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After puppy’s death, UC Davis vets warn to keep dogs away from poisonous mushrooms

Doctors unsuccessfully attempted to treat Griffin, an 8-week-old Alaskan Klee Kai puppy, after he ate a “death cap” mushroom on Sunday.
Doctors unsuccessfully attempted to treat Griffin, an 8-week-old Alaskan Klee Kai puppy, after he ate a “death cap” mushroom on Sunday. UC Davis Veterinary Hospital

UC Davis is cautioning pet owners to keep their furry friends away from a mushroom commonly found in Northern California after a puppy died Wednesday in the university’s veterinary center.

The puppy’s owners said they had hundreds of Amanita phalloides, known as “death cap” mushrooms, on their lawn in Loomis, according to a UC Davis Veterinary Center news release. He was an 8-week-old Alaskan Klee Kai named Griffin.

“We’ve had several calls from local pet owners concerned about Amanita mushrooms,” said Dr. Kate Hopper, director of UC Davis’s Small Animal Clinic, in the release. “They report these mushrooms growing in the Sacramento area currently, but it may grow in all areas of Northern California.”

Consuming even a small amount of Amanita can cause humans or animals’ livers to shut down within 24 hours and can also damage the kidneys and intestinal tract.

Griffin’s owners brought him Monday after seeing him eat a mushroom on Sunday. A therapeutic plasma exchange was administered, but he died from liver failure on Wednesday.

Fourteen Northern California residents ranging from 18 months to 93 years old were poisoned after eating Amanita in November, according to a California Poison Control report. Three required liver transplants, and the 18-month-old girl suffered permanent neurological impairment.

A Boston terrier in the Bay Area suffered Griffin’s same sad fate after consuming Amanita last spring, the Marin Independent Journal reported.

Several types of mushrooms, including the Armillaria mellea that has given local gardeners headaches in recent months, have popped up in droves due in part to last year’s wet winter. While not all are toxic, anyone who believes their pet may have eaten a poisonous mushroom is urged to immediately contact their local veterinarian.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel

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