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D2007-18

Dear Daisy Dog

Mushrooms are popping up around my yard, and I’m afraid my dog, Jake, will eat them. Are all wild mushrooms poisonous? What signs should I watch for?

Daisy Responds

Mushrooms grow in my backyard, too. I find them quite ugly, so I have no interest in eating them, even if they’re safe.

While some wild mushrooms are harmless, many are poisonous. To be prudent, you should consider all mushrooms in your yard to be toxic unless a mushroom expert tells you otherwise.

That means that you’ll need to remove them so Jake can’t munch on them.

If he does eat them, the physiologic effects will vary with the type of mushroom he ingested.

The culprit in most fatal mushroom poisonings in dogs and humans is a mushroom called Amanita, also known as the death cap.

This mushroom causes vomiting, bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, rapid heart rate and dehydration for about 24 hours, after which the dog feels deceptively better.

Then, three to four days after mushroom ingestion, the dog’s liver and kidneys fail. Death occurs shortly thereafter.

Other species of mushrooms cause hallucinations, much like LSD. Still others cause excessive salivation, tearing, increased urination and diarrhea.

If you ever suspect Jake was poisoned by mushrooms, get him to the veterinarian immediately.

Take along a sample of mushrooms from your yard. If your veterinarian can’t identify them, a mushroom expert at a local university or extension service can help.

Most mushroom poisonings occur during spring, summer and fall, so this is a good time to get rid of whatever mushrooms are invading your yard.

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