Mycotoxins in Dog Food

Mycotoxins are a very dangerous and potentially lethal set of toxic substances that are generated by certain types of molds. Unfortunately for dog owners everywhere, these substances can occasionally develop as a result of some of the ingredients in dry dog food having gone bad or having aged poorly. There is generally no way to test out a dry food for the presence of these toxins. However, it's good to know about how to best avoid them and what to do if you suspect that your pet may have ingested some of these potentially fatal substances.

Mycotoxin Overview

Mycotoxins are certain types of fungus that can grow in corn meal, millet, nuts and certain other types of food. Some of these ingredients are common in pet foods of various types. You'll generally not find them in canned dog food, and canned dog food is also better preserved than dry food. Dry food is traditionally the place where mycotoxins can grow and spread to your dog through ingestion.

Mycotoxin Symptoms

If your pet has ingested mycotoxins, he may display any of the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Heart palpitations and cardiac arrest
  • Jaundice
  • Liver damage
  • Tendency to avoid or fear sunlight
  • Heavy breathing or panting while resting

If you notice any of these symptoms, particularly if you notice two or more of them in conjunction at the same time, there's a chance that your pet has ingested mycotoxins. because these toxins require a certain quantity to be in your pet's system in order to cause him death and other major health issues, you may be able to stop the buildup of the toxins before any severe issues arise. Take your pet to a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Mycotoxin Diagnosis

One of the best ways to determine if your pet has ingested mycotoxins is to test the food that he's eaten recently. Mycotoxin responses will be quite quick, so you should check the food that he's been eating over the past few days. Bring a small sample to your veterinary office, where they can run sample tests in the lab. You may also be able to buy mycotoxin testers to use at home from supply and feed stores.

Your vet will conduct a similar set of tests using your pet's blood as a basis. If he suspects that your dog has injected mycotoxins, he'll draw a small blood sample to use for this procedure.

Mycotoxin Treatment

If your pet has ingested a non lethal level of mycotoxins, your vet may recommend certain cleansing agents or drugs that will help to flush the toxins from his system gradually. You'll also need to change your pet's diet immediately. If your pet has ingested a potentially lethal level of mycotoxins, your vet will suggest certain emergency cleansing techniques and may need to keep your pet in a veterinary hospital for several days to monitor him closely. Once he is cleared up, you will also need to change his food schedule and his diet as well.