Three-year-old Mako the Domestic Medium Hair cat was in a spot of trouble a couple of weeks ago when his owners had to rush him down to the emergency vet in the early hours of the morning as he was suddenly suffering from severe tremors. On questioning, it was discovered that Mako’s appetite was quite out of the ordinary (especially for a cat), and that there was a possibility that he had gotten into his family’s compost bin. After vomiting was induced and Mako brought up some potato skins, suspicions that he was most likely suffering from tremorgenic mycotoxicity was confirmed. Tremorgenic mycotoxicity in animals is a condition caused by the ingestion of mycotoxins, which are toxic compounds produced by certain moulds. These mycotoxins can contaminate various types of food, particularly grains and cereals, and can lead to a range of neurological symptoms in domestic animals. When an animal consumes mycotoxin-contaminated food, the mycotoxins are absorbed into the bloodstream and generally affect the central nervous system, leading to severe neurological symptoms. Mako was known for his unusual appetite, but it had never posed such a risk to his life before.
The highest priority was to reduce Mako’s tremors and support his body with IV fluid therapy whilst the toxins took their time to move through his body. He began to receive a very strong muscle relaxant and anti-seizure medication called Methocarbamol, which helped to stop his tremors for a time, but these would begin again as soon as the medication began to wear off. This meant that he needed to continue his care through the next day and possibly beyond, so was transferred to the team at Berwick who took over his case.
Animals affected by tremorgenic mycotoxicity may exhibit a range of symptoms, which can vary in severity. Common signs include; tremors and shaking (hence the name), muscle rigidity or stiffness, incoordination or difficulty walking, seizures, increased heart rate and breathing rate, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur, as the mycotoxins can irritate the gastrointestinal tract. If tremorgenic mycotoxicity is not treated quickly and effectively, it can prove to be fatal. It is critically important to ensure that all rubbish bins in your home are out of reach of your pets or have sturdy lids they can’t knock open, and that compost bins are always securely covered outside.
Mako spent many days (and nights) in hospital with both clinics receiving lots of supportive care, continuing medications and lots of small frequent meals, those of which he ate with gusto through it all, his strong appetite not affected! He had difficulty moving around like normal, but still managed to hop in and out of his litter tray to urinate and was always happy for some pats when his tremors calmed down. With close monitoring, medications, and lots of IV fluid therapy to help get those nasty toxins out of his body, Mako made a full recovery and is now enjoying life back in the comfort of his own home. He may think twice about looking in peculiar places for food in future and just stick to what’s given to him in his dinner bowl! We hope you’ve learnt your lesson, cheeky Mako and we are so glad you are feeling better!