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Symptoms and Types
Symptoms vary greatly depending on the type of mushroom ingested. Category A mushrooms, for example, are the most toxic and cause the destruction of cells, especially liver and kidney cells. Category B and C mushrooms, meanwhile, affect nervous system, and category D mushrooms cause gastrointestinal irritation. The following are some of the more common symptoms associated with mushroom poisoning:
- Abdominal pain
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
- Uncoordinated movements
- Excessive drooling (ptyalism)
Ingestion of toxic mushroom(s).
You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health to your veterinarian, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated the complications. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination as well as a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis -- the results of which may reveal may reveal abnormally low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) and abnormally high levels of liver enzymes due to liver damage. Your veterinarian will also typically take a sample from the stomach to identify the type of mushroom.
Mushroom poisoning is an emergency that will require immediate hospitalization. Often, activated charcoal is given by mouth to bind the toxins present in the stomach and intestines. The dog also undergoes fluid therapy to stabilize fluid levels and enhance urination, which helps in the elimination of toxins. Depending on the type of mushroom and severity of the complications, a veterinarian may even choose to induce vomiting.
Living and Management
With treatment, overall prognosis is typically good, especially if stomach washing is initiated hours within ingestion. However, it ultimately depends on the amount of mushrooms ingested and the toxicity of the mushroom. For example, group I mushrooms are severely toxic.
In addition, some symptoms associated with mushroom toxicity are only seen later when liver and kidney complications occur. Your veterinarian will typically evaluate the liver and kidney functions through laboratory testing every 24 or 48 hours. You should nevertheless inform him or her if you should observe any untoward symptoms in the dog.
Dogs and Cats and MushroomsPets have been known to eat mushrooms in yards and while on walks. While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic can cause life-threatening problems in pets. Take extra care to keep pets away from areas where mushrooms might be growing.
If you suspect that your pet has consumed a poisonous mushroom, contact your veterinarian, pet emergency hospital, or the animal poison control center (note: there is a fee for using this service). Once help has been secured, it is advisable to try to get the suspect mushrooms identified. NAMA provides a list of volunteers who are able to assist with identification in poisoning cases. It is best to get help if you are not familiar with mushroom identification.
Mushroom Toxins Affect Dogs and Cats DifferentlyDogs take a special interest in both Amanita phalloides and Inocybe species, quite possibly because of their fishy odor. Amanita phalloides is well known to be a deadly species but Inocybe species and the Clitocybe species that also contain muscarine can be lethal to dogs. Muscarine has not caused any human fatalities that we are aware of and so dogs must be uniquely sensitive to this compound. Some Scleroderma species are also lethal to dogs (and pigs) but not to humans, but the toxin, to our knowledge, is not known.
|Amanita phalloides||Amanita muscaria||Amanita pantherina|
Both Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina are frequently eaten by dogs. They too have a fishy odor. The toxins ibotenic acid and muscimol are not lethal to humans but in rare instances can cause death in dogs. Though cats rarely consume mushrooms they are particularly attracted to dried Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina, sometimes with lethal results.
See the NAMA Mushroom Poisoning Syndromes page for more specific information.
Patience Advised with Coma-Like SleepAs is the case with humans, dogs typically go into a deep coma-like sleep a few hours after eating Amanita muscaria or Amanita pantherina. Recovery is generally complete about 6 hours (but as long as 72 hours) later. While doctors never euthanize humans while in a coma-like sleep, sometimes the decision to euthanize is made with dogs. In most cases, the dog will recover — so patience is advisable.
See an in-depth article on this topic, Animal Poisoning by Amanita pantherina and Amanita muscaria: A Commentary, by Michael Beug and Marilyn Shaw.
What You Can DoIf your pet may have been poisoned by mushrooms, try to get a sample of the same mushroom or mushrooms from where they were found. This will help aid in identification.
Place any available material in a paper bag or waxed paper, not plastic and refrigerate until it can be examined. Note where the mushrooms were collected in case the mushrooms may have been contaminated by uptake of pesticides or heavy metals from lawns, roadsides or industrial areas.