Pet owners sound alarm over mushroom toxicity in Colorado

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — More rain and warm weather have mushrooms sprouting across the high country and Front Range. While it’s great news for those who like to forage the edible types, toxic mushrooms are keeping veterinarians busy.

Andrea Sims was on a hike near Copper Mountain with her 8-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog named Bozley last Friday.

“He’s definitely into everything,” Sims said. “He eats the mulch in the backyard. He cleans up our floors … I actually have nicknamed him Roomba.”

It was Bozley’s curious appetite that got him into some trouble. Sims is not sure exactly what type of mushrooms Bozley ate, but it was clear they were not edible.

“Once [the mushrooms] came back up, it was probably about a softball-size amount of mushrooms that he had consumed,” Sims said.

The Sims family rushed Bozley from the high country to an animal emergency room– Evolution Veterinary Specialists in Lakewood.

“[Bozley] was drooling a lot,” said Dr. Geri Lake-Bakaar, owner of Evolution Veterinary Specialists. “He was vomiting which is going to be one of the most common signs of a mushroom toxicity.”

What pet owners should look out for and do

Lake-Bakaar said mushroom toxicity is moderately common. It could be deadly depending on the type of mushroom consumed. Some mushrooms cause gastrointestinal issues while magic mushrooms can cause dysphoria. The Amanita muscaria mushrooms attack the liver and can lead to death if not treated quickly.

“We actually might even sedate them and flush out the stomach to get every little piece of mushroom out,” Lake-Bakaar said in reference to Amanita muscaria mushrooms.

For Bozley, a blood test showed his liver was OK and supportive care helped him gain a full recovery. Experts say– when in doubt– keep pets away from any and all mushrooms. If a pet eats toxic mushrooms, get to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Also, veterinarians would like to know what they’re dealing with. Pet owners are advised to take a picture or collect vomit so technicians can identify the mushroom.

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