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Vet Tech Rounds: Mold Allergies in Cats and Dogs

Vet Talks 4 min read
Vet Tech Rounds: Mold Allergies in Cats and Dogs

Dogs and cats can suffer from allergies to many different substances, whether food-related or environmental. One common cause of allergies in pets is mold. To some degree, mold is present everywhere.

Where does Mold hide?

Molds are multicellular organisms that thrive in damp environments.

Molds are multicellular organisms that thrive in damp environments. Indoors it is most often found in basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. Outdoors it can be found in any moist area like decaying plant material. Mold multiplies using spores. Spores are a very light material that allows them to become airborne and travel to new locations to multiply. Because of this, spores can very easily be inhaled or adhere to the skin and coat of your pet.

Symptoms of Mold Allergies in Pets

Although humans often see a manifestation of mold allergies in respiratory symptoms, in pets the main symptoms are usually skin related. These symptoms may include:

  • itching
  • redness of the skin
  • dry, scaly skin
  • hair loss
  • chronic ear infections
  • head shaking
  • chewing/licking skin, especially the paws

It is also possible for molds to cause respiratory symptoms and diseases, however, this is not as common in pets as skin-related symptoms.

mold allergies in pets

Types of Mold

There are many, many types of mold, but these are some of the most common along with where they are commonly found.

  • •   Aspergillus – found in plants and damp basements
  • •   Spondylocladium – found in plants or in air ducts
  • •   Hormodendrum – found on leaves
  • •   Fusarium – found on plants, often crops
  • •   Penicillium – found on plants or stored items
  • •   Helminthosporium – found in soil, especially in summer

Diagnosis of Mold Allergies in Pets

A pet who is allergic to molds is often also affected by other inhalant allergens like dust and pollen.

Many times, the diagnosis of these types of allergies is based on symptoms rather than diagnostic testing. In this case, the diagnosis is generalized to ‘environmental allergies’. It is possible to pinpoint exactly what a pet may be allergic to. This is usually done at a veterinary dermatologist’s office using a skin test. This procedure involves exposing your pet’s skin to very small amounts of allergens and watching for a reaction on the skin. There are also blood tests that can pinpoint allergens, however, these can be limiting for some pet parents due to their cost. It is not possible to test a pet for allergies using their fur or saliva.

dog allergies

Management and Treatment of Mold Allergies in Pets

Treatment of mold allergies in pets involves avoiding possible contact with the allergen. Obviously, due to the nature of mold, this is not 100% effective in most cases.

cat allergies

Where possible, keep your pet out of damp basements or garages.

After walks either bathe your pet if possible or wipe them down with a damp cloth to remove any mold spores which may be clinging to their skin and coat.

Severe skin defects like hot spots or ear infections should be treated by your veterinarian promptly to avoid worsening symptoms.

In severe cases, a veterinary dermatologist can develop a custom immune-therapy regimen, which is an injection given regularly to slowly build up your pet’s resistance to certain allergens.

NHV Stimmune can help the body regulate the histamine response when your pet comes into contact with allergens. Because allergies are an overreaction of the immune system, Stimmune can help to balance the immune system and control this response.

NHV Ouch Away can help to topically soothe skin irritation and heal damaged skin. It also can help to promote hair re-growth once the skin has healed.

PetOmega 3 is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential in helping to strengthen the skin barrier. Keeping the skin healthy helps to prevent secondary infections caused by allergies.

dog allergies

Mold allergies can become very difficult to deal with and sometimes the entire household can have a reaction. This could be due to mold toxicity and the symptoms would worsen quickly including decreased appetite, vomiting, and stool changes. It is important to keep your pets in a mold-free environment. Long-term exposure to mold can sometimes lead to serious respiratory problems. Do you have questions about mold allergies in cats and dogs? Ask your NHV Pet Experts for advice today!

Johanna RVT

Johanna RVT

Johanna is NHV’s in house Registered Veterinary Technician. Technicians are the veterinary equivalent of a human nurse. Johanna has over 10 years of experience in different types of veterinary clinics and hospitals. She has seen and assisted in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions and injuries. She will share her experiences in her monthly blog series “Vet Tech Rounds” to help our extended NHV family learn about common preventable medical cases and other interesting stories of vet clinic life.

Published: October 18, 2019

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