Dog on a forest walk, minor wound

Fungal poisoning in dogs

Autumn is just around the corner and with it pleasant forest walks and mushroom picking. In this article we tell you more about the signs that dogs can get after eating fungi, list the most toxic mushrooms and give you advice on how to act in case of suspected poisoning.

This article was written by a FirstVet vet

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Fungal poisoning in dogs

In late summer and autumn, fungi start to appear in forests and across the land, as well as in our gardens. It is important for dog owners to keep track of what your dog may be able to find when out and about. Gardens and spaces for puppies, young dogs and other curious pets should have preventative measures in place to protect them.

Fungi are generally difficult to digest but can also be poisonous, or at worst, deadly toxic. Even if a dog only sniffs or licks a poisonous fungus, they can become seriously ill. The most common symptoms of fungal poisoning are short-term vomiting and diarrhoea about 30 minutes to three hours after ingestion. For example, the Death cap (Amanita phalloides), one of the UK's most poisonous fungi, shows symptoms 6-24 hours after being consumed. When a dog eats the Death cap fungus initial symptoms are vomiting, diarrhoea and severe abdominal pain. It also causes kidney and liver failure. Ingestion of just half a cap can lead to death.

If you suspect that your dog has ingested a fungus, you should see a vet as soon as possible. It is crucial to identify the type of fungus in question. Take pictures of the fungus, where it grows, and, if safe to do so, bring a fungus in a sealed container with you, in order to aid identification. The vet will then be able to get help from mycologists (fungal experts) to identify the fungus correctly, and provide the right treatment for your pet.

Types of fungi

Most people probably recognize Fly agarics (Amanita muscaria), with scarlet or orange caps covered with white, wart-like spots, but there are many common types of fungi that can make your dog ill.

Seven of the most poisonous fungi in the UK are:

  • Death cap (Amanita phalloides)

  • Deadly webcap (Cortinarius rubellus)

  • Destroying angel (Amanita virosa)

  • Funeral bell (Galerina marginata)

  • Fool's funnel (Clitocybe rivulosa)

  • Panther cap (Amanita pantherina)

  • Angel's wings (Pleurocybella porrigens)

Always contact a veterinarian if fungal poisoning is suspected

If fungal poisoning is suspected, it is important that the animal receives help as soon as possible. FirstVet can help you try to identify the fungus and help you to find your nearest open veterinary clinic - but do not let any waiting time for video calls with us delay your trip to a physical vet clinic!

The Animal PoisonLine is available 24hours a day. More information is available from The Woodland Trust, where you will also find pictures of poisonous mushrooms.

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