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El Niño Rains In California Spur Growth Of Mushrooms Lethal To Pets

Jan 28, 2016 02:40 PM EST
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El Niño is bringing more than just heavy rain: Toxic mushrooms are sprouting up in areas of California and they could be lethal for pets.

Dogs, for example, are particularly vulnerable because of the amount of time they spend playing outdoors or in forested areas. In fact, veterinarians in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, said they have had at least one dog a week come in for a mushroom-related illness.

"Dogs can get very sick. Sometimes it's just vomiting, but other times it can lead to death. It's very, very tragic," Lisa Bloch of the Humane Society of Marin told CBS San Francisco.

Other symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, weakness, lethargy, jaundice, uncoordinated movements, excessive drooling or seizures. Some of the more toxic mushrooms, however, can eventually lead to liver or kidney failure, which is potentially fatal for your canine friend.

"It was horrible. I can't talk about it or I'll cry. It's been really difficult," Pam Moe said after she lost a 6-month-old puppy when it ate a deadly mushroom. "The hardest one it was on was my son. He said, 'Puppies don't die, babies don't die.'"

While not all mushrooms are deadly, many are. The ones to be on the lookout for include sulphur tufts, the destroying angel and the death cap mushroom. These mushrooms generally grow from either live or rotting trees.

Treatment for mushroom consumption is critical within the first 24 hours. When you bring your pet to the vet it is important to also bring the type of mushroom that he or she ate with you, as it will help poison control treat your pet.

However, you can keep your pet safe by ridding your backyard of all mushrooms - that way your dog has a safe place to play without the fear of mistaking a mushroom for a tennis ball.  

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