Mushroom poisoning occurs as a result of ingesting toxic mushrooms, which is a common hazard for dogs because of the amount of time they spend outdoors or in wooded areas, 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) on the basis of the toxin they contain. However, because it is sometimes difficult to identify what type of mushroom your dog has consumed, you should always bring the suspected mushroom with you when you take your dog to the veterinarian.
Symptoms and Types
Symptoms vary greatly depending on the type of mushroom ingested. Category A mushrooms, for example, are the most toxic and cause the destruction of cells, especially liver and kidney cells. Category B and C mushrooms, meanwhile, affect nervous system, and category D mushrooms cause gastrointestinal irritation. The following are some of the more common symptoms associated with mushroom poisoning:
- Abdominal pain
- Yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
- Uncoordinated movements
- Excessive drooling (ptyalism)
Ingestion of toxic mushroom(s).
You will need to give a thorough history of your dog’s health to your veterinarian, including the onset and nature of the symptoms, and possible incidents that might have precipitated the complications. He or she will then perform a complete physical examination as well as a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis -- the results of which may reveal may reveal abnormally low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) and abnormally high levels of liver enzymes due to liver damage. Your veterinarian will also typically take a sample from the stomach to identify the type of mushroom.
Mushroom poisoning is an emergency that will require immediate hospitalization. Often, activated charcoal is given by mouth to bind the toxins present in the stomach and intestines. The dog also undergoes fluid therapy to stabilize fluid levels and enhance urination, which helps in the elimination of toxins. Depending on the type of mushroom and severity of the complications, a veterinarian may even choose to induce vomiting.
Living and Management
With treatment, overall prognosis is typically good, especially if stomach washing is initiated hours within ingestion. However, it ultimately depends on the amount of mushrooms ingested and the toxicity of the mushroom. For example, group I mushrooms are severely toxic.
In addition, some symptoms associated with mushroom toxicity are only seen later when liver and kidney complications occur. Your veterinarian will typically evaluate the liver and kidney functions through laboratory testing every 24 or 48 hours. You should nevertheless inform him or her if you should observe any untoward symptoms in the dog.