Puppy Nearly Dies After Eating Backyard Mushrooms

puppy who ate poisonous mushroomsWhen Richard D’Alsace saw Sandy, his 13-week-old Golden Retriever, munching on some mushrooms growing in his Manorville, N.Y., backyard lawn, he figured they were harmless.

But the next morning, Sandy was vomiting. D’Alsace took the puppy to the East End Veterinary Emergency Center.

Sandy was very close to experiencing kidney and liver failure. “She was practically on the verge of death,” veterinarian Gal Vatash told CBS New York.

For 10 days, Sandy received blood transfusions and medication. “We spent four days not sure she would make it,” D’Alsace told CBS New York.

Mushroom expert Peggy Horman told CBS New York that poisonous mushrooms grow everywhere. “You find them in parks, backyards and along the road,” she said. “They are deadly to puppies and toddlers who put anything in their mouths.”

Sandy ate a type of amanita mushroom known as the destroying angel. These mushrooms are white, with a cap and large bulb. The main symptoms of mushroom poisoning are lack of appetite and vomiting. If the whites of your dog’s eyes are yellow, his liver may already be affected. You should immediately take him to a vet or animal emergency hospital for treatment.

Just two weeks ago, a new life-saving procedure for dogs poisoned by death cap mushrooms (Amanita phalloides) was announced in California.

At a news conference July 16, veterinarian Mike Barlia and physician Todd Mitchell said they had tested the antidote on a Miniature Australian Shepherd named Kasey, who was brought to the PETS Referral Center in Berkeley after he ingested death cap mushrooms on July 2.

Kasey’s prognosis was grave. Barlia didn’t want to give up on the dog, so he phoned a poison control hotline. He was put in touch with Mitchell, who is overseeing a clinical trial of an antidote for humans poisoned by mushrooms.

“Mike wanted the drug, but I had to tell him it wasn’t available,” Mitchell said at the news conference. “I told him to find the gallbladder where the toxins accumulate, use a needle and syringe and drain it. Kasey is the first of any animal species, including humans, this was tried on. We will now recommend this for human poisonings where the trial drug is not available.”

Kasey recovered and was well enough to appear with the doctors at the news conference. Barlia said the procedure “could become standard for veterinarians racing against time to save dogs who eat poisonous mushrooms.”

Sandy is also recovering. The Facebook page Saving Sandy has been created to raise funds to help pay for her $10,000 vet bill.

“Sandy also wants to protect other families and friends by educating as many people as she can on the dangers of toxic mushrooms and how to quickly react in case of accidental ingestion,” D’Alsace wrote on his Saving Sandy and Mushroom Awareness website.

“If we had any experience or knowledge of the seriousness of mushroom toxins, we would have acted quicker and could have prevented the level of symptoms that have occurred.”

If your dog is ever poisoned by mushrooms or other plants or substances, here are tips from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

PHOTO: Facebook

Laura Goldman

Laura Goldman is senior social media writer for i Love Dogs, Inc. She does love dogs. And elephants and turtles. Along with writing about the loves of her life, Laura likes to play with her two pound pups and tell anyone who'll listen just how awesome Pit Bulls are.

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I live in Texas.  I too have been through this toxic poisoning.  My 4 month old, 2 lb. Chihuahua also ingested a mushroom.  It's been very dry here and after a good rain a bunch of them popped up.  I always stomp on them as soon as I see them come up, but it is impossible to find them all.  Within 10 of 15 minutes after she ate it, she developed diarrhea and soon afterward she was vomiting.  From the time the symptoms started it was about 3 hours when we arrived at the emergency vet.  Because she was already dehydrated they immediately started an iv and pulled blood work.  Her liver and kidney functions were really high.  She was deathly ill.  She seem to stabilize and then they had a problem keeping her body heat up.  I took her the next morning to her vet, Pine Forrest Animal Clinic.  They immediately assessed her and hooked  her back up to the IV and monitored her very closely all day.  She seemed happy to see my husband and I, she kissed us on the nose and wagged her tail a little and she even tried to get up, but she was very very weak.  Another night at the emergency clinic followed by another stay at our vet did wonders.  That evening we were able to bring her home.  She is doing really good, I have her back eating and her bowels are moving good.  Her kidney function is back to normal, she is on 3 kinds of meds at home.  My little girl is doing better than expected.  Her liver functions are still high but have come down a lot.  Only time will tell if her liver function fully recovers, my vet seems to think because she is so young that they should. 

My baby girl just came home yesterday evening.  I don't let her out of my sight and I make sure everything is swept up and put up.  The fear and heartache going through this with her has been very rough. If we had waited any longer than we did, she would not have made it.   I was told by the emergency vet that they have seen an increase this year in mushroom poisonings.  I am really surprised that there is no warning, no news no nothing making this type of poisoning known to the public and pet owners!  We have started letting people know that the mushrooms that pop up in your yard are harmful to your pets and also young children!  Please spread the word so that we can let every pet owners be aware of this potentially fatal illness. 

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