Mushroom poisoning in dogs is a common hazard because of the amount of time dogs spend outdoors; it becomes a problem particularly in the summer and fall.  Toxic mushrooms are classified into four categories (A,B,C,D) based on the clinical signs and their time of onset, and into seven groups (1-7).  It is important for dog owners to be aware of mushrooms in their yard and take the proper precautions to make sure their dogs don’t get sick.

Symptoms

The symptoms your dog will experience after consuming a poisonous mushroom depends on the type that was ingested.  Here are the specific effects of the different types of mushrooms:

     - Category A: Most toxic, cause destruction of cells, especially liver and kidney cells
     - Category B and C: Nervous system
     - Category D: Gastrointestinal irritation

The most common symptoms associated with mushroom poisoning include: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, weakness, lethargy, yellowing of the skin, uncoordinated movements, excessive drooling, seizures and coma.  If your pet shows any of these signs of mushroom poisoning, bring him to the vet immediately.  If you can, bring the suspected mushroom when you take him for his appointment.  This will make it easier for the vet to treat your pet.

Diagnosis and Treatment

When it comes to diagnosing mushroom poisoning in dogs, the vet will perform a complete physical examination as well as a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis.  Indicators of mushroom poisoning include: abnormally low blood glucose levels and abnormally high levels of liver enzymes due to liver damage.  The vet will usually identify the type of mushroom your pet ate by taking a sample from his stomach.  Your pet will be treated with activated charcoal and fluid therapy to eliminate the toxins.  If your pet is severely poisoned, the vet may decide to induce vomiting. 

Prevention

The best way to prevent your dog from getting mushroom poisoning is by removing them from your yard.  They grow best in damp weather and can appear overnight, so it is important for you to check your yard thoroughly every morning before letting your dog outside.  Be especially cautious of parasol-shaped mushrooms and all small brown mushrooms.  Make sure you properly remove mushrooms by digging them up, not smashing or kicking them.  Keep a close eye on your pet when you let him outside to ensure he doesn’t find any mushrooms that you missed.  By taking all of the necessary precautions, you are on your way to avoiding mushroom poisoning in dogs.

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