Our resident vet Alice Moore on the dangers of wild mushrooms for dogs

All this wet weather means that there have been lots of mushrooms and fungi sprouting in fields and woodland.

As vets our only worry is if these mushrooms get eaten by inquisitive and greedy dogs. The trouble with mushroom ingestion is that toxicity varies depending on the variety of mushroom.

My knowledge of mushrooms stretches to the fact that those with brown frills underneath are less dangerous than those with white frills underneath; however I freely admit I am no great “forager” therefore I would not necessarily know which mushrooms are edible and which are poisonous for people, let alone dogs.

Luckily I do not have to know these facts as we have the “Veterinary Poisons Information Service” (VPIS) on the end of the phone and they, in turn, have a mycologist at the “Fungus Conservation Trust” available to identify toxic species.

The VPIS will advise us on initial treatment and then email us a questionnaire about the mushroom which you, the owner, can answer along with sending photographs.

Therefore the most important thing that you can do as a dog owner, if you think your dog has eaten a mushroom, is to try and take a sample of what they have eaten and ideally photograph it in situ. With the help of the mycologist and your accurate description of the fungus we should be able to identify the mushroom and tailor our treatment accordingly.

Most mushroom toxicities can be treated successfully with supportive therapy at the vets but outcomes will always be better if we know exactly what we are dealing with as the initiating cause.

*Alice Moore is a vet at Castle Veterinary Clinic, Dorchester and Weymouth. Tel 01305 267083