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Toxic mushroom kills young California dog

UC Davis warns of the risk of poisonous mushrooms.

Toxic mushroom kills young California dog
Griffin, an 8-week-old Alaskan Klee Kai, rests at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital shortly before his death.

Unable to save a puppy that ate a poisonous mushroom, the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine is warning pet owners about the danger.

The case began Dec. 4, when the owner of Griffin, an 8-week-old Alaskan Klee Kai, brought him to the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. The puppy had swallowed a death cap mushroom, also known by its scientific name, Amanita phalloides, the day before.

The death cap mushroom is highly toxic.

“The dog’s owner reported that they have hundreds of these mushrooms on their lawn in Loomis, and they think there are a lot more in the local area,” said Kate Hopper, BVSc, MVS, Ph.D.

Complete liver failure in such cases is possible within 24 hours, said Dr. Hopper, director of the hospital’s Small Animal Clinic.

“Every minute counts,” she said. “Recent research suggests that techniques such as total plasma exchange and plasma absorption, if performed soon after ingestion, may remove the toxin and prevent a fatal poisoning.”

Griffin received therapeutic plasma exchange but succumbed to liver failure. The one-day delay in admitting him may have worked against him.

“The best chance of our treatments working would be to start as soon as possible after ingestion,” Dr. Hopper said.

Death cap mushrooms can kill people and animals. Native to Europe, the fungus is found across North America and on other continents.

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