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Not everything in the garden is good...

Beware... autumn is toadstool season! Mushrooms may be tasty on pizzas and in omelettes but they can be lethal to dogs. Bernadette Bay was heartbroken when her little sheltie Hex died after eating what was believed to be a deadly mushroom. Initially it caused kidney failure, then systemic inflammatory response syndrome and finally death.

It is an exceptionally good autumn for toadstools - probably due to the wet summer - but not for all dogs. Six cases of dog poisoning by toadstools have already been reported to the fungal identification experts working at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew so far this autumn.

Some toadstools are edible, but some have toxins. There are different toxins, and symptoms of mushroom poisoning may vary from a short term gastric upset, to life-threatening organ failure resulting in death. Serious symptoms do not always occur immediately after eating; often not until the toxin attacks the kidney or liver, sometimes days or weeks later. One example of dogs being poisoned is with the toxin muscarine, which causes vomiting, diarrhoea, salivation, perspiration, and tears. In high doses it can cause a lowered heart rate and respiratory failure. Symptoms can be treated with atropine.

Please watch out in case your dog eats anything that is poisonous. If you suspect that your dog has eaten poisonous toadstools take him/her to your vet immediately. If you can find samples of what your dog has eaten, wrap them in tissue or newspaper. Toadstools can be identified dry, but will quickly rot beyond recognition if put into plastic bags.

Your vet should contact Guy's & St. Tomas' Hospital Trust. Your contact for more information on poisonous fungi there would be Dr. Nick Edwards at the Poison's Unit: Tel. 020 777 5300 

Guy's Hospital
Great Maze Pond
London SE1 9RT
Tel: 020 7188 7188
 St Thomas' Hospital
Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7EH
Tel: 020 7188 7188  

Advice on acute poisonings / overdose
Enquiries from healthcare providers concerning the management of patients presenting with acute poisoning should be directed urgently to the National Poisons Information Service on 0844 892 0111 or by using the on-line information database TOXBASE ( 

Patients and their relatives with enquiries concerning poisoning / overdose should contact NHS Direct on 08454647.

Pot Pouri
If you have pot pouri in the house please remove immediately! It is extremely poisonous to dogs! We've heard from Laura Innes of two pups who got hold of some when it was knocked down from a windowsill and they both got very ill and had to go to the vets.

Laura reckons they ate approximately one large handful between the two of them. The symptoms they have had are extreme vomiting, dehydration, ataxia and general pain. Both are on fluids in vets and could take at least 4 days to recover. Who would have thought this amount of damage could be caused by pot pouri! Please pass on.

This time of year 'posh' lawns, such as cricket pitches, gardens and possibly training venues are treated with fertilizers containing nitrates which can cause alkaline burns on contact with the skin and/ or herbicides to kill moss and weeds). In dogs, contact with these chemicals can cause painful skin irritation, and even nasty puss-filled blisters where the skin is not protected by the dogs coat (e.g. tummy area).


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