Fall means many things to many people, and for us here at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital, it means being mindful of mushrooms! For nature lovers and mushroom pickers, this is an exciting time of year, but for animal lovers, it can also be dangerous. When out hiking and walking trails, all wild-growing mushrooms should be considered toxic and should be avoided. Remember, our dogs are scavengers by nature and are at high risk for mushroom ingestion and poisoning. The most common seasons we see mushroom toxicity here at the hospital are spring, summer and fall.
Toxic mushrooms are divided into eight groups based on their toxin type. You may be surprised to learn that six of these groups have representative members common throughout North America.
Signs of mushroom toxicity can vary depending on the type of mushroom. Symptoms of mushroom toxicity include:
- Excessive salivation
- Abdominal pain (hunched over stance, whimpering when picked up)
If your pet experiences any of the above symptoms and there is a suspicion that your dog has been exposed to mushrooms, you should contact your veterinarian right away. While a lot of mushrooms may cause some gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhea), some varieties may cause liver and/or kidney failure and consequently death if not treated quickly.
Prevention is the best medicine. Regular checks of your yard and gardens for the presence of mushrooms significantly reduce the risk. Walking your dogs in parks and running them off leash is an excellent form of exercise but it may be wise to keep them on a leash during mushroom season.
There is no adequate home care for mushroom toxicity. If you know or suspect that your dog has eaten mushrooms, it is best to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Written by: Van Isle Veterinary Hospital