Claude the French Bulldog tragically died after eating mouldy food from waste caddy

A heartbroken pet owner has issued a warning after her dog died from eating mouldy food from the family’s recycling bin.

Kay King, from Frimley in Surrey, said she had no idea of the poisonous effects of mould until her three-year-old French bulldog Claude got hold of some leftovers from the food waste caddy in her garden.

Sadly the poisoning was so severe that within an hour Claude’s heart stopped.

She said: “Claude was a food monster, he would eat anything. We discovered fairly early that he preferred human food over dog food – he was a typical bulldog.

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“When I was cleaning out the green food caddy from our garden, I kept Claude in our house while I sorted it in our back garden. I was more worried about him getting hold of the bleach than any mouldy food.

“While I went in to put away the food, he woke up and went outside where he got hold of the last bag of food I’d sorted. He opened it with his teeth and ate a good few tablespoons’ worth of very old, mouldy food.

“I panicked at first but had no knowledge of mould to actually worry too much. He started by having a very odd reaction, he was slowly building up to horrendous seizures and tremors. His eyes were all about the place and he just couldn’t focus on anything or anyone.”

As any concerned owner would, Kay, who works as a retail supervisor, got straight on the phone to Vets Now, who advised her to rush Claude to their Farnham clinic as quickly as possible. It was only then that the severity of the situation really dawned on her.

“On the way to the vets, Claude must have held on as he knew we were trying to get him help,” she said.

“We arrived and I put him into the vet’s arms and begged her to save him. I sat and waited for five minutes until the worst news I ever could have heard came next; they told me he was dying of poisoning from the mouldy food.

“I was warned to prepare for the worst as he was in a terrible way. Two or three minutes later his heart went into cardiac arrest. I opted for CPR, but it was just too late. He was gone forever.”

Claude was suffering from a condition called tremorgenic mycotoxicosis, which is a severe and potentially deadly systemic poisoning. It typically affects dogs with indiscriminate eating habits and is more common than many owners think.

Image of Claude the French Bulldog for Vets Now article on mycotoxin ingestion dogs
Claude tragically died after eating mouldy food from a food waste caddy

Our vets warn owners to be aware of the dangers of mouldy food, and to take as much care as possible to make sure pets can’t get into food recycling or compost bins.

Laura Playforth, Vets Now’s professional standards director, said: “This was a tragic case and my heart goes out to Kay and her family who must be devastated.

“It demonstrates all too clearly just how important it is people dispose of leftovers carefully and keep food waste bins well out of reach.

“The most common signs of this type of poisoning are overheating, drooling, vomiting, tremors and seizures and while these signs typically begin within one to two hours of exposure, they may be delayed for several hours.

“If you’re worried your dog has eaten mouldy food, such as bread, nuts and dairy products, contact your vet as quickly as possible. Time really is of the essence.”

The loss of Claude was a huge blow, not only to Kay and her partner, but also her mum, who often looked after him. Having suffered heartache, Kay also warned owners to take as much care as possible with recycling bins.

She said: “If I knew what I know now, Claude would still be with us. He wasn’t your average dog, he was amazing and he didn’t deserve to die so badly and so young.

“We had no choice but to say goodbye to each other, and that is my main reason for warning other owners.

“I see posts all day of people joking about their dog getting into their bins. It is not a joke, it is a deadly mistake to make!”

The pet emergency clinic at Farnham is one of a nationwide network of Vets Now clinics and hospitals which are open through the night, seven days a week, and day and night at weekends and bank holidays.

All of Vets Now’s out of hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and a veterinary nurse on site at all times.