You and your dog may prefer summer to winter for any number of reasons, but that doesn’t mean the season is without its dangers.
Poisonous flowering plants, rabid wildlife, even errant branches can pose serious health problems for pets, but one is potent enough to top them all. Mushrooms that grow in damp areas, or those spread by spores in the wind, can kill an animal in hours.
What’s worse, they can be hard to spot. Some owners may not even be aware of the fungus among us, or their pets, for that matter.
Wild Mushrooms That Can Poison Cats And Dogs
9. Death Cap Mushrooms
In Australia, two small dogs died after ingesting poisonous mushrooms in their backyard. According to Adelaide Now, one of the dogs, a 5-year-old Maltese-Shih tzu named Dexter, was acting strangely lethargic and confused just before he died.
“At 3 am I got woken to a loud moaning, howling-type noise,” owner Tim Cowin describes finding his dog during his last moments. “I went in and checked to find [Dexter] lying on his side and was not responsive, still breathing and very limp. After searching the backyard I found one fully developed mushroom with a long stalk and white head with a slight green tinge and another just starting to pop up.”
The other dog, a 7-month-old miniature schnauzer named Walter, was dead within 12 hours of ingesting the same type of death cap mushrooms.
Along with the death cap, Amanita phalloides which grows throughout the world, there are a number of other mushrooms that can be commonly found during warm, humid months. As well, they pose just as much of a threat to the lives of curious pets.
8. Mushrooms With Muscarinic Agents
This is a long list of ‘shrooms, but toxins like muscarine, ibotenic acid, psilocybin, and coprine are poisonous to pets and their parents, alike. Those with muscarinic agents include Inocybe and Clitocybe mushrooms.
According to research originally published in Korea, and catalogued by the National Institutes of Health, “Toxicity studies of mushroom species have demonstrated that mushroom poisoning can cause adverse effects such as liver failure, bradycardia, chest pain, seizures, gastroenteritis, intestinal fibrosis, renal failure, erythromelalgia, and rhabdomyolysis.”
The importance of knowing healthy from harmful mushrooms and where they grow cannot be overstated. Tragically, mushroom poisoning affects many pets every year, all across the world.
Not the most prevalent mushroom in the world, and certainly not the most poisonous, Boletus Santanas (devil’s bolete) is typically found in the south of England.
As the Telegraph reports, animals that ingest this fungus may suffer from nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting for a few hours, but it is rarely fatal.
6. Toadstool Mushrooms
Perhaps the most easily recognizable mushrooms in the world, Amanita muscaria, also known as Fly Agaric, is distinguishable by a red cap, often flecked with white spots. In contrast, the Amanita pantherina, or Panther Cap, sports a brown cap with similar flecks of white.
Though these formidable fungus have even been awarded their own emoji over the years, they’re deadly to pets if ingested in excess.
According to VetStreet, mushrooms from the Amanita genus “can be deadly in certain circumstances but more typically causes disorientation.”
Spread across lawns across North America, Chlorophyllum molybdites are deceivingly appetizing. Many people confuse them with the white mushrooms often found on supermarket shelves.
In fact, Chlorophyllum are poisonous. According to the Foraged Foodie, “Even healthy adults can experience dangerous levels of dehydration, and require hospitalization,” after ingesting these mushrooms. “I would recommend stamping it out of your yard if you have children or pets.”
4. Hallucinogenic Mushrooms
Mushrooms that contain psilocybin, an effective hallucinogenic, have been used for centuries, both recreationally and in cultural rituals. But while humans may be well aware of the properties of “Magic Mushrooms,” cats and dogs are not.
As PetMD reports, Psilocybe, Conocybe, Gymnopilus, and Panaeolus mushrooms, along with hallucinations, can prompt other symptoms, all which need immediate veterinary attention.
Animals may appear to be drunk or ill within 30 minutes of ingesting the mushrooms. While under the effects of psilocybin, they may also cause harm to themselves.
3. Livid Entomola
Pets that ingest Entoloma sinuatum (Livid Entomola), may start to feel gastrointestinal upset as early as 30 minutes after eating the mushrooms. Followed by that, diarrhea, vomiting and headache.
Though treatable by antispasmodic medicines and flushing the system, Emergency Preparedness Tips reports, the symptoms can last for 48 hours, and mood disturbances and depression for months.
Pets, as well as humans, especially the young and elderly, are advised to keep these fungi out of their mouths.
2. Amatoxin mushrooms
Amatoxins claim the lives of a number of animals each year. What makes them so hard to prevent is the 6 to 12 hour delay in symptoms after an animal eats mushrooms laced with these poisons.
According to the North American Mycological Association, amatoxin poisoning causes severe gastrointestinal upset. Pets suffering from amatoxicity may refuse to eat or drink, though flushing the toxins out with water is part of the only known treatment.
Amanita phalloides (death cap), Amanita bisporigera (destroying angel), and Amanita ocreata (angel of death), all contain amatoxins.
If you suspect your pet has ingested mushrooms containing these compounds, get them to a veterinarian immediately. Every second you save is crucial to halting the amatoxin’s attack on the liver and other vital organs.
1. False Morel Mushrooms
Morels are a popular prize among mushroom hunters in the midwest, but there are also “evil twins” lurking about. While one version makes a delicious dish, the other is incredibly deadly.
Animals that eat false morels will begin to show signs after about 6 hours, beginning with severe gastrointestinal upset, lethargy or instability, followed by vomiting, coma, and even death.
False morels include Gyromitra esculenta (Beefsteak), Gyromitra caroliniana, mushrooms in the Verpa genre, and mushrooms in the Helvella genre, PetMD maintains.
According to Petfinder, toxic substances in false morels break down the liver, prompting signs of jaundice in the eyes and mucous membranes. Without a functioning liver, the animal’s blood loses its clotting ability, and seizures may occur.
There are several ways to tell the false morels apart from the true. As Mushroom Appreciation reports. On the outside, False morels are much more wavy and lobed than pitted like true morels. On the inside, false morelas have spongy matter, or chunks, where a true morel is completely “hollow.”
For those who realize their pet has eaten false morels, it’s often too late. But, there are cases of animals being pulled through alive, when immediate veterinary care is sought.
Learn more about these deadly mushrooms in the video below!
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