Molly’s Moldy Mishap

September 16, 2021

moldy stock

This month, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC)’s Case of the Month takes a look at Molly, a nine-month-old Australian Shepherd-mix who helped herself to a dangerous snack.  

One August morning, Molly’s pet parent cleaned out the refrigerator. One of the items that was tossed out was a pot of chicken soup with cheese that had visible mold on the top. They dumped the soup outside, not thinking that it could cause any problems.

While outside, curious Molly ended up getting into the moldy soup. About an hour later, Molly began to feel sick. She started drooling and then her body began to shake.  By the time her pet parent got her into a veterinary clinic, her tremors had progressed to seizures.  

So, what happened to Sophie?  How could some old soup cause her to become so sick?

The problem was in the mold that was growing on the soup. Some types of mold can produce toxins that cause tremors and, in some cases like Molly’s, these tremors can be severe. 

These types of molds are commonly found growing on dairy products, grains, shells/husks and in compost. Dogs are commonly exposed to these toxins when they get into the trash and eat something moldy or start nosing around in the compost pile.  Another common source of exposure is chewing on moldy walnuts shells/husks as they fall from trees.  Keeping your dog away from moldy foods, cleaning up moldy shells/husks in the yard and securing your compost pile are all important ways to prevent exposures. While people know to avoid eating moldy foods, dogs are indiscriminate eaters and probably see the mold as a yummy topping—so they dive right in.  

Signs from ingesting mold can come on quickly so if your dog starts drooling or begins shaking, take then into a vet clinic right away.

Thanks to the quick work by Molly’s veterinarian and the APCC, Molly was given medications to stop the seizures and the tremors and made a full recovery after 24 hours in the hospital.

If you believe your pet may have ingested something with mold on it or another potentially toxic substance contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.