The Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control center based in Minneapolis, MN, reminds pet owners of the dangers of dogs eating poisonous mushrooms with its “Toxin Tails” campaign and the story of Awilda Cadet and her 80-pound dog Davie who had eaten a part of a mushroom commonly known as a Destroying Angel mushroom.
Cadet and her fiancé, Pepi Blanco, were out in their yard when Cadet noticed Davey eating something. She immediately pulled it from his mouth but realized he had ingested some of the mushroom. The dog did not have an immediate reaction but started vomiting approximately seven hours after exposure and was “not moving” the next morning. That is when they realized it was serious.
“We have a big back yard, with deer and other animals, so we keep a very close watch on Davey when he’s out there,” said Blanco. “You’ve got to be really careful. If he had eaten the whole mushroom, he’d be gone.” Cadet and Blanco ended up finding more than 20 other Destroying Angel mushrooms in the yard and removed them.
“The Destroying Angel mushroom is one of the deadliest mushrooms to grow in nature,” said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, a board-certified veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline. “It contains toxins known as cyclopeptides, or more specifically amatoxins. These basically target how the body makes life-essential proteins, with the main target organs being the liver and kidneys. Ingestion of small amounts can lead to severe and very rapid liver failure and death.”
The veterinarians and board-certified toxicologists at Pet Poison Helpline are highly trained to assist in all types of toxicities, including Davey’s potentially fatal ingestion.
Animals that ingest these mushrooms will develop signs within 6-12 hours, which initially include vomiting and diarrhea. Next, they enter a 12-24-hour period of “false recovery” where they appear to be improving before they go into acute liver failure. At the end stage of the poisoning, their kidneys may fail as well. Death often occurs within several days of ingestion.
Davey was incredibly lucky. After 17 rounds of a liver protectant, along with IV fluids, vitamin K1 (to help blood clotting), anti-vomiting drugs and round-the clock care, the veterinary staff at Veterinary Care of Mount Pleasant were able to save his life. His liver values and blood clotting ability began to improve significantly, and they were able to take him home after seven days.
“This family did not give up on their pet and neither would we,” said Dr. Williman from Veterinary Care of Mount Pleasant. “An unusual poisoning such as this can be very difficult for a general practitioner to diagnose, so quick medical attention by your veterinarian, followed by advice from the team at Pet Poison Helpline, can really help save a pet’s life. Cases such as this can have quite different outcomes, so we are very pleased at Davey’s recovery and prognosis for a long and healthy life.”
Pet Poison Helpline created “Toxin Tails” to educate the veterinary community and pet lovers on the many types of poisoning dangers facing pets, both in and out of the home. All the pets highlighted in “Toxin Tails” have been successfully treated for the poisoning and fully recovered.