Monday Jun 13 2011
Gourmet tastes may have done dog in
By: Gloria Beverage Gold Country News Service
Pet may have eaten poisonous mushrooms
Gayle Moore’s beloved pet, Pidge, loved to eat dirt. Sadly, the Jack Russell terrier’s foraging ways resulted in her death last month. Moore believes the 13-year-old terrier may have eaten some poisonous mushrooms that had sprouted in the garden of her Lincoln residence. Unfortunately, Moore didn’t realize anything was wrong until Pidge began to shake uncontrollably one evening. “I just held her. I figured she had eaten something,” Moore said. “She did this once before when she got hold of some oleanders.” The next day, she took Pidge to the vet, who ran blood tests and took X-rays. “They found a mass where her liver was,” Moore continued. “She couldn’t eat or drink. She got to the point where she couldn’t walk.” At that point, Moore made the difficult decision to euthanize her pet. Although her other two dogs don’t crave dirt like Pidge did, Moore says she’s now on constant “mushroom patrol.” She has also fenced the melon patch where she keeps the compost pile. “If I find mushrooms in the yard,” she said. “I take them out immediately so the dogs won’t get into them.” Spring is prime mushroom-growing season, noted veterinarian Dr. Eric Grunder with Rocklin Road Veterinary Hospital. To prevent mushroom poisoning, Grunder urges dog-lovers to remove any mushrooms found in the garden. “Do look in the yard,” he said. “Look in dark, moist areas — under picnic tables and benches, under dense foliage.” Mushrooms pop up everywhere — in yards, in the woods, in parks, alongside roads. They’re particularly fond of dark, moist areas, Grunder said. Since only a fungus specialist or someone who has been hunting wild mushrooms for years can differentiate between safe and poisonous mushrooms, Grunder said, the best way to prevent mushroom poisoning is to remove them from the yard and garden. “If your dog has a propensity to eat grass, check every so often (for mushrooms), particularly in the spring when things start to grow,” he said. “If you see your dog eat a mushroom, as quickly as possible get to a veterinarian who can induce vomiting,” Grunder added. There are some home remedies that can induce vomiting, but they are not as effective as the injectable types used by veterinarians. Symptoms of mushroom poisoning include vomiting, anorexia or lack of interest in food and surroundings. By the time these symptoms manifest, Grunder said, “The damage has already been done.” If not treated quickly, mushroom poisoning can result in liver or kidney failure or damage to the central nervous system.