Adventures with Rottweilers

Toxic Mushrooms and Inquisitive Rottweilers

In February I got the shock of my life: Caitlin got poisoned by mushrooms.

How?

She doesn’t leave the fairy rings alone. And though I respectfully remove them every morning, it seems that she can find them even when they’ve barely begun to grow. Now I go out twice a day to scan the lawn for any sign of mushrooms…

Let’s just start by saying this: ALL mushrooms are toxic to dogs in some degree. So don’t feed them your mushroom-covered pizza, no matter how big and sad those eyes look. (Onions, garlic, avocadoes and tomatoes are bad for them, too. I’ll do a post about what you can and cannot feed dogs in a later post.)

Signs and symptoms of poisoning

Some mushrooms cause abdominal pain. Your dog will have a curled back, like they’re tucking in their stomach. But that doesn’t mean it is all the mushrooms are attacking…

According to Pet MD and other sites, these are the most common symptoms associated with mushroom poisoning (the ones in bold are what Caitlin had at home, the ones in italics what she had at the vet’s):

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Clumsiness (uncoordinated movements)
  • Yellowing of the skin/whites of eyes
  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Caitlin’s story

With Caitlin, the lethargy set in first. I thought she was just tired (she had been up for five hours straight and she’s still a puppy). Then she started to arch her back while walking – which led me to believe that she was trying to scratch and walk at the same time (I’ve had dogs do that before). But I had dusted her with my special diatomaceous earth/karbadust mixture the previous day… so I realised that she had abdominal pain. I bathed her – picking her up and placing her in the hot water. By this time the lethargy had turned to weakness. After her bath, she threw up all the contents of her stomach and more. (No visible poisons – only her peanut butter sandwich, meds and yogurt from that morning along with lots and lots of mucus.) She was drooling, which I attributed to nausea and the abdominal pain. She fell down when she tried to walk. I immediately loaded her into the car and took her to the vet. I had to carry her. Thankfully, after a quick exam and consultation with a colleague, the diagnosis was confirmed: mushroom poisoning.

The onset of symptoms was quick: I noticed the arched back around 10 am and had her at the vet by noon. It was a neurological attack, according to the vet.

Treatment

Despite quick intervention, she still got worse before she got better (she had seizures). She had to stay on a drip (fluids to flush out toxins, fluids to replenish lost electrolytes, antibiotics), she had to get scans to see if her kidney was fine (she had an abscess only the previous month and was on the last day of meds for that condition), blood tests and urine tests had to be run to see if her liver and kidneys weren’t shutting down, and she had to ingest activated charcoal with her food to bind and eliminate toxins. It was terrifying and horrific.

Early on Sunday morning she was well enough to return home. The nightmare lasted nearly 48 hours. It’s a good thing she vomited – it is always an excellent way to eliminate ingested toxins.

Prognosis

The prognosis is good: she’s back at home, being mischievous and eating activated charcoal three times a day with yogurt (she doesn’t like wet food). Had I been even an hour late in realising something was horribly wrong, she wouldn’t have made it.

Further reading:

Though Caitlin is now fine, I’m even more obsessed with keeping anything remotely harmful away from her.


The shaggy parasol mushrooms she likes to destroy.

If I had identified these mushrooms right, they are shaggy parasol mushrooms. Apparently they aren’t even all that toxic… But then, Caitlin did mess with pixies and as I said earlier: ALL mushrooms are toxic to dogs.

Want to keep up with Ronel’s Rottweilers? Follow us on InstagramPinterest and Twitter — we love to take mum’s phone and make appearances there. You can also sign up for Ronel’s author newsletter –and receive a free ebook — where Caitlin and Callum share news, too. (I won’t share your information and I’ll only email you once a month with updates on new releases, special offers, and a bit of news.)

**Legal waiver: I’m not a veterinarian, just an overprotective Rottweiler mum and pack leader. It’s always best to contact your vet if something in your dog’s behaviour is out of character.

2 thoughts on “Toxic Mushrooms and Inquisitive Rottweilers”

  1. I’m so glad you caught that early. We give our dog the run of the yard and we had someone try to poison him once. Luckily, pup got suspicious (must have smelled something) but it seems easy to poison pets.

    Hugs to Caitlin!

    1. It’s awful that someone tried to poison your pup! I had that happen in 2010 to three of my dogs… Horrible!
      Caitlin is back to her mischievous self — and on to a pouncing-chewing-getting-mum’s-attention phase. I’m currently hiding in my study 😉

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