It is well known that frequent or continual exposure to mold can cause health issues in humans. What is sometimes ignored, and really has only come to light in the past decade, is the impact it can have on pets. Black mold or Stachybotrys chartarum can be particularly harmful.
Not only are pets susceptible to the effects of breathing mold spores, their smaller size and sensitive respiratory systems mean they are generally affected sooner and with more consequences than their owners. And, of course, they don’t “complain” of an illness so it is allowed to progress unchecked if their owners aren’t vigilant.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Excessive exposure to mold can result in a number of symptoms in pets. These include:
- Runny nose
- Skin rashes and sores
- Decreased appetite
- Low energy
These signs can be indicators of other issues as well, and should be investigated by your veterinarian. However, at the same time, you can be performing an investigation of your own to see if your home environment is a factor in your pet’s condition.
What You Can Do
What’s great about any steps you take to protect your pet from mold exposure is that they protect you and your family as well. Here are some things you should do:
Mold grows best and fastest when left undisturbed. Cleaning regularly — including areas you might not normally address like under sinks — can help keep mold colonies from forming and expanding.
Still, stagnant air is what mold prefers. Running built-in ventilation systems or just putting a fan in a room can keep the air moving and make it harder for mold to form.
Mold needs moisture to thrive. Deprive it of a damp environment by using a dehumidifier.
Your pet’s bedding and toys can harbor mold. Examine these items regularly and wash as needed. Ideally everything your pet uses or comes into contact with frequently should be washable.
Pets who have had significant exposure to mold sometimes develop problems when undergoing veterinary procedures in which they are put under anesthesia. If your pet has a surgery or dental cleaning scheduled, let your veterinarian know about the exposure.
Remediation Starts with Awareness
Mold colonies often form behind the scenes. Keeping your home mold-free begins with knowing whether you have a mold problem to contend with. Certified mold inspectors can give your home a thorough inspection, provide a detailed report on their findings, and give suggestions on remediation.