Toxic Mushrooms

Amanita Ocreata “Western Destroying Angels”

The rains have returned and with the rains mushrooms are sprouting again.  The Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services team wanted to alert you to a serious potential toxicity for your pet, poisonous mushrooms.

The Bay Area is fertile ground for the Amanita phalloides “Death Cap” and Amanita ocreata “Western Destroying Angel” mushrooms. Once eaten, even a single mushroom, pets can become critically ill developing liver failure, renal failure, and even death.  Here are some tips and information on how to handle the mushroom season in SF Bay Area:

  • Prior to letting your pets out, always survey your yard for any new caps and remove them.  Wash your hands after removing them.  Be mindful: mushrooms do pop up overnight.
  • Work with your pet on rapid re-calls, and teach them “Drop it.”
  • Keep your pet on leash and monitor your path for mushrooms while out on walks.

If your pet ingests a mushroom or actively starts chewing a mushroom:

1) Physically take out as much of the mushroom from your pet’s mouth.

2) Take a full sample of the mushroom or whatever pieces your have with you to your closest emergency hospital.  This will enable the doctors to submit a sample for identification with a local mycologist.

3) Go directly to your nearest veterinary emergency clinic, like Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services in San Francisco, for vomit induction and further care due to the mushroom ingestion.

WARNING: we do not recommend that you induce vomiting at home, as this could cause possible aspiration pneumonia and further irritation to the esophagus and delay treatment for this serious toxin.

Amanita Phalloides “Death Cap”

What would mushroom toxicity look like in your pet?

Aminata toxicity has three phases:

Phase 1: within the first 6 – 12 hours: pets may vomit, have bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, lack of appetite, an elevated heart rate, and become dehydrated.  They maybe restless, hunching, and having difficulty getting comfortable.

Phase 2: 12- 24 hours: pets may appear weak, tired, and generally ill.  Blood work will show rising liver enzymes.

Phase 3: 24 plus hours: pets will develop liver failure and potential renal failure with marked rises in liver enzymes, difficulty clotting their blood, and spontaneous bleeding may occur. 

There is a high risk of death with amanita toxins. 

They are rapidly absorbed from the gut within in minutes to hours of ingestion.  A single mushroom may contain up to 15 mg of toxin (a lethal dose may be as low as 0.1 mg/kg of body weight).  Pets that eat a poisonous mushroom will require hospitalization and aggressive supportive care.  Even with this, sadly there is a high risk of death.  So we hope this this bit of education we can all watch for and remove the mushrooms in our pet’s environments before they become a problem.

Wishing all a safe winter!

Contact Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services [415.566.0540] if you have any questions regarding mushroom ingestions. AIMSS SF has 24/7 emergency and specialty critical care.