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Mushroom poisoning of companion animals, particularly dogs, is occurring at an alarming rate recently here in our Colorado Springs area. Mushroom poisoning occurs as a result of ingesting toxic mushrooms. Not all mushrooms are poisonous, but each type of poisonous mushroom can cause different signs of illness. Poisonous mushrooms are classified into four main categories, based on the clinical signs they cause, or into seven categories, based on the toxins they contain. The onset of clinical signs may occur anywhere from minutes to hours following ingestion.

Mushroom toxicity is most commonly associated with curious puppies, however, it is seen in adult dogs of all breeds and sizes.

Signs of Mushroom Poisoning

· Excess salivation

· Diarrhea

· Abdominal pain

· Lethargy

· Jaundice (yellow skin color)

· Seizures

· Coma

· Vomiting

While these are not specific for mushroom poisoning, when coupled with known ingestion or at least suspicion of ingestion, they should alert you to the possibility.

Diagnosis

When poisonous mushroom ingestion is suspected, initial blood tests are done to evaluate the overall health of the dog. Elevated liver and kidney enzymes may be seen 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of certain mushrooms, together with low blood sugar and blood potassium levels.

Since there is no specific test for mushroom poisoning, identification of mushroom parts in the vomit or stomach contents is the only definitive means for making a diagnosis of mushroom poisoning.

Treatment

Treatment varies, and largely depends on the specific mushroom that has been ingested and potential clinical signs associated with the mushroom. One or more of the following may be recommended.

· Induction of vomiting

· Administration of activated charcoal (to potentially absorb toxins)

· Fluid therapy to maintain hydration

· Treatment for kidney or liver failure if it develops

· Treatment for seizures when present

Home Care and Prevention

There is no adequate home care for poisonous mushroom ingestion. If you suspect that your dog has eaten a dangerous mushroom, contact us immediately.

The best way to prevent ingestion of poisonous mushrooms is to keep your dog away from mushrooms. Periodically check your yard and remove any mushrooms, and do not allow your dog to roam unattended through the neighborhood.