Yikes – My Dog Just Ate a Mushroom, How Do I Know if it is Toxic?
If you read our last blog (Amanita Death Cap Mushrooms - Why Should I Care About Those?), you are aware that wild mushrooms can be very dangerous to your pet. But with the wide variety of mushrooms in our area, how do we know whether to panic if we find one near our pets?
The Death Cap mushroom has a typical appearance:
Photo Credit (http://www.mykoweb.com/CAF/species/Amanita_phalloides.html)
Intact Amanita phalloides (the Death Cap) has a typical “toad stool” appearance with a smooth, wide cap that can have a yellow to greenish pigment. There are white gills under the cap. The stalk is white to pallid with a rounded bulb at the base.
Identification of non-intact, chewed, or vomited mushrooms can be even more difficult to interpret. Overall, we at Silicon Valley Veterinary Specialists feel that distinguishing between toxic and non-toxic mushrooms is best left to trained individuals.
Luckily for all of us, the North American Mycological Association keeps a list of individuals grouped by location that are willing to identify mushrooms. The web link is: http://namyco.org/toxicology/identifiers.html to find someone in your area. Direct (in person) evaluation likely yields the most accurate identification, but evaluation of emailed pictures may be possible in some cases. Certain diagnostic laboratories such as the Diagnostic Lab at University of California at Davis can also positively identify mushrooms, but the lag time in this may limit usefulness in some cases.
As always, if you are ever concerned that your pet’s health may be compromised, you should have them evaluated by a veterinarian right away.