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News Article

Black Mold Poisoning in Cats

New health concern for pet owners

The deaths of two cats from what is believed to be the first documented case of toxic black mold poisoning in pets indicate a new health concern for pet owners, according to a veterinarian who co-authored the report in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Whilst performing routine dental procedures on two Himalayan cats, Douglas Mader, a veterinarian in Marathon (Florida, USA) noticed frothy blood within endotracheal tubes used to supply the anaesthetic isoflurane to both animals. He immediately stopped the procedures, but both animals died, one the following day, the other about two weeks later.

According to Mader it was unlikely that the anesthetic used could have caused the pulmonary hemorrhage the cats suffered. Both cats were healthy, indoor cats and examinations conducted prior to the dental cleanings showed no indications of illness.

Analysis of blood collected prior to the cats' death indicated the presence of satratoxin G, a toxin produced by Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as "toxic black mold." Although exposure to the mold is known to cause respiratory-related health problems, pulmonary hemorrhage and death in humans, it had not previously been associated with disease in pets, Mader said.

The toxin from the black mold weakened the capillaries in the lungs, which under conditions of stress, burst and bled. The cats died from complications arising from the pulmonary hemorrhage.

On further investigation, it was discovered that the cats lived in a home that was heavily contaminated with black mold as a result of storm damage sustained during a hurricane in October 2005, seven months prior to the development of the pulmonary hemorrhage.

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.

According to Mader, it is important for pet owners to be aware of things in their environment that could potentially impact the health of the animals and to discuss this with their veterinarian.

Acute pulmomonary hemorrhage during isoflurane anesthesia in two cats exposed to toxic black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum). Douglas R Mader, Iwona Yike, Anne M Distler, Dorr G Dearborn. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1 September 2007, Vol. 231, No. 5, pp. 731-735. doi: 10.2460/javma.231.5.731 (Abstract)

Article details

  • Date
  • 05 September 2007
  • Source
  • Amercian Veterinary Medical Association
  • Subject(s)
  • Veterinary medicine