Ultimately, of course, it depends on the mushroom! However, with an increasingly warm and wet autumn climate, mushroom populations are soaring. In fact, in September 2018 the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) actually issued a warning about the problem. Read on to find out if wild mushrooms are harmful to dogs and what signs to watch out for.
If you think your dog may have eaten an unknown wild mushroom, contact us IMMEDIATELY for advice.
What is a wild mushroom?
This sounds really easy — but do you actually know what those bulbous masses are? Fungi are a kingdom of life all of their own, as different from plants as plants are from animals. Most fungi live in the environment and form networks of fine fibres growing through the soil. The mushrooms we see are their fruiting bodies, part of their reproductive cycle, which develop spores and then distribute them into the wind to spread where they will.
These fruiting bodies are high in protein and often very nutritious, so make a nice snack for any passing critter. Most fungi accept this as one of those things that, as a non-mobile fungus, one must put up with. However, there are a number that resent their unborn offspring being gobbled up by animals, and produce a range of really quite nasty poisons to deter peckish beasts.
What do wild mushrooms do to dogs?
The majority of the 4000 or so species of UK mushrooms are harmless – they might not taste nice, but they aren’t actually dangerous. However, there are a number that produce toxins called mushroom poisons (interestingly, although very similar poisons produced by moulds are called mycotoxins, the term is not usually used for those produced by the mushroom fruiting bodies themselves). For centuries, if not millennia, the properties of these fungi have been known by healers, botanists and shamens, and used for a range of uses.
In dogs, we tend to see three groups of clinical effects:
Early onset vomiting and/or diarrhoea
These are usually the least harmful types of mushroom – as a general rule of thumb, the earlier the symptoms appear, the less dangerous the mushroom is. This is because it triggers vomiting and purging that remove any unabsorbed toxins from the dog’s system rapidly. If the dog is violently vomiting within six hours of eating the mushroom(s), then although they need to be seen by one of our vets (dehydration and salt imbalances from profuse vomiting can be dangerous in itself), the prognosis is usually fairly good.
The most famous example is, of course, Psilocybe semilanceata, the “Magic Mushroom”, but there are a number of different psychoactive fungi in the UK. Unfortunately, dogs do not cope well with the effects of the active ingredients and may develop abnormal behaviour (well, of course!), self-injury, abnormal heartbeats and even seizures. In some cases, death may occur due to trauma while under the influence of the hallucinogen (for example, jumping from windows or running into solid objects), while in severe poisonings, the seizures may result in hyperthermia which may cause death from internal overheating (although fortunately this is relatively rare).
Liver and/or kidney damage
Sadly, many of the most dangerous mushrooms do not give easy tell-tail signs of poisoning until much later – possibly too late. These damage may damage the liver or kidneys, typically resulting in symptoms such as lethargy, depression, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urination (in kidney failure) and jaundice (in liver failure). Treatment requires intensive supportive therapy and often hospitalisation and the prognosis is guarded.
How do you know if a mushroom is safe or not?
The bottom line is that it’s very hard to tell – many harmless varieties have a poisonous twin that is almost indistinguishable. As a result, we strongly advise you not to let your dog eat wild mushrooms – full stop!
Archie and I spent the day exploring dog friendly Brixton and we found some real delights! Have a look below…
Start off with a coffee and/or breakfast at The Laundry on Coldharbour Lane which is a great space in a converted Edwardian Laundry! Dogs are welcome inside or on their pretty terrace and humans can also get a coffee to go if you can’t wait to get started on that walk.
From there it’s just a 15-minute walk to Brockwell Park which is a beautiful park with great views from the top of the hill as well as ponds and plenty of space to work up a hunger for lunch. You can also watch some humans braving the British weather at the Brockwell Lido if you pop into the lido café 400 Rabbits. (Dogs aren’t allowed in the pool though).
We stopped off at Ayla’s Pet Store on Dulwich Road to stock up on treats, then we headed to The Lounge Brixton on Atlantic Road for lunch.
The humans really like the sound of Caribbean Comfort food and they weren’t disappointed. They said the food was delicious but too spicy for us to try. Thankfully the staff were more generous and brought us our own treats.
This is a super friendly place we highly recommend our four-legged friends try.
The humans needed another stroll after lunch to help their full bellies (I don’t know what that is) so we strolled through Brixton Village Market which is a really cool covered market with lots of independent traders and eateries. Plenty of places for coffee and maybe some cakes for later.
The humans love beer so we had to pop in to see our friends at Brewdog who always have a warm waggy welcome for four-legged foodies!
If your humans still have room in their bellies after that, then they can get great pizza from Mamma Dough which is also on Coldharbour Lane.
The staff here LOVE dogs and the pizza is amazing, if you’re full then you can always get one delivered later.
We had a great day in Brixton and hope you will too! Keep an eye on Goddard Veterinary Group’s Pet Corner for more from me and my humans, in the meantime, why not visit us on Instagram?
Now, we all know how much I love my friends at Goddard Veterinary Group Kingston (especially Katy who gives me bacon flavoured treats) and I’m delighted to share my Kingston adventures with all the other Goddard’s doggies!
Kingston upon Thames is an ancient market town in South West London with a large shopping area, riverside restaurants and easy access to two Royal Parks. Kingston has a plethora of dog friendly pubs and a few restaurants. It is also my home town so here are some of my favourite things to do!
With two beautiful Royal Parks in the borough, Richmond Park in the North and Bushy in the South, there is plenty of outdoor adventures to be had. Richmond Park is the largest Royal park in London, so large you can go there for years and still not see all of it.
With a combination of large open spaces and wooded areas, the parks have something for everyone, I love to run and jump over fallen branches while Archie is happy to stroll along at a slower pace. And both have water for the swimmers or those who just like to paddle, like us! You can even spend the whole day with a leisurely picnic or try and steal someone else’s!
Both parks do have wild deer so be careful if you are a chaser!
The first place to stop off is mine and Archie’s favourite local shop, Woofs a Daisy. This is THE place in Kingston to get all you need for your adventures from collars and leads to toys and lots and lots of fabulous tasty treats.
If your pooch likes to join you in a spot of retail therapy, well behaved dogs on leads are welcome in John Lewis and West Elm. Kingston’s ancient market is a little piece of London history and has been there since the year 838! Imagine how many doggies have walked through there since then.
The market square has food stalls every day and regular events throughout the year with plenty of seating for you and your dog.
If parks aren’t your thing, then we recommend a lovely stroll along the river or better still a spot of sailing.
Pooches of all sizes are welcome on GoBoat which is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. Pack a picnic (don’t forget the dog treats) and hop aboard for a leisurely cruise down the Thames towards Hampton Court Palace.
We have seen a few dogs getting involved in Paddle Boarding on the Thames if you’re brave enough, you can also hire them at the riverside. I’ve been told I’m not brave enough but secretly think it’s the humans who aren’t!
Eating and Drinking
In good tradition, we saved the best for last! Here are our favourite dog friendly places for those well-earned refreshments after all that walking, shopping and general adventuring.
The Ram – Situated on the riverside, this pub is super dog friendly and has a large outdoor space facing the river. Perfect for dinner after your GoBoat adventure!
The Canbury Arms – A short stroll from Goddard’s Kingston you will find this friendly neighbourhood pub who absolutely adore dogs. Dogs are welcome in the large bar area and courtyard garden. I’m told the human food here is exceptional too!
Poor Boys – This is a fabulous place close to the river where we are welcome inside or on the terrace. The humans love the food here which is from New Orleans and we are usually lucky enough to get some because the portions are big!
Pottery Tapas Bar – Just down the road from Goddard’s Kingston is this amazing tapas restaurant with a beautiful secluded rear garden. We are allowed inside too and the humans enjoy a sneaky cocktail or two here.
We do hope you enjoy your visit to Kingston and don’t forget to keep an eye out for Archie and me! Keep an eye on Goddard Veterinary Group’s Pet Corner for more from me and my humans, in the meantime, why not visit us on Instagram?
Can you recognise the seven common signs of poor pet eye health? We are taking part in National Pet Eye Health Awareness Week (20-26 September) in partnership with TVM UK who have shared the most important things to look out for.
Careful observation of the way your pet looks and acts and what is classed as ‘normal’ for them is a first critical step for responsible pet care. Regarding eye health, any perceived changes in your pet’s eyes can be a good indication of whether or not a trip to your vet is warranted. Do both eyes look like each other, are the face and head symmetrical when comparing right to left?
Do they both look shiny and clear, not dull, cloudy or dry?
Are the pupils the same size and shape?
Is one eye squinting?
Is one eye runny with watery or sticky discharge?
Is the colour the same? Does one look red? Has the iris suddenly changed colour?
If one eye is showing differences to the other eye, or any of the above clinical signs, please get your pet checked by your vet as soon as possible.
Eyes are extremely sensitive and easily irritated – did you know that the cornea has around 20-40 times more nerve endings than the tooth root! And most of us know how painful tooth ache is…
If you believe that your pet is suffering from eye irritation you should contact your vet for advice as irritation can be a sign of eye pain or itchiness.
Symptoms that may suggest that your pet is suffering from eye irritation:
Pawing/rubbing at their eye/s
Squinting or excessive blinking
Excessive tear staining
Sticky or runny discharge
Swollen skin around the eyes
Dullness or cloudiness of the eye
Different pupil sizes
Some common reasons which may cause eye irritation in your pet:
Foreign object in the eye
Irritants – smoke, shampoo etc
Dry eye (poor tear film)
Eye problems can be very painful and go from bad to worse very quickly so don’t delay in seeking advice and treatment from your vet!
Like us pets often experience gradually failing eyesight as they approach their senior years and due to compensation using their other, superior, senses like smell and hearing, gradual sight loss may not be easily noticed by pet owners.
However, there are many other conditions which can cause your pet to go blind relatively suddenly at any age, so it important to be vigilant of sudden changes or symptoms.
Symptoms of acute eyesight loss you may notice are:
Changes in appearance of the eye
Clumsiness – bumping into things
Easily startled or nervous
Slow and cautious movement
Getting lost outside
Unable to find toys, food dishes, water etc.
Not wanting to go out at night
Conditions causing blindness are serious and need urgent treatment if there is any remaining chance to prevent total, permanent vision loss. Blindness can also be a result of many systemic diseases which can be damaging to other organ systems so it extra important to get your pet checked and treated.
Conditions that can cause blindness:
Tumours in the eye
Brain disease – Aneurism, Stroke, Seizures, Tumours or Infection
General Disease – e.g. diabetes, hyperthyroidism
Cataracts – more common in: Miniature Poodles, Miniature Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Boston Terriers and Siberian Huskies
Inflammation inside the eye
Tear stains are those reddish-brown marks that can appear on the fur around your pet’s eyes. These stains can be unsightly and noticeable, especially on pale fur.
Dog and cat tears naturally contain high amounts of porphyrins – these are iron containing compounds derived from red blood cell breakdown in the body. When tears sit on the skin the porphyrin staining will intensify in the presence of light.
Not only that, when tears sit on the skin around the eye, they make it damp which favours local bacterial growth – some bacteria can produce their own porphyrins therefore contributing to tear staining.
Tear staining is more likely to occur in certain breeds where tears find their way onto the face more easily, rather than draining normally down the tear ducts. For instance, this may be due to the shape of the face, abnormalities of the tear ducts, or small hairs around the corners of the eye that wick tears onto the face.
In most cases tear staining is largely a cosmetic problem and your pet will lead an otherwise normal life, however some patients with tears stains may have underlying eye problems which mean they overproduce tears due to ocular irritation. These tears can then spill over onto the face resulting in tear staining. It is important to ensure underlying reasons for tear staining have been ruled out by a vet as, if ignored, the underlying problem may progress and be harder to treat.
Your pet’s eyes are as sensitive as your own, and are just as susceptible to irritation, allergies, injury, and disease. One of the earliest signs of many eye problems is a red eye. If your pet’s eyes appear visibly red or swollen get them checked ASAP by your vet as some causes of a red eye are not only painful but can lead to permanent blindness if left untreated (such as glaucoma).
Common causes of redness:
Allergies or irritants
Foreign object in the eye
Uveitis (inflammation inside the eye)
Dull, Cloudy or Colour Change
Healthy eyes should be bright, clear and shiny- if your pet’s eye suddenly looks cloudy or opaque this is a sure sign of an eye problem which needs to be examined by a vet!
Most often cloudiness is noticed in the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye) or the lens- vision may be affected to varying degrees depending on the underlying cause.
Conditions most likely to cause cloudy or opaque eyes:
Uveitis- inflammation inside the eye
Pannus- autoimmune inflammation in the cornea, German Shepherds are predisposed
Injury or damage to the eye/s
Corneal ulcers or scratches
Nuclear Sclerosis is considered a normal ageing change in older pets where the lens takes on a cloudy or blueish haze – it doesn’t affect vision but can often be confused with cataracts on first glance. Your vet can easily distinguish between the two conditions by doing an eye exam.
Runny or Sticky Eye
Eye discharge is a common problem in pets. Some types are completely normal, while others may be associated with potentially serious health concerns. In order to determine when you need to take your pet to the vet, you’ll need to understand the various types of eye discharge and what each may mean.
5 most common types of eye discharge:
A little ‘gunk’ or crustiness – generally made out of dried tears, oil, mucus, dead cells, dust etc. Typically, clear or a slightly reddish-brown colour that accumulates at the inside corners of the eyes. Most evident in the morning and is perfectly normal, with the amount produced each day being relatively constant. It should be easily removed with a damp cloth or eye cleansing solution made for pets. The eyes shouldn’t be red and shouldn’t exhibit any signs of discomfort.
Watery Eyes – Excessive eye watering (AKA epiphora) is associated with many different conditions that can range from being relatively minor to more serious. Below are some of the common causes of watery eyes in pets:
Foreign body in the eye
Anatomical abnormalities (e.g. rolled in eyelids)
Blocked tear ducts
Glaucoma (increased eye pressure)
Your pet may have simply received an eyeful of pollen or dust, and the increased tearing is working to solve the problem. If eyes continue to water or your pet develops red, painful eyes or other types of eye discharge, make an appointment with your vet.
Reddish-Brown Tear Stains – many pets, especially those with light coloured fur, develop a reddish-brown discolouration to the fur near the inner corner of their eyes. This occurs because tears contain a pigment called porphyrin that turns reddish-brown with prolonged exposure to air. In most cases tear staining is cosmetic and can be removed with eye cleansers however sometimes it may be due to underlying disease causing excess tearing so it is advisable to get tear stains checked by a vet.
White-Grey Mucus – Can be a sign of Dry Eye (AKA keratoconjunctivitis sicca), a condition where the tear film becomes inadequate. A normal tear film is vital for good eye health so the body tries to compensate by making more mucus to try and lubricate the eyes. Left untreated Dry Eye can result in severe discomfort and potentially even blindness.
Yellow or Green Eye Discharge – pets whose eyes produce yellow or green discharge often have conjunctivitis or an eye infection.
From Bonfire Night to New Year’s Eve, over the years we’ve created a whole season of fireworks. Now, we’re all in favour of this, the more chances we get to celebrate, the better! But sadly many pets don’t feel the same way. In this blog, we’ve outlined our top 10 tips on how to keep your dogs, cats, and other pets safe this firework season.
TIP 1: DESENSITISE YOUR DOGS AND CATS
If your pet is afraid of the loud noises, start desensitisation therapy as early as you can. Try downloading firework sound effects from Dogs Trust and play them very, very quietly. Reward your pet for staying calm, and over weeks or even months, gradually increase the volume so they get used to the sound.
TIP 2: MAKE SURE THEY ARE MICROCHIPPED
Panicking pets tend to run, but they’re not so fussy where they run to! If they DO escape and are microchipped you can be sure you’ll be reunited again.
TIP 3: USE PHEROMONES
There are pheromone products available for cats and dogs such as Feliway and Adaptil. They are very effective at reducing stress and anxiety levels. Start using them at least 2-3 weeks before fireworks season starts if possible.
TIP 4: TRY OUT SOME CALMERS
There are a wide range of herbal and nutritional calmers on the market; some of which we stock and can recommend. Although the evidence for Zylkene isn’t conclusive, we think it really can help settle animals down if given over a prolonged period!
TIP 5: BUILD A NICE NEST
Your pets need to be kept safe and secure, with a suitable nest or den to hide in. This is especially important for dogs and cats, but also applies to rabbits and small furries kept in open cages or hutches. Make sure they can hide themselves away when the displays start!
TIP 6: KEEP YOUR ANIMALS SAFELY INDOORS
It may be a little tricky but make sure your cat and dog are safely inside. Not only will it stop them escaping (and then potentially coming to harm), but it will also muffle any scary sounds and frightening lights.
TIP 7: LIGHTPROOF AND SOUNDPROOF HUTCHES, CAGES AND AVIARIES
If possible, rabbits and other small pets in cages or hutches should also be brought inside — or at least, away from sight and sound of the fireworks. For example, a large hutch can usually be moved into a garage or shed. For cage birds, the aviary isn’t usually movable, but the bright flashes can panic birds into a smother. As a result, we recommend carefully covering the aviary (while leaving lots of air-holes!) to minimise any risk.
TIP 8: KEEP TO A NORMAL ROUTINE
Many pets are very sensitive to changes in routine and timing and can put them on edge. So as much as possible, keep everything the same. You really don’t need any extra stress — and neither do they!
TIP 9: DON’T REWARD FEARFUL BEHAVIOUR
Of course, if your dog is afraid, your cat is scared, or your rabbit is terrified, it’s only natural to try and comfort them. However, you need to be careful. Excessive fuss and treats can reinforce the fearful behaviour — as they learn this is what they need to do to get your attention! As a rule of thumb, make a moderate fuss of them if they come to you, but don’t go to them, or dramatically change the way you react. Remember, pets can pick up on our stress levels as well as vice versa, so it can spiral out of control!
TIP 10: COME AND TALK TO US
If your pet is really, really stressed and you’re worried they’ll hurt themselves — come and talk to us. Not only can we give you personalised and tailored advice, but our vets can, if necessary, prescribe anti-anxiety medications to relieve short-term stress, fear and panic.