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Fungi can be no FUN for dogs

As the season changes and the wetter weather arrives, you may notice an increase in the number of mushrooms and toadstools growing in your garden or on your favourite walk.  Whilst mushrooms grow all year round, there tends to be an increase in the autumn.

There are more than 4000 species of fungi in the UK and they can vary significantly in shape, size and colour. Some species are virtually indistinguishable from each other, which can make accurate identification very difficult without expert knowledge.

While many fungi are harmless, others can result in different symptoms such as tummy upsets or renal failure and sometimes breathing problems. Fortunately, poisoning which occurs when dogs eat the fungi is uncommon in the UK, however, fatalities can occur. With this in mind, you should exercise caution when allowing your dog to roam off the lead through woodland areas and make efforts wherever possible to avoid wild mushrooms.

The majority of animals who eat fungi will remain well, and typically the faster the onset of tummy upsets and effects, the less likely it is to be a toxic species that can result in organ damage. Usually the animal will have tummy upset within 6 hours. More severe side effects such as liver and kidney failure can manifest over a couple of days, therefore careful monitoring is imperative.

Symptoms can range in severity, depending on a number of influential factors such as species of wild mushroom and the amount eaten. Indicators that a dog may be experiencing potential fungi poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Fits  
  • Diarrhoea/blood in stools
  • Lethargy
  • Jaundice
  • Unconsciousness
  • Difficulty with coordination

If you suspect that your pet has eaten mushrooms or other fungi please take them to your local vet for examination if they display signs of being unwell.