Mushroom Toxicity

We had a brief scare at work this week. An employee’s pet tried to scarf up some mushrooms in her yard, which led to a discussion of how awfully poisonous some mushrooms can be. Mushroom poisonings aren’t terribly common in our area, thankfully, but it’s something we always have to consider as a possibility when a pet comes in sick for no apparent reason.

Mushroom toxins can come in many forms. There are a LOT of toxic fungi out there! Rather than go through the whole list of stuff in excruciating detail, there’s a really simple rule. Don’t let your dog eat mushrooms outside.

The penalty for a mistake can mean death to a family pet. Liver failure, neurologic signs, coma, kidney failure, blood clotting disorders… need I say more? You can read more about mushroom poisoning syndromes at this link.

Here’s a link to a big PDF from the Michigan State Extension Service that details some of the poisonous mushrooms in Michigan, along with photos.

The one really awful group of mushrooms to watch out for is the Amanita family. They can be all-white (Destroying Angel) or have a red or yellow or brown cap. There’s a red-capped one shown below.

800px Amanita muscaria a

And, as a reminder about how toxic this mushroom is, check out the comic.

Amanita muscariaA4 1 copy

Amanita muscariaA4 2 copy


1 Comment

Filed under dogs, toxicology

One response to “Mushroom Toxicity

  1. Karen Wahls

    Dr. H, do you remember learning to identify the amanita mushrooms and the shaggy manes by the time you were about 6 years old? They grew all over the woods in the upscale resort area known as Luzerne.
    Actually, I’m surprised to hear about a dog eating mushrooms on it’s own. As you know we have had several Labs and now a Brittany that have eaten just about anything but I never saw them even smell a mushroom in the woods.
    I’m glad to know that the dog who did is OK.
    Good article on the mushrooms. Aunt Karen

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