We’ve all heard the phrase “when it rains, it pours.” Well, now that the rainy season is upon us, that couldn’t be a truer statement if you discover that your dog grabbed a wild mushroom from the backyard or on a hike.
Essentially, 99% of mushrooms are harmless, but that 1% can prove to be quite deadly if left untreated.
I Think My Pet Ate a Mushroom
If you discover or even suspect that your pet has ingested a mushroom, calling your veterinarian or the ASPCA poison control is going to be paramount. The identification of the mushroom needs to be determined, as different mushrooms produce vastly diverse symptoms in pets. You must be extremely detailed in describing your pet’s symptoms.
Snap a photo of the mushroom you think your pet ate if possible or bring a sample with you if you’re going to the vet. Mushrooms can be difficult to identify, so the more information you can gather the better.
Symptoms of Mushroom Toxicity
While some mushrooms break down vital organs such as the kidneys or liver, others affect the central nervous system, and some less toxic ones just irritate the GI system. A few signs to look for when dealing with mushroom toxicity are:
Hepatotoxic (affecting liver):
- Delayed stomach upset (6-12 hours post-ingestion)
- Lethargy or weakness
Neurotoxic (neurologic effects)
- Excessive vomiting or diarrhea
- Respiratory distress
Nephrotoxic (affecting kidneys)
- Nausea & vomiting
Treatment for Mushroom Toxicity
With treatment however, the ingestion of toxic mushrooms can have a positive outcome, especially if done quickly. Emesis (the induction of vomiting) followed by the administration of charcoal to bind any leftover toxins are both particularly vital. That being said, only a small window of a few hours is allotted for this type of treatment, as it must be done before the mushroom has been fully digested.
Preventing Mushroom Poisoning
Poisonous mushrooms aside, this is wonderful time of year to spend it in the great outdoors with your pets. There are a few things you can do to prevent mushroom poisoning for your pets:
- Remove mushrooms that pop up in your yard in the spring/summer.
- Patrol the yard regularly- they can sprout up quite fast!
- Be observant while out on walks or hikes, especially in shady wooded areas.
- Keep your dog on a leash in areas with mushrooms.