By Bill Barboni, DVM and Chris Pitts, RVT, Marin Pet Hospital, San Rafael, CA
The first rains of the season can bring with them the first mushrooms of the season as well. Many a dog has been known to nibble on mushrooms as they pop out of your lawn or out of grasses on your favorite trail. The problem is, many kinds of mushrooms are toxic to your dog.
Symptoms of mushroom toxicity can include weakness, nausea, euphoria, and seizures. These symptoms can occur half an hour to four hours post ingestion of the mushroom. The internal damage to your pet can range from liver failure to lifelong seizure activity.
If you suspect that your dog has eaten a mushroom, you should take him to a veterinarian ASAP. Typically, the veterinarian will induce vomiting and give your dog activated charcoal to assist in absorbing the toxin from the GI tract. A blood panel may be drawn to establish the level of damage to your dog’s liver. In addition, your veterinarian may recommend intravenous fluids and medications for supportive care.
Wild mushrooms should be regarded as toxic unless you are a professional mycologist. If you bring a sample of the mushroom to your veterinary visit, wrap it in a damp paper towel and put it in a plastic bag. Keeping the mushroom moist will help the poison control’s mycologist determine which kind of mushroom it is. However, treatment to your pet will need to begin prior to the mushroom being identified, as the sooner your pet receives treatment, the better the outcome. If left untreated, death can result.
The best prevention is to go over your yard and pull out and securely dispose of any mushrooms. In addition, keep your eyes out on your favorite trails. If you see any mushrooms, either steer your dog clear of the area or put him on leash to keep his lips off the mushrooms.