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Exposure to mold killing off all my pets?

June 23rd, 2008, 09:57 PM
I have a pretty serious question here.
I moved into my new apartment in about 2002. Recently while searching for things that could have been making my cat sick I noticed that on the wall in the kitchen where there are outlets and a tiny open section for a washer / dryer hook-up, every time it rains an unbearable mold stench can be detected. I placed some empty pop bottles at the base of the wall where upon tiny mold particles gathered quickly in the bottom of them w/in a matter of days. So i did my best to "bandage" the situation for now by covering the outlets in paper then a layer of plastic taped to the wall. The smell is more faint, BUT the mold is still gathering in the bottles.

Here's where it gets really heartbreaking. Last summer I lost one female siamese cat she was 12 born at home. Her symptoms were as follows: bloated hard stomach, one tooth came out (at the vets), blood in urine, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, shedding, dry coat,

Then my other 9 yr old siamese became sick: with vomiting at first, now it has turned into CRF - his symptoms: had severe diarrhea recently, vomiting food then white foam or clear fluid, "neck lesions" which resulted in three teeth being removed his breath was also bad before the dental surgery, passing his food w/in minutes, of course it is hard to tell if the CRF caused most of this, or even if the condition of his teeth contributed to cause his kidney to shut down.

I fear that as at that point the food bowls were only about 8 feet away from the opening in the wall that is making all the mold. Perhaps they are having toxic reactions and have been ingesting mold particles in their food and water over the course of the years.

Now my 1.5 year old chocolate point (rescue cat) has a UTI and redness at the base of his gums near the teeth.

This is very important, as i am really at a loss about how to confront my landlord about this, if in fact the mold has caused all these health issues in my cats. Also i am completely stressed to the max, have spent well beyond my means in vet bills, hardly slept in months, and am completely heart broken in every way you can imagine.
I have moved their food bowls into the dining room, and my bedroom.

Is it possible that i have just had REALLY bad luck and my animals were getting older destined to possibly start having health problems, or does it seem feasible that the mold has caused this?

This is devastating to no end. I would really appreciate some answers from knowledgeable people.

Thank you kindly.

June 23rd, 2008, 10:31 PM
If you're washing out their food and water bowls regularly, you shouldn't worry about mold spores growing in them. What is your vet's opinion on what's causing your cats' illnesses? By your description, my first guess would be the quality of their food. What are you feeding them?

Now that's not to say that mold is not a serious problem. Not just for your cats, but for you as well. Get in touch with the rental board in your area and ask what it is you can do to get your landlord to remedy the situation asap. If the mold is between the walls, they have to be taken down and, depending on the type of mold, it must be professionally removed. The cause of the dampness must also be adressed (chances are there's water infiltration you live in a basement apartment?). In the meantime, you can also get a hygrometer to measure the amount of humidity in your home. If it's above 45, it would be a good idea to get a de-humidifier, especially during wet, humid weather. Try to block off any holes and wash areas with a solution of bleach and water.

Hope this helps while you get the situation properly resolved :fingerscr .

June 23rd, 2008, 11:15 PM
I live in a luxury warehouse apartment (though not for long at the rate things are going). On the top floor.

They were on Purina One and another sort of Purina i forget the name, most of their lives. At the time i was completely unaware of the seriousness of how bad a diet like that can be. This was well before I had access to the wealth of information provided by the internet.

I have no excuse, and will always blame myself for not being more informed on nutritional requirements. The female begged relentlessly for table scraps, she would even steal food right off your plate.

The rescue cat came to me in very bad shape, he was thin and malnurished, had earmites, dirt clogging his nose. He was not socialized, did not know how to jump up on a lap so they must have kept him in a cage. He also had poor muscle tone. They claimed he had been switched to IAMS and that had given him diarrhea. Although when i started caring for him the diarrhea stopped immediately. So i am unsure as to how he was treated before i got him.

Our current vet thought the mold was unlikely to cause all these problems in my 9 year old male, however I did not elaborate to her the full story, i just told her about the mold.
I had to switch vets involving a long commute as the vets where i live (rural ontario) are not thorough and more concearned about price gouging than saving cat's lives. They did nothing to help my female except charge $200 to knock a tooth out of her mouth while she flinched in pain and terror on the table, she became so ill we had to put her down. I had requested bloodwork and asked if she didnt need antibiotics but they really didn't seem concearned in the slightest. They even charged me for an emergency visit after i called them first thing in the morning requesting an appointment they said it was no problem, when i called back after locating a ride, they then told me "oh sorry we're booked solid, you'll have to pay for an emergency visit now or wait til next week. My father was sickened by this there was only one dog in the waiting room when we arrived.

Now I have to feed my 9 year old with CRF medi-cal gastro as he cannot eat anything else just yet, the 1.5 year old is on medi-cal URINARY SO 30 in an attempt to alleviate the crystals. To be honest i am so broke from all the vet bills i am not sure how soon i can get him in, and have already borrowed all the money i could. Now that there is redness at the base of his gums i am terrified for him as well. I will attempt to sell off my family heirlooms to try to save him. I cannot even put into words the sorrow.

June 23rd, 2008, 11:19 PM
You do not have to feed the Medi-Cal crap. Growler is one of the cat food gurus here and her Duffy has kidney problems. She just logged on and will likely post some help for you here soon. :)

June 23rd, 2008, 11:23 PM
I sent a pm to Growler so you should get a reply soon. :thumbs up

June 23rd, 2008, 11:26 PM
I don't have any advice for you but wanted to send some hugs your way.


June 23rd, 2008, 11:43 PM
Thank you guys.
This is a really fantastic board you all have going. I am very glad to have found it.

Quite note: Without having seen my 1 and a half year old, our current vet said to try the urinary SO 30, in an attempt to help his UTI.

Here were his symptoms: in case anyone knows anything at all i can be doing to keep him comfortable until i can raise the funds to have him fully vetted.

He winced after trying to urinate in the litter box and cried a little.
There is some slight leaking of his genitals. There are three small dark reddish black dots at the base of his genitals and a small dark dot on his urethra.
He does not lick himself excessively. And seems to be passing urine fine without pain for the moment, although something is clearly not right. In addition to this he has reddness at the base of his gums.

If they find a blockage or stones when i bring him in, or any other life-threatening problem, i will be nearing an emotional breakdown at this point.

Most of my friends moved, and most of my family has died. There is no end to the love and regard i hold for animals. From horses to sugar gliders.

Seeing my cats become ill like this, almost all at once, has been the most painful thing I've dealt with since the death of my grandfather.

June 23rd, 2008, 11:49 PM
Here is the thread that Growler posted about her Duffy. I'm sure she will be replying soon.

June 23rd, 2008, 11:50 PM
Does the 1.5 yr old currently have crystals? Crystals are different from CRF.

Do you have current blood & urine work on the 1.5 yr old and the 9 yr old?

One of the symptoms of CRF is neck lesions/cavities/mouth ulcers. This may lead to needing teeth removed.

My CRF :cat: Duffy just had several teeth removed afterwards a cat needs to be on a canned food for several days but it most definately doesn't need to be vet prescription food.

Wellness Chicken, Turkey, Beef & Chicken have the lowest phos levels of their varieties. Eagle Pack Holistic Select and Nature's Variety are also good holistic brands.

June 24th, 2008, 12:05 AM
The mold issue I would think would present with cold/flu symptoms :shrug:

What kind of dishes are you using? Stainless steel are the best, followed by non-porous stoneware. Plastic can trap mold/bacteria on & in the surface.

Eagle Pack Holistic Select ( or Wellness ( canned food is what I would recommend to feed for a UTI.

How much water are they drinking? How often are they peeing? Any blood in the urine? Any noticable increase in water intake or urine output recently?

June 24th, 2008, 12:37 AM
Having just read your other thread a couple more questions:

Are you still wetting down the dry food? How long does it sit in the dish before it is all eaten?

Dryfood that has moisture added to it is a breeding ground for mold & bacteria unless it is eaten within 1 hour of being watered down. The chemicals and preservatives in the dryfood react badly to moisture. Also depending on how it is stored by the warehouse & how long there have been some companies in the past with issues of mold on the food in the sealed bag.

June 24th, 2008, 12:59 AM
I just read your other thread now and I agree that you should not add water to dry food for cats as they are usually nibblers and do not eat it all right away.

June 24th, 2008, 07:24 AM
well it sounds like you have a few other easier tochange issues than the mold although i would *not* discredit the mold being a problem. we had a mold issue in the house and every single one of the living creatures in the house was sick with in 1 month. nausea, headaches, URI, funky poo and strangly enough, uncharacteristic irritation and aggression (yep us people too!!). that just happens to be the mold WE had. other molds get a different reaction.

if even for your own safety or at least so your apartment can fix whatever is causing the mold.... you need to tell them about it. as a home owner.... thats likely to be a serious problem thats only going to get worse as time goes by.

good luck with it!!


June 24th, 2008, 02:17 PM
I cannot thank everyone enough for being kind enough to take the time to help us. This has been by far the most helpful forum.

I feed them in porcelain dishes usually only what they will eat w/in each feeding. Small meals 3 - 4 times a day. I have been wetting the dry for both.
Glass water bowls.

My 9 year old had bloodwork, a full range of antibiotics, antibacterial, drugs and painkillers. his health improved dramatically after the dental surgery. He also had an X-Ray to rule out blockages.
bloodwork: may 31st
UREA - 19.4
CREA - 323
PHOS - 1.98
K - 5.9
WBC - 10.9
(I can post more values if that would be helpful)

bloodwork June 11th (after feeding the venison and rice)
UREA - 13.9
CREA - 370 (the vet suggested it was elevated from the venison)
K - 3.3 - kinda low perhaps from all the severe diarrhea and vomiting he had been enduring. :/

Have not had bloodwork done since the dental surgery. But i am very hopeful once i switch to the foods Growler suggested that he will continue to improve.
He went from dying before my eyes, to returning to most of his normal daily habits. Although he sleeps a lot. But is back to hugging, leaning in for kisses, purring and kneading. He even runs a short distance down the halls once or twice a day when he feels frisky.
There has been some increase in the amount of his urine due to wetting the food, however he only goes two to three times a day. And finally is having one normal stool a day. (Although yesterday there was a tiny bit of softer yellow) But i think i caught him sneaking his brother's food. so..


The one and a half year old I rescued has not had his bloodwork done yet, as i need to figure out a way to finance it first. I only noticed the change in his urination habits after adding an additional litter box to the bedroom for elvis.
Since feeding him the Urinary SO 30 - he has not winced or acted like he was in pain or cried out when going to the washroom. His stools are normal he plays and runs around a lot has very soft fur and is quite the character! It occured to me last night i caught him once eating a dried ornamental grass from my garden. It was up high on a dresser but he snuck in there anyhow. I wonder if that could have caused the redness on his gums at the base of his teeth. Needless to say i have removed the dried plants and put most of the house plants way up high where he cant go.
He seems to be drinking and going to the washroom a normal amount now, though a few weeks ago he drank more water when it hurt.

Neither cat has blood in their urine. thankfully. (knock on wood)

June 24th, 2008, 10:35 PM
What is Elvis' Calcium level? and Urine Specific Gravity?

Personally :2cents: with those creatinine and phos numbers I would be doing sub q fluids & talking to the vet about starting an aluminum hydroxide phosphorus binder.

My 17 yr old girl's cre number when last tested in mar was 223 & her BUN 17 she's scheduled for retesting early Aug & I am going to talk to her homeopath vet about starting sub q's as an early boost to her system, right now she feels great & acts like a healthy 5yr old. :D

Great that the BUN dropped :thumbs up the venison could very well have boosted the Cre #, certain meats like rabbit are high in phos so that should be limited.

For the 1.5 yr olds red gums it is possible it was the plant, many are toxic some are just irritating to cats. I would keep a close eye on his mouth just in case. :goodvibes:

Was his urine tested for crystals or cultured for bacteria?

June 25th, 2008, 03:18 AM
Ca - 2.61

hmm she did not test his urine. :/ I might eventually look into another vet for a second opinion, but this will mean an even farther commute. How often should one have bloodwork done when adding aluminum hydroxide to the food? because i am tapped out financially at this point in time.

Are there any brands of Aluminum Hydroxide you would recommend specifically available in Canada? I hope to purchase this over the counter at my local pharmacy. For example is Alugel suitable?
I will run some brands across my vet and check for availability.


[Havent been able to get the 1.5 year old in yet. My vet bills are kinda staggering rn.]

June 25th, 2008, 12:05 PM
I am sorry I don't have any advice but did want to offer you a :grouphug: and to wish you luck.

June 25th, 2008, 07:32 PM
Ca - 2.61

hmm she did not test his urine. :/ I might eventually look into another vet for a second opinion, but this will mean an even farther commute. How often should one have bloodwork done when adding aluminum hydroxide to the food? because i am tapped out financially at this point in time.

Elvis's Calcium level is fine & in normal range but the Calcium Phosphorus ratio is definately out of normal range (Phos should be close to half the amount of Calcium), IMO phos binder is a good option right now.

Urine tests should be done @ the same time as the bloodwork for any animal dealing with kidney issues. Depending on how you & your vet feels the cat is doing both blood & urine work should be done every 3 months until the BUN & Cre levels have stabilized (not increasing in a rapid fashion) or are starting to drop, once stabilized they can be done every 6 months. This is regardless of a phos binder or other treatment methods.

Are there any brands of Aluminum Hydroxide you would recommend specifically available in Canada? I hope to purchase this over the counter at my local pharmacy. For example is Alugel suitable?
I will run some brands across my vet and check for availability.


[Havent been able to get the 1.5 year old in yet. My vet bills are kinda staggering rn.]

I can't personally recommend a brand since I have not needed them so far with my cat (her calcium & phos levels have stay within normal range), however you can get generic tasteless & odorless aluminium hydroxide powder from the pharmacy. Many vets will prescribe a liquid form that is often unpleasant tasting to cats and do not know there is the powder form available

*You must have your vet's co-operation & instructions/prescription regarding dosage, testing for possible calcium deficiencies as a result of using a binder & any possible side effects*

:goodvibes: for continued improvement in Elvis & your other kitty (btw what's his name? :o)