Did you know?
Who would have thought Colorado could possibly have been in a drought just a couple years back with all the rain we’ve had this year. Increased moisture levels for May, June, and July have contributed to abundant flora growth. The Denver Botanic gardens didn’t even have to water one of its gardens until last week. Unfortunately, not all the flora is friendly. In fact, some of the mushrooms can be downright deadly.

Let me tell you why.
There are numerous varieties of mushrooms that grow here in Colorado. I think I’ve seen seven varieties in my own backyard. Most are harmless and don’t even cause an upset stomach for your dog, but others can cause a severe reaction that can lead to death in a matter of a few hours.

Unfortunately, it may be difficult for you or your veterinarian to determine if the mushroom consumed by your family pet is dangerous, even if you bring a sample to the clinic. It would take a mycologist (a person who studies mushrooms) to differentiate one brown mushroom from another. Because of that we choose to treat according to the possible ingestion, the animal and the symptoms, not according to the type of mushroom.

Mushroom toxicity can affect the kidneys, liver, autonomic nervous system, central nervous system, and the gastrointestinal tract, depending on the species. The symptoms of toxicity can include vomiting, diarrhea, staggering or acting drunk, excessive drooling, and being mentally “spaced out”. The toxin can cause an immediate response and the dog will exhibit some of these signs of poisoning right away, or the affects may take 6 to 24 hours to appear.

Treatment for mushroom ingestion, and possible poisoning, most often includes making the animal vomit and then administering activated charcoal to help absorb any remnants of the toxin from the gastrointestinal tract. The animal may also be placed on IV fluids to help flush the kidneys. Additional treatment may be needed if the toxin has affected the liver or kidneys. Repeat blood tests will help to monitor enzyme levels for both organs to determine the type of medication needed.

The moral of the story…magic mushrooms cause misery.

(Note: Special thanks to Kristine Rotundo, CVT for her research on this topic)