to grow indoors. Mold reproduces by dispersing spores into the atmosphere. Nearly any surface can support the growth of the spores.
Whether from condensation, high humidity, or water leaks, many homes have moisture problems. Additionally, every home contains the components necessary for the growth of mold, including moisture, oxygen, and organic waste. Mold may result in expensive structural repairs to your property. Even worse, mold can harm the health of all those in the home, including your dogs and cats.
Human exposure to mold is widely known to pose health concerns. The CDC lists several signs of mold exposure, including nasal congestion, eye irritation, wheezing, and skin irritation. Fever and breathing difficulties are examples of more severe reactions. Mold infections in the lungs can occur in people with chronic lung diseases.
The Danger of Mold to Dogs
Mold is bad for dogs as well as people. Mold exposure in dogs can cause adverse health effects including the following:
- Lung and respiratory issues
- Damage to the gastrointestinal tract
- Serious digestive problems
- Allergic reactions
- Neurological issues, including tremors and seizures
Longer term exposure to mold can have more serious consequences and be more challenging to control, even though its immediate effects are frequently manageable in the short term. Untreated mold exposure can cause organ damage, which can result in more severe consequences.
In 2007, a veterinarian discovered pulmonary hemorrhages in two cats during pre-op procedures, bringing attention to the risks of mold exposure in animals. After complications, both cats passed away. The report claims that mold contamination from flood damage was present in the house.
Black mold is dangerous, but it’s not the only type that causes detrimental health effects.
There are over 10,000 species of mold, many of which look quite similar. These species of mold come in a variety of colors and shapes, so you usually can’t identify it just by looking at it.
Dog Mold Exposure Symptoms
Symptoms of mold exposure in dogs include:
- Respiratory distress (rapid or labored breathing)
- Nasal discharge
- Coughing, wheezing, sneezing
- Bleeding from the mouth and/or nose
Some dogs will scratch, chew, or lick excessively due to an allergic reaction, which can cause fur loss and the emergence of uncomfortable sores.
If your dog consumes mold, they may have changes in stools, vomiting, and decreased appetite.
Mold exposure symptoms and signs can resemble other medical diseases. Take your dog to the vet if she exhibits any combination of the aforementioned symptoms.
Long-Term Mold Exposure In Dogs
Dogs who have been exposed to mold may experience aspergillosis, an opportunistic fungal infection, as one of the long-term effects. Typically, aspergillosis affects the nasal passages (nasal aspergillosis).
Symptoms of nasal aspergillosis include
- Nasal pain, swelling, discharge
- Nose bleeds
- Reduced appetite
Disseminated aspergillosis is a form of aspergillosis that affects the entire body. Disseminated aspergillosis in animals can cause bone inflammation, vomiting, weight loss, fever, and back pain. Following mold exposure, these symptoms typically appear more gradually. According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, disseminated aspergillosis is uncommon and most frequently affects middle-aged, female German Shepherds. Dogs with weakened immune systems are likewise more vulnerable.
Where To Look for Mold
Most people are aware that the basement is a popular site for water leaks and mold because it is underground. According to a recent poll, homeowners and renters alike have lived in homes with wet basements in 55% of cases. However, water can enter through less evident channels, and in these environments, mold can grow.
Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system cannot circulate the air effectively if airflow is hindered by clutter. Your curtains and vents may collect condensation, which will produce a wet atmosphere that is ideal for the growth of mold.
Your laundry room, restrooms, and other steamy, humid places are problems that require effective ventilation fans to get rid of the wet air.
Mold can grow in places where there are leaky pipes and drips from condensation that collects on windows and pipes.
The drip pan is a place where standing water sits undisturbed making it the perfect environment for mold growth.
In organic matter, stagnant water, or condensation in your air conditioning ducts, mold can form. Your air conditioning system can avoid developing mold if you do preventative maintenance.
You should check each of these areas to prevent health issues for yourself, your family, and your dog.
How To Prevent Mold In Your Home
To keep your dog and your family safe from mold, it’s important to remove existing mold and take steps to prevent future mold growth.
- Check for mold on the underside of concealed surfaces including ceiling tiles, drywall, carpets, and wallpaper since these materials can draw in and hold moisture. Small patches of mold on solid surfaces could be easy to get rid of using vinegar or baking soda. Avoid breathing in mold or mold spores and be sure to use gloves and safety glasses.
- Keep the interior of your house as dry as you can. Fix any leaks in your windows, pipes, basement, roof, or other places where water collects due to condensation or drops.
- Ensure all ventilation systems are working as they should.
- If water does get in, clean and thoroughly dry the area as soon as possible.
- If you find large areas of mold, you may want to hire professional help with removal.
When Should You Call A Professional to Remove the Mold?
It’s crucial to keep in mind that a mold infestation frequently entails more than what initially appears. The safest course of action is to hire a professional if you believe you have hidden mold or if the moldy area is too vast to clean up with vinegar or baking soda.
A handyman or general contractor might not have the knowledge to oversee the project. Make sure the contractor has experience removing mold, advises the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ensure the experts you hire are bonded, insured, and experienced. You should also check the references they provide.
What Professional Mold Removal Services Do
When you hire a professional to assess the situation and remove mold from your home, expect the process to look something like this:
The business should initially inspect your house and inform you of the severity of your mold issue. Ask them to give you a written timetable, along with information on what to expect, how to prepare, and how much time you will be unable to use certain parts of your home. Your family will not be permitted to enter any rooms or spaces where the mold removal crew is operating for their own safety.
The mold removal expert will cover the work area with plastic sheeting to keep the mold spores from spreading into the air. Your air conditioner or heater may need to be turned off.
Building items that have mold damage will be removed and discarded (drywall, insulation, baseboards, carpeting etc).
Restoration is not usually part of the mold cleanup process.
Most services utilize antimicrobial treatments to remove the mold and stains in addition to fans and high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums, which remove mold spores. Some services employ “green” cleaning products, however even these can have hazardous components. According to a 2015 Australian study, all products bearing the “natural,” “organic,” “non-toxic,” or “green” labels released at least one potentially harmful component.
You should be able to see where and how the water is entering from the mold removal service. Keep in mind that moisture is what causes the mold to grow, so you will need to take precautions in the future to keep the water out. This service might be provided by your mold removal company, or they should be able to suggest one.
Consult Your Vet
Consult your veterinarian if you think your dog may be suffering from mold exposure. She might not take into account the likelihood that mold is to blame for your dog’s ailments. If this isn’t taken seriously, consult a holistic veterinarian to discuss the issue further. Along with treating your dog’s symptoms, make sure to look around your house for any hidden mold and hire a pro if you can’t do the cleanup alone.