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Vets warn dog owners of toxic mushroom poisoning risk

Poisoning symptoms alone can indicate a severe condition, which could lead to permanent damage to pets.

It is important that dog owners seek veterinary advice as soon as possible if they see their pets ingesting a fungus they do not know is edible, according veterinarian Sanna Viitanen. Image: Ville Välimäki / Yle

Each autumn, the Helsinki University Veterinary Hospital treats dogs that have consumed poisonous mushrooms.

Therefore, dog owners should seek veterinary advice as soon as possible if they see their pets ingesting a fungus they do not know is edible, according to Sanna Viitanen, head veterinarian at the hospital.

Viitanen further advised owners to pick up any parts of the mushroom, if found, to make it easier to identify the specimen and treat the pet.

Mushrooms poisonous for humans are poisonous for dogs as well. Additionally, the symptoms of poisoning in dogs and humans are similar.

Some mushrooms can be fatally poisonous to dogs. In Finland, these include the destroying angel, the death cap, the deadly webcap, the deadly skullcap and the brain mushroom in its raw form, according to a press release by Evidensia Veterinary Services.

Symptoms vary depending on the mushroom and its poison. For example, the destroying angel causes acute liver damage. Meanwhile, mushrooms belonging to the genus Inocybe can cause drooling, diarrhoea, nausea, as well as discharge from the eyes.

Poisoning symptoms can indicate a severe condition, which could lead to permanent damage.

As first aid for fungal poisoning, dogs can be given medicine to help induce vomiting, or given activated charcoal at home, Evidensia advised.

According to Mirja Kaimio, Veterinary Medical Expert at Evidensia, people should consult their pets' veterinarians for treatment advice. For example, when a dog exhibits signs of difficulty swallowing, nothing should be placed in its mouth, Kaimio added.