PLEASE PRINT AND POST
WHEREVER DOG LOVERS MIGHT
|Mushrooms - a Lethal Danger to Dogs!
| LOSING DESTINEE
A Mushroom Horror Story
Dear Dog Lover,
Here’s a short quiz on natural elements dangerous to dogs: Which is more dangerous,
rattlesnakes or mushrooms?
Surprisingly, at least in our experience, mushrooms are much more dangerous. Although
we do not have autopsy confirmation yet, let us relate a painful story in the hope that
other dog lovers can avoid the devastating loss we just suffered.
We had lived on our property for almost 3 years. We bought it for our Weimaraner
kids as a safe place for them to romp; 18 fenced acres with no access to roads and
isolated enough that if someone did get out, there is little danger of getting run over. We
are behind a security gate controlled by a remote & gate code. Service people, PG&E,
etc., cannot drive onto the property unless we give them access. We thought we had the
perfect safe environment for our family.
Then the rattlesnakes came. We came from property where we encountered the
occasional rattlesnake; it is California, after all. After a visit to emergency with Destinee
and Ryan and their tangle with the first rattlesnake, then a July 4th weekend that resulted
in 5 dogs being bitten, we fenced in a smaller 2 acre area within the 18 - aviary fencing,
the works. Last year we only had 1 rattlesnake bite & managed to raise our 2 babies by
keeping them inside yet another fence all last summer. The Northern Pacific Rattler,
while very toxic, is a manageable threat. They warn if you are too near, they don’t always
inject venom and the bite is survivable with the proper care. Our dogs that have been
bitten are now very snake averse.
Saturday evening after the Camellia Capital KC show, I fed the kids dinner. Destinee
refused. This has happened to us many times. Someone has eaten a dumb thing, lizard,
half of a bird, whatever. Destinee had no visible symptom-no vomiting, diarrhea or
elevated temp. Destinee & I spent the afternoon together on the couch watching TV,
snuggling with a steady stream of other gray kids, usually her daughter Trinitee or her
Mom, Vanity. I even went as far as trimming her nails getting her ready for the show the
next day, which was Mother’s Day. I planned to take her to the dog show & take photos
of her with her 2 one-year old babies. The contrast of how we spent Mother’s Day & how
different it was from the one that I planned is still such a painful thought.
We took Destinee with us to a neighbor's house and she slept in her crate while we
visited. We checked on her a few times...just resting. That night she decided to sleep on
the couch while we all went to bed upstairs. She does this a lot, as she loves her spot on
the couch. Michael & I both checked on her at different times during the night...still
resting and in no apparent distress. At 5:45 AM the alarm went off for us to get ready for
the Sunday show. Destinee was in a coma. We spent the day in emergency & in the
evening took her to UC Davis. Her liver was destroyed. Everything, according to the
emergency clinic vets and the specialist at UC Davis pointed to a poisonous mushroom,
either the Death Cap or Destroying Angel.
If one gram of either is ingested, by the time you see any symptoms, it is too late. The
only recourse is a liver transplant, which is not done with dogs yet. The course of the
damage caused by the liver being destroyed & wreaking havoc on every other organ is
too painful & grizzly to relate.
We combed the property & found 4 mushrooms within the inner fence; one had been
bitten. It's a miracle we didn't lose more than just Destinee. We could have easily lost
The conditions that made this environment conducive to Death Cap mushroom growth
are very wet spring and sudden warmth. If you have deciduous trees, particularly Oaks,
you may also have these lethal mushrooms. Comb your grounds for all mushrooms and
compare them to the mushrooms found on this website:
According to the veterinarians involved, the only chance of your dog surviving this is
vomiting the mushroom. This is providing that you are lucky enough to witness your dog
in the act. If this is the case, “The Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook”, suggests
inducing vomiting by these methods:
• Syrup of ipecac (1 teaspoonful per 10 pounds body weight)
• Hydrogen Peroxide 3% (1-3 teaspoonfuls every 10 minutes, repeat 3 times)
• One half to 1 teaspoonful of salt, placed at the back of the tongue).
May I also add, induce the vomiting & get to emergency as fast as you can.
Forty-eight hours after Destinee’s death, and with all the introspection, soul-searching
and guilt, I’ve had with some realizations. We have had our share of emergencies &
tragedies. Our message to the caregivers in these situations has always been the same, be
as aggressive as you can be, do whatever you think makes sense. The money is not an
issue. To hear the veterinarians at UC Davis say this is hopeless no matter what you do is
just about as devastating as it gets.
Our plans to move are already in the works since, unlike the snakes, the threat to the rest
of our beloved pack from these mushrooms is too great. One bite of this killer is 100%
lethal. We will be looking for a flat piece of land with no rocks or trees. We've had
enough Jurassic Park.
Shiffra Steele & Michael Ayers
Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook
By Delbert G. Carlson, D.V.M. and James M. Giffin, D.V.M.
PS - Since this was written we have received necropsy results, which point to a
mycotoxin, aflatoxin or blue green algae. Even though the diagnosis is not 100%
conclusive for Death Cap Mushroom toxicity, Dr. Smarick, of UC Davis stated, "If you
ask me for a diagnosis right now, I would say mushroom, mushroom, mushroom. If you
ask me for a diagnosis beyond that, I’d have to think about it."
|Destinee (Ch Silverado Cosmopolitan)
|The Destroying Angel
|The Death Cap
|In Loving Memory