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Do mushrooms poison dogs in Canberra ?

By samhow - 3 September 2009 14

Our 5 year old dog had his first epileptic like fit a month ago. Yesterday he had 3 seizures.

The Vet is doing blood tests but so far hasn’t found any cause, if they continue it might be off to Sydney for a cat-scan. She says it’s unusual for a dog to manifest epilepsy this late, usually it appears within the first year of the dogs life.

I noticed today there are mushrooms growing on Scullin oval, which is where we take the dogs.

Does anyone have any experience or information with dogs in Canberra being poisoned by mushrooms. The vet didn’t mention it as a possibility but it would actually be a much nicer cause than the alternatives.

Cheers

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14 Responses to
Do mushrooms poison dogs in Canberra ?
Calochilus 6:38 pm 13 Jun 10

Marilyn Shaw said :

Yes, dogs can be poisoned by certain mushrooms. The ones that contain the toxins, ibotenic acid and muscimol would cause symptoms similar to epilepsy. I don’t have time right now to go into great detail, but the most common species are Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric, and Amanita pantherina, the panther cap. Please do an online search for descriptions of these. Amanita muscaria is easy to identify. It is a large white mushroom with a red (usually) cap which has white warts on it. They grow essentially all over the world. Dogs seem to love them. They grow with coniferous trees in a symbiotic relationship with them. These amanitas DO NOT contain toxins which affect the liver, as do some other species of amanita. To see the symptoms check the toxicology link on namyco.org. Dr. Michael Beug and I have recently published an article on the subject of dogs eating these species. It is available by searching for “McIlvainea Vol 18”. The white mushrooms in lawns “with gray underneath” (more likely dark brown underneath) are probably Agaricus species, and would not be involved. I am a mycology consultant to the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, Colorado, USA, on call 24/365 and have been for 25 years or more. This type of poisoning is very common, both in dogs and humans. While frightening these poisonings, properly handled, should cause no lasting effects. Recovery usually occurs in approximately 10 hours. Do not overtreat the hyper state (this can cause excessive CNS depression), do not use atropine (in spite of the name, these are not muscarine poisonings),do not euthanize while in the coma-like state, protect against aspirating vomit.

After 25 years I’ve learned not to make remote diagnoses and not to change the evidence.
A. muscaria is relatively common in Canberra, under Pinus radiata and other conifers such as Cedrus deodar and C. atlantica. However it is also found as a mycorrhyzal species associated with oaks and alder. A. pantherina is not recorded to my knowledge. the only verified record of a poisoning in dogs by mushroom ingestion was that of A. phalloides (and fatal as I recall). The common mushroom found on Canberra’s sports grounds with greyish gills is almost certainly a Collybia species, not an Agaricus (though the A. xanthoderma group may be greyish in unopened specimens). Interestingly Agaricus xanthoderma type mushrooms are a cause of violent emesis in a very small proportion of the population and they are extremely common in Canberra

gun street girl 8:51 am 05 Sep 09

If your dog ate deathcap mushrooms (common hereabouts), seizures probably wouldn’t be the sole manifestation of poisoning.

Marilyn Shaw 3:17 am 05 Sep 09

Yes, dogs can be poisoned by certain mushrooms. The ones that contain the toxins, ibotenic acid and muscimol would cause symptoms similar to epilepsy. I don’t have time right now to go into great detail, but the most common species are Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric, and Amanita pantherina, the panther cap. Please do an online search for descriptions of these. Amanita muscaria is easy to identify. It is a large white mushroom with a red (usually) cap which has white warts on it. They grow essentially all over the world. Dogs seem to love them. They grow with coniferous trees in a symbiotic relationship with them. These amanitas DO NOT contain toxins which affect the liver, as do some other species of amanita. To see the symptoms check the toxicology link on namyco.org. Dr. Michael Beug and I have recently published an article on the subject of dogs eating these species. It is available by searching for “McIlvainea Vol 18”. The white mushrooms in lawns “with gray underneath” (more likely dark brown underneath) are probably Agaricus species, and would not be involved. I am a mycology consultant to the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, Colorado, USA, on call 24/365 and have been for 25 years or more. This type of poisoning is very common, both in dogs and humans. While frightening these poisonings, properly handled, should cause no lasting effects. Recovery usually occurs in approximately 10 hours. Do not overtreat the hyper state (this can cause excessive CNS depression), do not use atropine (in spite of the name, these are not muscarine poisonings),do not euthanize while in the coma-like state, protect against aspirating vomit.

sunshine 6:01 pm 04 Sep 09

yes – malcolm at Tuggeranong vet hospital in Fadden is fantastic. Such a caring, sympathetic man AND an excellant vet

black_rattism 3:20 pm 04 Sep 09

Yes, there have been cases of fatal mushroom poisoning in Canberra, it happened to my friend’s dog 🙁

That said, I don’t think it’s really the season for it at the moment, and the death cap mushrooms are usually found around oak trees.

Good luck with your little guy.

busgirl 12:52 pm 04 Sep 09

I second the recommendation for Inner South Veterinary Centre. I try to see Isabelle or Amanda when I take my pets there but all their vets are fabulous.

deezagood 10:53 am 04 Sep 09

indigoid said :

If you get frustrated with vets in Canberra there’s a fantastic vet hospital at Sydney Uni, in Camperdown. We took one of our Burmese there for surgery last year. He was treated very well.

It took us a while to find a Canberra vet that we trusted and that didn’t seem to be flailing around in the dark. Eventually we settled on Matt Almond at Small Friends in Amaroo. Worth driving to what feels like the other end of the earth — we live in Weston Creek!

Hope you find out what’s going on. Sounds nasty 🙁

You don’t need to drive to ‘the end of the earth’; Tuggeranong Vet Hospital in Fadden is fantastic. I have seen a few different vets there, and they are the best.

switch 9:12 am 04 Sep 09

So is Hargreaves now going to ban mushrooms since they cause dog distress?

samhow 9:00 am 04 Sep 09

Thanks for all the feedback everyone, it’s very useful.

prhhcd 7:47 am 04 Sep 09

The mushrooms I have seen on Scullin oval are just Champignons (spelling) which are just the same we buy in the supermarket. So they should not cause that sort of a reaction in your puppy. Really good vet in canberra (and excellent diagnostician) Sandy Hume at Inner South Vet Hospital, Jerrabomberra Ave, Narrabundah.
For advice on canberra flora that might be causing this I’d contact Jan Spate in Hall, she’s been here for ever and has basically been there, done that. So she could have an idea.
Best of luck with the little guy!

goose 5:50 am 04 Sep 09

I feel for you Bronto.

indigoid 10:20 pm 03 Sep 09

If you get frustrated with vets in Canberra there’s a fantastic vet hospital at Sydney Uni, in Camperdown. We took one of our Burmese there for surgery last year. He was treated very well.

It took us a while to find a Canberra vet that we trusted and that didn’t seem to be flailing around in the dark. Eventually we settled on Matt Almond at Small Friends in Amaroo. Worth driving to what feels like the other end of the earth — we live in Weston Creek!

Hope you find out what’s going on. Sounds nasty 🙁

sunshine 5:36 pm 03 Sep 09

that’s scary. Hope your dog is okay. Let us know the outcome of the blood tests and the possibility of the mushrooms causing it – what type are they? Might be worth contacting the RSPCA to see if they have ever had any animals sick from mushrooms

Bronto 5:33 pm 03 Sep 09

Our Kelpie was nine years old when she first had a seizure in our backyard…it was the most awful thing we have ever seen. We rushed her to the vet and told that it could have been a one off….wrong, it happened a couple more times after that. The strange thing is, we had mushrooms growing in our backyard…the large flat shaped mushrooms that are grey underneath. I’m not sure whether she ate one because we’ve had them grow in the back yard before and nothing happened. We did know she was eating a lot of grass before she fitted but thought that was from an upset stomach.

Now she is on phenobarbitone tablets for the rest of her life which is upsetting but I never want to see that happen again. Vet said it can happen with dogs as they get older for no apparent reason. Your dog is still so young. Maybe you should take a sample of the mushroom to the vets and see if that could cause a seizure or research on the internet.

Good luck.

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