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Fungal Toxicosis Related to Fusarium Fungus in Cats

Mycotoxicosis-Deoxynivalenol in Cats

Deoxynivalenol (DON), also known as vomitoxin for its effect on the digestive system, is a mycotoxin produced by the fungus Fusarium graminearum in grains such as corn, wheat, oats, and barley. Mycotoxicosis is the medical term used to describe a diseased state that is brought on by a mycotoxin, a toxic chemical that is produced by a fungal organism, such as molds and yeasts. Mycotoxicosis-deoxynivalenol refers to the toxic reaction that results when a cat ingests pet food that was made with DON-contaminated grain.

Symptoms and Types

Known symptoms of mycotoxicosis-deoxynivalenol include a sudden refusal of food and/or vomiting after the ingestion of food contaminated by DON. The refusal of food with concurrent vomiting may also lead to subsequent weight loss. Note that if the contaminated food is removed and no longer given, these abnormal signs may resolve and no treatment will be necessary.

Studies have shown that vomiting in cats is common if DON concentration in food is greater than eight milligrams per kilogram of food.

Causes

Mycotoxicosis-deoxynivalenol is caused by the ingestion of grains (for example, barley, wheat, corn or oats and other grains commonly used in the production of pet feeds) that are contaminated by the fungus known as Fusarium. This fungus may react in the body in a toxic manner, leading to symptoms such as vomiting, refusal of food, and weight loss.

Diagnosis

You will need to give a thorough history of your cat's health and onset of symptoms. Diagnosis of mycotoxicosis-deoxynivalenol can be achieved by analyzing the suspected cat food for the presence of DON. Other diagnostic procedures that may rule out diseases with similar symptoms to those of mycotoxicosis-deoxynivalenol (namely inappetite and vomiting) include X-rays, chemical blood profile, and urine analysis.

Alternate diagnoses may include an infection due to virus, bacteria, or parasite, exposure to various toxins (such as ethanol poisoning), ingestion of poisonous plants (lilies for cats for example), tumors or other abnormal cell growths, or an infection of the pancreas.

 
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