By Dr. Wendy Merideth
Mushrooms play an essential role in the decomposition of organic matter. They are fundamental in nutrient cycling and exchange within ecosystems. Unfortunately, though, many of the mushrooms in Oregon are toxic to pets.
In late spring and early summer, Sunriver Veterinary Clinic in Central Oregon treats many patients for mushroom toxicity. These animals may present with profuse drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, or they may be in a coma. Apart from such obvious symptoms, bear in mind that toxic mushrooms can also injure your pet’s liver.
Treatment involves the induction of vomiting (if the animal is conscious) to empty the stomach of remaining mushrooms. Intravenous fluids are then initiated to help flush toxins from the bloodstream. Activated charcoal, given by mouth, binds the toxins within the gastrointestinal tract and the toxins that circulate through the liver and bile. Pets may also need supportive liver medications and supplements. With treatment, the prognosis is good.
Please inspect your yard for mushrooms and watch your dogs closely on the trail this time of year. Unless you are a mushroom expert, please assume all mushrooms are toxic to pets! Wear gloves when removing them from your yard and throw them away in a place your pet can’t reach.
If your pet ever ingests a mushroom, contact your veterinarian immediately.