Depending on where you live, you may have noticed mushrooms seemingly popping up out of nowhere in your yard during certain times of the year. In Wisconsin, we have seen more mushrooms than ever this fall and, unfortunately, along with that, we have also seen an unprecedented number of mushroom toxicity cases in veterinary hospitals.
So, as a pet owner, what do you need to know about mushrooms?
Unfortunately, mushroom identification is no easy task and often requires the input of a mycologist (mushroom expert). Toxicologists and veterinarians find it easiest to reference mushroom experts on social media! A Facebook page (The Mushroom Identification Group) allows you to post a picture of a mushroom and obtain responses from mushroom enthusiasts.
- Many mushrooms cause minor GI upset (vomiting, diarrhea).
- MUSCARINE – Often cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, a low heart rate, and small pupils.
- MUSCIMOL and IBOTENIC ACID – Cause neurologic signs; these are most common in the Pacific Northwest.
- FALSE MOREL – Often cause vomiting, diarrhea, and possibly convulsions.
- HALLUCINOGENIC – Causes neurologic signs and an elevated temperature (hyperthermia).
- AMANITINS – The most dangerous mushrooms which can cause liver failure; these are extremely toxic and are the most lethal.
My dog just ate a mushroom in the yard, what should I do?
- Contact a veterinarian and bring your dog to a veterinarian immediately. Take a representative picture or bring a similar, nearby mushroom with you if possible.
- Your veterinarian may involve a toxicologist and/or a mushroom identifier in your dog’s care.
- As long as your veterinarian deems it “safe,” they will likely induce vomiting and may also administer activated charcoal to prevent absorption of the toxin.
- Depending on the type of mushroom ingested and the signs your dog is showing, your veterinarian may recommend very minor outpatient supportive care or more aggressive inpatient supportive care (such as IV fluids and liver supportive medications).
- As mentioned above, unfortunately, Amanitins are VERY toxic, are absorbed quickly, and require aggressive care. They are also very toxic and lethal to humans.
- Depending on the type of mushroom ingested, your veterinarian may recommend baseline bloodwork and/or subsequent bloodwork 4-24 hours later.
How can I prevent mushroom toxicity?
- Closely scrutinize the environment for mushrooms and avoid exposure whenever possible.