Avoid mushroom poisoning in pets
Posted November 05, 2018
Although commonly underestimated, mushroom
intoxication ranks near the top of the list of pet poisonings each
year. Of these deadly fungi, Death Cap mushrooms are the number one
cause of fatal mushroom poisoning worldwide.
Death Cap mushrooms are an invasive species that favor oak and
pine trees. While they can be found across Texas, Death Cap
mushrooms tend to thrive in cool, damp climates and are usually
seen during rainy seasons.
Unlike some poisonous plants, most mushrooms present an initial
identification issue for pet parents. Although it can be difficult
to tell the difference between a toxic and non-toxic mushroom, a
common identifier of a Death Cap is a yellowish-green cap that
grows large and flat as the mushroom ages.
Another important characteristic of the Death Cap mushroom is
the fish-like odor it emits while decaying. This odor seems
appealing and appetizing to dogs and cats and typically leads to
the mushroom’s ingestion.
Dr. Justin Heinz, an assistant professor at the Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, urges pet
owners to contact their veterinarian immediately if they believe
their pet has ingested a mushroom.
“We don't necessarily see a lot of cases that we can directly
attribute to ingestion, but the development
of clinical signs are usually delayed by six to 12
hours,” Heinz said. “Initial clinical signs are usually
gastrointestinal in nature, resulting is vomiting and diarrhea, and
blood may occasionally be noted in either.”
Heinz added that these signs will typically resolve within 24
hours. However, it is important for owners to understand that this
does not mean that their pet is in the clear.
“Unfortunately, after about 48-72 hours following resolution of
these signs, the patient will develop liver and kidney failure,
with liver failure being far more common,” he said. “Prognosis at
that point is pretty guarded.”
According to Heinz, all mushrooms vary in toxicity. Some cause
self-limiting gastrointestinal distress, while others cause
neurological effects such as tremors and seizures. A
misidentification can lead to serious illness or death in your
“Identification of some of these mushrooms may actually require
a mycologist,” he said.
“For this reason, I recommend keeping pets away from any mushrooms
in the yard or on walks. Better safe than sorry.”
As always, pet owners should contact their veterinarian if they
believe their pet has eaten anything suspicious. By removing
mushrooms from your path and keeping a close eye on your pet during
walks and outings, you can ensure their good health will remain
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine
& Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University. Stories can be
viewed on the web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for
future topics may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
↑ Back to Top
« Back to Pet Talk