View Full Version : Wild Mushrooms are dangerous

Cathy Moon
31st October 2010, 02:55 PM
We've just been through the scariest experience with our India. On Wednesday evening last week, I let our three dogs outside in the back yard after feeding them. It was the first nice day after several days of very stormy weather. India likes to sniff around under the large pampas grass plant we have; however she had disappeared inside it, so I was calling her and rustling the grass to get her to come out. She finally came running out, munching on something and swallowing it, then I saw a piece of pampas grass hanging out of her mouth with a rust-red colored mushroom hanging off it.

I grabbed her and ran inside to call the vet's office, and they gave me a pet poison control number to call. The person who helped me told me to how to give India hydrogen peroxide to get her to vomit. I did that twice - she didn't vomit, then I called the vet to say I was bringing her in. The emergency vet got India to vomit using hydrogen peroxide and a teaspoon of salt, but by the time India vomited, no mushrooms came out... it was just over an hour after she ingested it.

She was admitted into the ICU and was given activated charcoal every four hours; she also had an IV and drugs to protect her liver. By the second day in ICU, India's blood electrolytes were so far out of balance that we were told it could lead to brain swelling and death. Her IV fluid was changed to gradually correct her electrolytes. A day later another blood test showed her electrolytes were good, but the same test showed the mushroom toxicity was affecting her liver, and they had to send her blood to an outside lab, because her liver numbers were higher than their equipment could read. They had to change her IV fluids back again and treat her for toxicity. I thought we were going to lose her, but she has pulled through so far and we got to bring her home Saturday night. Her latest blood test showed her liver numbers are twice what they should normally be, but we're giving her 3 different prescription medicines and a special diet. Tomorrow evening we're taking her back to the vets for another blood test. I'm not sure what her prognosis will be - I didn't want to ask because I only want to deal with her present condition this weekend. But I think we might be ready to ask about it tomorrow night after her blood test.

In the meantime, India is not quite her old self, but she's very much improved from how she was on Thursday and Friday. One of her medicines is causing terrible diarrhea, so the emergency vet told me this morning not to give her any more until we see her vet on Monday night.

Today I am going outside to cut the pampas grass down and remove the roots. Colin had hand surgery on Friday, so he can't do it. On Thursday he inspected the pampas grass, and he found more rusty-red colored mushrooms growing in the dead section in the middle of the plant.

The poison control person told me there are over 40,000 varieties of mushroom, so it would be very difficult to identify the ones India ate. She told me to wrap them in a clean paper towel and store them in a ziploc bag marked "do not eat" in the refrigerator in case I can find a professional to identify them. We also took photos, but we don't have the right kind of camera lense for closeups, so they're not very good photos.

Does anyone know if there is some kind of an antifungal treatment I could safely use outside to prevent mushrooms from growing?

Edited to add: What I would have done differently - looking back on what happened. I wish that I would have given her a bigger dose of peroxide to begin with, and instead of waiting 10 minute intervals at home for her to vomit, I would have loaded her into the car and gotten her to the vet sooner. You'd need 2 people in the car though, in case the dog vomits on the way... to clear away the mushrooms so they wouldn't be re-ingested!!!

31st October 2010, 03:06 PM
I dont know of any antifungal treatments but just wanted to say how sorry I was that you and India had to go through this:shock:

I hope she makes a perfect recovery. Thanks for sharing as we should all be aware of potential poisons in our gardens.


31st October 2010, 03:44 PM
Absolutely terrifying, Cathy. :yikes

My thoughts are with you and Colin and lots of positive thoughts for India; it is good that she at least is able to be home with you and so far seems to be doing OK given that you must have felt so close to losing her in the immediate aftermath. Please let everyone here know how she does. :flwr:

Your experience and advice and insights may help others in such an unfortunate situation so thanks for sharing what you have gone through. I think you cannot be critical of what you did -- you acted fast and did the right things on the basis of what the general advice was. It is very, very hard to think through what to do next in the panic of such a situation, too. Many would not have had the first aid supplies you had -- good advance planning -- or moved so quickly to get her to a vet. A lot of us would just freeze in panic.

There is good online information about giving hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting for anyone who doesn't have this first aid staple for dogs in the house; it is important to give the right amounts and not overdose on this so I think your caution was correct in the first instance.

31st October 2010, 04:20 PM
poor India and poor you. It is so hard to stop mushrooms from growing and so far I have not found anything that works.

I hope India is feeling better - sending her a get well:hug: and :xfngr: there is no long term effects for her.

31st October 2010, 05:26 PM
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. What an awful ordeal for you and India.

A friend of mine in Atlanta, GA (Dunwoody) has a little poodle. When a puppy, her dog ate some mushrooms growing in the (fenced in) back yard and had a horrible hallucinogenic "trip". My friend had to carry her to the vet, the dog survived quite well, and my friend now patrols the yard rigorously for 'shrooms.

31st October 2010, 05:37 PM
Poor India, I hope she recovers. Must of been a scary experience!
The other day there was wild mushrooms growing in my garden, I pulled them out as I didn't know what Murphy's reaction would be..Thanks for warning us all! :)

Kate H
31st October 2010, 07:03 PM
The Animal Health Trust in England is researching some mysterious deaths of dogs in Nottinghamshire - probably due to fungus poisoning. This has been a vintage year for fungi in England. One thing to look out for is newly cut grass in parks and field, which can chop fungi up small, and therefore more easily picked up by dogs.

Top marks for quick reactions, Cathy!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Love my Cavaliers
31st October 2010, 07:12 PM
Yikes!! We have mushrooms growing in our fenced-in back yard and I always just let the dogs run free back there. Thanks for a valuable lesson. Time to go out and pick up the mushrooms when I go clean up their poop. Hopefully India will be no worse for her experience. What a frightening experience to go through for you.

31st October 2010, 08:40 PM
Oh Cathy how terrifying - I'm so sorry :(:(

Thank goodness India is back home with you - we are hoping and sending positive thoughts for a complete recovery for her.

You acted very quickly and with great presence of mind - I'm sure many of us would just have panicked.

I don't know about an antifungal treatment - but I know pampas grass is very difficult to get rid of - I have heard of people even setting fire to the remnants and it regrowing again :mad:

Youi may need to keep removing roots and growth, or take the drastic action of spraying weed & grass killer on it...

Sorry to hear about Colin's operation, I hope his hand is healing well now.

Cathy T
1st November 2010, 08:52 PM
I'm so relieved to know India is doing so much better. Really quick thinking on your part Cathy, although you can always think of more you "shoulda/coulda/woulda" done afterwards. Sure was bad timing (not that any time is good!!) what with Colin's surgery. Just glad to know she's pulling through. After reading about this I told John to be extra careful when walking the dogs. He pulled up any mushrooms he found in our front yard and is on extra alert when walking the dogs now.

team bella
1st November 2010, 10:33 PM
Hope India makes a good recovery and thanks for bringing this to attention. I had some growing in the back garden and didn't give it any thought until I saw this. I'll keep a look out for them

1st November 2010, 11:17 PM
One way to get rid of fungus in your garden is to mix an organic fungicide compound to treat the mushrooms. Combine 2 tbsp. of baking soda and 1 gallon of water in a bucket and apply liberal doses of the mixture to any mushrooms in your yard. This solution is safe to use in your garden. Alternatively, sprinkle baking soda on the mushroom tops and pour water over the baking soda.Spot-treat the garden when new growth appears. Keep a solution of baking soda and water in a power sprayer or garden sprayer and check for mushrooms every few days they are difficult to get rid of so im told and it can involve digging out "infected" soil and replacing it ,but im told the above works well though it is an ongoing process ,if you dont want to go down that road then the other option is to keep picking them and disposing of them ,the fruits (the actual part you see above the ground) should be removed as soon as you see them ,if you dont know what type they are wear gloves to be on the safe side ,for those in the uk there is a web site called Wild About Britain that has a lot of fungus experts on it and if you post pictures of them they will probably
be able to id them for you
www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/fungi (http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/fungi)

Cathy Moon
2nd November 2010, 11:43 AM
Thanks for the baking soda fungicide ideas. I have cut down all of the pampas grass (found more orange mushrooms in the base of the plant). I couldn't dig the roots out, so I'm going to pour a baking soda and water mixture over it - then I'm going to cover it with landscaping cloth and river stones.

Last night at the vets, Indias blood work is still showing liver abnormality. She will be taking prescription liver meds for the next month, with another blood test six weeks from now. We were told not to schedule her for a dental cleaning until her levels improve.

I asked the vet if it would be cruel to put a basket muzzle on India when she's outside at certain times of year, and she felt it would be a good idea. With India's propensity for grazing, the vet is surprised that India hasn't gotten into serious trouble before this. She also pointed out how fortunate we are that I saw her eat the mushroom; otherwise India would have been much sicker by the time we brought her in, and she may not have fared so well.

2nd November 2010, 12:03 PM
Hope that India continues to recover well, I can't imagine how scary the episode must have been.
Thanks for the instructions on how to destroy mushrooms, I have a few growing that I hope are harmless, but won't be taking any chances. I'm off to find the baking powder now.
Are baking powder and soda the same?

2nd November 2010, 01:28 PM
:confused: Just went out to destroy the mushrooms, and realised I had loads, so I decided to uproot them, and then put baking soda on whats left behind. I have either binned 1.5kg of food or saved my little friends from poison. I have tried to identify them, they look like some of the milkcaps, some of which are poisonous, so better out than in I think!
Luckily there was no sign of the mushrooms having been nibbled or eaten thank goodness.

Gatsbys Dad
2nd November 2010, 02:32 PM
So sorry to hear about this terrible fright. All I can say is I understand completely. This summer my wife and I took a big road trip out to see her family in Michigan with Gatsby, our Ruby food-maniac. We were quite wiped out after the drive, and unfortunately while we napped my wife's 7 year old step-sister let the dog out. She called up to us a few minutes later to say he was eating something outside. We immediately ran down and corralled him...he seemed fine at first, but about 10 minutes later he started drooling. I knew something was wrong. I brought him outside and he started having diarrhea, then began vomiting. I didn't realize it at the time but this vomiting might have saved his life.
There were large dark brown mushrooms in his vomit. When he didn't show signs of improvement we rushed him to the hospital 45 minutse away in grand rapids. I cradled him in the back seat and he cried the whole way, while continuing to have diahrreah. I think he was upset about not being able to hold it in! But I whispered that I loved him and it was ok for him to poop on me as much as he needed to. :(
He spent the night in the hospital. When we went to see him before leaving for the night he looked awful...face covered in drool, fur crusted with poo, sad face, no tail wagging when he saw us. I was terrified he would die. They gave him lots of fluids to rehydrate him and...well...I guess his kidneys did the rest. He was able to come home the next day and slowly returned to his old self. He still seems a little bit "different" than he used to be, but his organ functions seem ok, though his red blood cell count is on the low side of normal. No idea if it's related to long term effects of the poison or not.
I guess my hopeful lesson is that dogs are TOUGH and they are great healers. I believe your dog will bounce back.

best of luck and all our love to little India!

4th November 2010, 10:53 PM
second that gatsby's dad , the problem with fungi is that so many look alike and identifying them even for people with some knowledge can be problematic ,edible ones can be almost identical to poisonous ones and the differences can be so subtle ,the experts say if in any doubt leave well alone ,ive spent the last few days picking them out of the garden in the new house ,at the mo there arent many present so hopefully can get rid of them when we get the garden sorted next year

Cathy T
5th November 2010, 12:06 AM
Poor little Gatsby!! So glad he was okay, what an awful scare though. Cathy, your vet is so right!! Thank goodness you saw her with part of that mushroom in her mouth, I can't stand to think of what would have happened :(