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Posted on 07-19-2012

I love mushrooms!  Great on pizza and almost any other food in my humble opinion.  One of our family's favorite hobbies is spring morel hunting.   However mushrooms have the capacity to make our pets very sick and also can be fatal.  Usually the culprit is going to be those mushrooms that are growing in our back yards or, if our pets happen to wander somewhat, those in our neighborhood. 

     There are several groups of mushrooms and each has their own corresponding illness and effects on the body but those that we want to be most aware of are the Amanita spp, Galerina spp, and the Gyromitra sp, which are the most toxic and can often lead to liver/ kidney failure , if not death.  The other species like the Coprinus and Psilocybe spp are less toxic but will lead to neurologic and gastrointestinal signs. 

     Most of the clinical signs of mushroom ingestion will occur between 1-2 days after eating them, but sometimes can see effects within 6 hours plus.  Some of the expected signs will be vomiting and diarrhea, abdominal pain and lethargy.  If the poisoning progresses we could expect to see jaundice (yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes), increased salivation, seizures and coma.  Obviously it's very important that if you suspect that your pet has consumed a mushroom and it is toxic, that you get them to your veterinarian immediately.

     Some of the expected treatments at the veterinarian's office would include getting your pet to vomit and examine the stomach contents (by the way, if you see your pet consume mushrooms make sure you grab a couple and bring with to the vet so they can try and ID).  After vomiting and potentially flushing your pets stomach (called gavage) they will gave activated charcoal to minimize further absorption of the toxins.  Take bloodwork to check on status of the liver/ kidneys and start giving IV fluids and monitor their progress over the next 1-2 days.  There is unfortunately no single blood test to positively ID mushroom ingestion but as you can see by the accompanying article their are new and hopeful treatments that are on the horizon.

     So , lets keep the mushrooms on our pizzas and away from our pets and make sure that there are none of those "Angels of Death"  (Amanita spp) or other fungal nasties that are tempting our pets. 

Click Here - great article about new treatment for mushroom poisoning

Click Here - view pictures of poisonous mushrooms

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