Dog owners warned to keep pets away from compost bins due to mould threat

As food rots, it produces compounds that are potentially fatal when ingested by animals

Olivia Petter
Wednesday 26 December 2018 13:41
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A veterinary charity is warning dog owners to stop their pets from eating out of compost bins due to the potentially life-threatening risks that food waste poses to animals.

The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) has cited an incident involving two rescue dogs, Cleo and Cobbi, that had to be rushed to a nearby animal hospital after eating rotting potatoes that had been left in a bin outside their owner’s home in Crewe, Cheshire.

According to senior vet at the charity Andrew Hunt, these foods may contain potentially fatal toxins.

"As foods rot, the mould that occurs can produce compounds called mycotoxins,” he explains.

"These are naturally occurring substances and while some types can be beneficial, such as penicillin, others can be highly toxic to both humans and animals.

Cleo (left) and Cobi who were rushed to the PDSA Stoke-on-Trent pet hospital when they were left in a life-threatening condition after eating old potatoes raided from a locked compost caddy kept in a shed at their owner's home in Crewe, Cheshire.

"Cleo and Cobi had eaten a large amount of mouldy food and were suffering from serious mycotoxicosis.”

Hunt added that there’s no cure for this particular type of poisoning, but that symptoms can be alleviated with the right treatment.

"[This] involves supporting the dogs to try and reduce their risk of seizures and other effects of poisoning while their bodies work through the toxins,” he said.

"The vets were doing everything they could, but we just had to wait and see how they would respond."

Both animals suffered from fits and were put on drips to combat the effect of the toxins in the potatoes.

Ash Beresford, 24, who owns the dogs, explained how he could tell something was wrong with his pets immediately.

“I came home to find Cobi shaking with her eyes glazed over, and Cleo was unconscious,” he said, adding that it was only after he spotted the empty bin that he’d realised what had happened and rushed them to the nearest animal hospital in Stoke-on-Trent.

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“At one point I was advised to say my goodbyes as it wasn't certain that they would pull through,” he confessed.

"When I got the call early the next morning to say they were out of danger, I can't even begin to describe the relief I felt."

Beresford is now planning on doing a Tough Mudder challenge in 2019 to raise funds for PDSA.

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