Toxic molds

Mold is not just mold.

A vast array of molds pop up and grow on all types of foods.  Some of the molds are harmless but a few can be toxic called tremorgenic mycotoxins which if eaten can cause serious to life threatening health issues.  You cannot discern whether or not a mold is toxic or not so the safest bet is to toss it.  I remember joining a canine food co-op a while back and after hearing what everyone was feeding their dogs, I made a rapid exit. Some of the folks were feeding moldy, processed, nitrate filled and high fat content food.  Sure it was free but should it have been fed to their dogs?  There are things that I'll never eat but my dogs will and love.  Items like  sinew, cartilage, sardines and other animal parts that I will never eat, but are really great to feed dogs.   But garbage is garbage and should not be fed to dogs.

Tremorgenic mycotoxin poisoning symptoms start with mild tremors and may increase with time to convulsions.  In severe cases it can lead to death; so time is of the essence.  There is no safe way to treat this at home; even inducing vomiting is risky as the dog may in fact aspirate vomit causing aspiration pneumonia which is a common secondary cause of death related to tremorgenic mycotoxin poisoning. 

Compost eating is a common cause of tremorgenic mycotoxin poisoning.   We all know that many dogs are garbage hounds and a bit of mold will not deter them from eating a perfectly good (in their mind) piece of food.  Compost bins need to be kept secure with no way for a dog to get in and eat the contents. 

Of course this is not only a compost issue; it can be garbage from anywhere so cans are off limits as well.  Unfortunately dogs tend to be much smarter than the humans in the this department; simply waiting until no one is around.  So if your dog is outsmarting you with regards to the garbage can you need to make sure that they absolutely cannot get into it.  One moldy piece of food could be all that it takes for serious health issues to set in.  

Several articles on the subject below: 

Molly's compost binge

Beauregard's tremors

Compost poisoning

Lack of diagnosis to the root cause of tremors and seizures is common; so too are Tremorgenic mycotoxin bacteria.  How many dogs have eaten these bacteria; had tremors, a seizure and died?  


  1. Thanks so much for the warning. Time to move the back yard compost bin. Ember's on prednisone and her "hungry switch" is stuck in the "on" position. She can't get in the bin, but I'm not taking chances - and NOT spreading this compost in the back yard!

    We've had another hazard in the yard this year that I've not seen in the past - mushrooms, mushroom, mushrooms. It's been so wet and damp this year that they're in the mulch, in the grass, everywhere. I can't tell a poisonous mushroom from one that's not harmful, but who wants to take chances? I'm out before the dogs' morning potty to get the worst of them out, then again while they're out to get what I missed on the first pass.

  2. Denise; we sometimes have mushrooms as well and like you I'm out in the morning picking them and tossing before the dogs are out.


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