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Seasonal dangers – wild mushrooms

We all know that dogs just love to eat anything – and vets are often asked about wild mushrooms. With the milder climate and the recent rain and moisture, mushroom populations seem to be booming this autumn. Last year the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) even issued a warning about the issue.

Most of the 4,000 species of wild mushrooms in the UK are edible, while others are extremely dangerous – sadly it is not easy to tell the difference between the two. These toxic varieties contain a mushroom poison similar to mycotoxin (the toxin contained in mould which is also harmful to dogs). Death cap (Amanita Phalloides) and Fool’s funnel (Clitocybe rivulosa) are among the most likely to cause toxic symptoms, with the latter regularly growing on lawns this time of year.

Symptoms can vary dramatically depending on what was eaten, and can range from dribbling, vomiting or diarrhoea, blood in the stools or vomit, neurological effects such as hallucinations or fits, kidney or liver failure. The kind of mushroom that has been ingested will affect how long these symptoms take to display – sometimes it can be very rapid.

If your dog is prone to foraging and eating anything in sight, avoid wooded shady areas where wild mushrooms are more likely. If your dog is a particularly keen scavenger, you may even wish to consider a basket muzzle.

It is best to consider all wild mushrooms potentially toxic to dogs and seek veterinary advice if your pet is suspected to have ingested any. If your dog does eat a wild mushroom, take them to the vets immediately. It will also help your vet if you take along:

  • A photo of the mushroom
  • A description of where it was found growing i.e. on grass, in shade or in a tree stump
  • The mushrom wrapped in paper – not plastic