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A recent story about a little dog Dexter that has sadly passed away due to this type of poisoning has sparked the conversation about this issue, and we would like to help spread the word about mycotoxin poisoning in pets.

Many owners may not be aware of this but the mould that grows on certain spoiled foods is very toxic if ingested by our pets (Mycotoxicosis). When foods such as bread, cheese, pasta, walnuts, and other organic materials start decomposing inside our waste bins, different types of fungus such as Aspergillus spp. and Penicillium spp. often start growing over them.

These fungi produce toxins which, if ingested, can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, liver damage, uncoordinated movements, muscle tremors, seizures, an elevated temperature and even death.

Dogs are the ones usually involved as they tend to be more adventurous about their food choices. Small amounts are enough to cause severe clinical signs and simply licking some mould residue from the inside of an unwashed food caddy can be deadly.

The best course of action is to ensure you keep your pet away from any potentially dangerous leftovers during your daily recycling routines. If you notice your pet is showing any of the signs mentioned before, do not hesitate and bring your pet to the vet.

This post is dedicated to Dexter, an amazing little dog that made a massive impact on anyone who met him.

dog ill with mycotoxicosis poisoning

Georgie and Dexter Courtesy of Wheelhouse Veterinary Centre Facebook page

Sarah Dent is Dexter’s owner and these are her words courtesy of The Wheelhouse Veterinary Centre Facebook page
“I would like to share with you our last horrific 24 hours in a hope that it may bring awareness to those of you who may also be unaware of a danger we have in our gardens that is potentially fatal to our beloved dogs.. (or cats, although they probably would have more sense)

Yesterday our bins were emptied including the recycling food caddy. I always keep my food caddy up high or my dogs would find a way of getting to the contents.

In my haste yesterday I put the bins back after they’d been emptied, replacing the food caddy (unwashed) to its usual position. In yesterday’s wind it must have blown down and one of my dogs licked clean the mould residue from the inside of the caddy.

What followed was one of the worst evenings of our lives. Dexter started convulsing and had severe tremors almost immediately and was unable to breathe, seeing the bin laying open in the garden I guessed he was poisoned, it was in fact toxic shock.

Knowing my other dog had not been outside I scooped up Dexter and drove him to the vets, where he was unconscious on arrival. The vets were amazing and set to work trying to stabilise him.

We left for home and when we arrived we found our other dog in the same condition on the kitchen floor. In our earlier panic, we hadn’t seen that Dexter had been sick and Georgie had eaten it and the effects were the same. She too was unconscious by the time we arrived back at the vets.

The amazing Wheelhouse vets in Chesham worked well into the night with ‘Vets now’ in Hemel whilst our beloved pets were in comas all night, keeping their hearts going as the infection attacked their insides.

They informed us that it was unlikely they would survive this and to prepare for the worse as they were really very sick and being under anaesthetic for such a long period would probably cause brain damage.

By the grace of god and some pretty amazing people our fur babies did make it through the night and are out of their induced comas.

They aren’t out of the woods yet, one is far more poorly than the other. But it’s looking likely that Georgie will survive this.”

dog dexter very ill from poisoning

Dexter Courtesy of Wheelhouse Veterinary Centre Facebook page and Mrs Dent

Dexter’s family are absolutely heartbroken, and they hope that by raising awareness of what happened to their dogs, they can prevent animals or children from being poisoned in the future.

Mrs Dent was quoted on Wheelhouse Veterinary Centre’s Facebook page as saying,

rubbish bin

Photo courtesy of Wheelhouse Veterinary Centre Facebook page

”I have many regrets because I love my dogs dearly and have spent their lives trying to keep them safe from things. I only wish I’d known the danger of mould in bread, and the residue it leaves behind.

I would have never left this caddy in the back garden, even out of reach, had I realised just how poisonous this was to my animals. I will be reviewing my recycling procedures, lining my caddy and keeping it locked away.

“Please be aware of this if you have dogs, so that hopefully this doesn’t happen to anyone else”

A spokesperson for Wheelhouse Veterinary Centre advised on the same post, “There is a certain type of mould that is fatal, not all mould.

This is the mould that comes from things such as bread, cheese, pasta, walnuts. Especially concentrated in a sealed environment such as a container.

Mycotoxicosis is a term used to denote poisoning by food products contaminated by fungi (i.e., mouldy bread, cheese, English walnuts, or even a backyard compost).

As well as being toxic to humans, fungi release various toxins, also called mycotoxins, that are toxic to cats and dogs.”

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