Spring Mushroom Toxicity Alert!

Spring Mushroom Toxicity Alert!

My back yard is mulched, shaded, and loaded with ferns – the perfect place for spring and fall mushrooms to flourish. I gave up on growing grass long ago and I love the woodsy look, but I am always concerned because my Labrador loves to find and try to eat the variety of mushrooms that grow there. There were recently some high profile cases of dogs intoxicated by wild mushrooms. Last week in North Carolina, where spring has already sprung, two dogs were fatally poisoned by backyard mushrooms. Duane “the Rock” Johnson’s French Bulldog succumbed to mushroom poisoning.

Dogs can safely eat the species of store bought mushrooms that we eat. Wild mushrooms have a fishy odor and a rubbery texture that is attractive to most dogs, and occasionally cats. If you see your pet eat or chew on a mushroom outside, assume it may be toxic and call PSVC or the Emergency Clinic because the earlier the treatment begins, the less likely your pet will develop life threatening symptoms. Some toxic mushrooms will initially cause early mild symptoms of vomiting or diarrhea that can resolve, only to cause liver or kidney failure 24-36 hours later.

As mentioned before, symptoms can be mild, but dogs who are walking drunk, have tremors, seizures, are stuporous, or seem to be drugged should be examined ASAP and you should bring some of the mushrooms with you in a baggy. The amount and type of mushroom eaten, the amount of the toxin absorbed (a full stomach of food will slow down absorption), and the pet’s size are all factors in whether there will be serious symptoms.

There are four most common toxins produced by wild mushrooms. Amantinin producing mushrooms cause vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, liver failure, and coma. Muscarine producing mushrooms cause vomiting and diarrhea, constricted pupils, severe depression with slowing of heart and respiratory rates. Isoxazole producing mushrooms cause neurologic problems with excitability. Psychedelic mushrooms are rare, but an cause hallucinations and a stoned appearance.

Treatment for all types consists of inducing vomiting if the known ingestion was recent and the dog is conscious. We start intensive IV fluid therapy and give oral activated charcoal to prevent further absorption of the toxins. Symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and tremors can be treated. Blood tests can be performed to monitor for liver or kidney damage.

This time of year, patrol your yard, especially in areas of mulch or decaying leaves, to remove any mushrooms before they can be eaten. Watch for them also when taking a Spring hike in the woods.


Many kennels and doggie day cares will be requiring Canine Flu vaccines by this summer. The two strains of Canine Flu in the US are novel viruses that ALL DOGS WHO CONTACT IT WILL CONTRACT.

Social dogs who frequently go to day care, dog parks, or kennels should be immunized twice the first year, then annually. Many of our local doggie daycares and kennels have imposed a time deadline by which your dog must be immunized. To assist our clients’ compliance, if your pet has had a wellness exam within the past six months and is not obviously ill, a technician visit can be scheduled for the initial immunization and boost 2-4 weeks later.

Call our receptionists to set up a flu vaccine appointment.

Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic is a state-of-the-art, full-service suburban veterinary facility serving the Pittsburgh Area since 1980.. We offer diagnostic, medical, surgical, and dental care to dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and pocket pets in the Pittsburgh area.

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