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Pets and Their Environment

According to this veterinarian, toxic black mold poisoning is a very real health concern for pet owners. This article appeared in 2007 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association:

Douglas Mader, a veterinary specialist in Marathon, Fla., was performing routine dental procedures on two cats when he noticed frothy blood within endotracheal tubes used to supply anesthesia to the animals. The veterinarian immediately stopped the procedures, but both animals died - one the following day, the other about two weeks later.

"The circumstances of these cases are just not heard of," Mader said. "Anesthesia doesn't cause pulmonary hemorrhage [bleeding from the lungs.]" These were healthy, indoor cats. Examinations conducted prior to the dental cleanings showed no indications of illness. Blood collected prior to the cats' death was tested and demonstrated the presence of the toxin produced by Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as "toxic black mold." Exposure to the mold can cause respiratory-related health problems, pulmonary hemorrhage and death in people.

It had not previously been associated with disease in pets, Mader said.

The toxin from the black mold causes a weakening of the capillaries in the lungs. When the capillaries are stressed, they burst and bleed. The cats died from complications arising from the pulmonary hemorrhage.

The cats lived in a home that sustained water damage during a hurricane in October 2005, seven months prior to the development of pulmonary hemorrhage. After Mader discovered the presence of the toxins, he urged the cats' owners to check their home for mold. "Sure enough, they had very severe mold contamination in their walls," Mader said. Mader hopes the report will raise awareness that illnesses associated with mold can also affect pets, particularly those living in flood-prone areas. He also suggests pet owners share more information with their veterinarian.

"I think the most important thing is for clients to be aware of things in their environment that could potentially impact the health of animals," Mader said. "They need to let their veterinarian know."

The AVMA and its more than 75,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of animal, human and public health.

To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Quotes

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"...at age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

Dedication