Warm weather is finally returning and as we begin to venture outside with our furry companions, there is a silent danger lurking in the grass. With our recent rainstorms, there is a significant amount of moisture lingering outside - in shady places that moisture begins to grow mushrooms and other fungi in our parks, backyards and along favorite hiking trails. Some types of wild mushrooms, specifically Amanita phalloides, Amanita ocreata and Galerina marginata, are highly toxic if ingested - even a small piece of one of these mushrooms can cause liver failure.
So what do you do with a puppy or dog that has their nose constantly to the ground? As you know, if something smells interesting to your dog, they are apt to put it in their mouth to taste it! The best thing to do is police your yard and outdoor spaces and pick up any mushrooms you find before your curious pet dog does. Interested in learning more? Read on!
Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are often delayed for several days after ingestion. Early symptoms, beginning as soon as six hours after ingestion, can range from vomiting to more distressing symptoms depending on the amount of toxin eaten. Later symptoms include abdominal pain, weakness, lack of appetite, ongoing vomiting or death. During this period, the liver undergoes hepatocellular necrosis, manifesting as liver swelling and pain, increased enzyme release from damaged liver cells, and in severe cases, a lack of blood clotting factor production leading to internal hemorrhage.
How is it diagnosed?
There is no specific blood test to distinguish this toxin from other toxins affecting the liver, such as blue-green algae or aflatoxins. Our veterinary team can run a blood chemistry panel to test for significantly increased Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) levels or a coagulation test to determine the liver's ability to produce blood clotting factors. These tests combined with symptoms and a history of possible access to ingestion can lead to a presumptive diagnosis of mushroom toxicity.
How is it treated?
If you see your dog ingest any wild mushroom, or suspect that he or she may have, we advise that you seek immediate veterinary care. Our treatment plans for mushroom toxicity are aimed at helping the liver regenerate the damaged tissue while maintaining hydration, controlling nausea and preventing hemorrhage. As with most poisonings, the best method of controlling mushroom toxicity is preventing exposure.
We've Got Answers!
Our goal is to be the first place you go for advice about your pet's health.
Although you can find information online, please ask us first when you have a question about how to best care for your cat or dog. You can always call us with your questions at (415) 563-6700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and get a response from a veterinarian within 24 hours. Because your pet's health is our top priority, Pets Unlimited is open 24 hours a day, every day.
Dr. Chris Lundy and Your Friends at Pets Unlimited