BY LESLIE HANSEN
First of all, my dog is okay. So you can read this letter without worrying about an unhappy ending.
Second, I wanted to share my experience to warn everyone about the possibility of dogs finding toxic mushrooms on local high-elevation trails, or anywhere there are a lot of wild mushrooms growing.
I took three of my dogs for a hike on the Cañada Bonita trail Saturday morning. About two miles in, I saw one dog running ahead of me messing with (eating?) something on the trail. When I got there, it was a flipped-over mushroom, with a nibble gone out of one side. I noted it had happened, but did not think much about it, and completed my hike.
Right after lunch, my dog started having shivers in his skin. He then started panting heavily. When I walked him around, and he started tripping and falling, I knew it was time to take him to the emergency vet. Unfortunately, the nearest one is in Algodones, NM, an hour and fifteen minute drive away. He panted heavily almost the whole way and he started having tremors. By the time we got to the vet, he could not stand up. They took him in as a critical care patient right away, and started him on oxygen and IV fluids. With supportive care, my dog was much better by late Saturday evening, and I was able to pick him up from the vet on Sunday.
The doctor told me that they have seen several cases of mushroom poisoning in the last month similar to my dog’s, with symptoms they do not normally see. I assume it is because there are more or different mushrooms this year with the early monsoon rains and high humidity.
There are some things you can do that I did not do. If you suspect your pet ate a wild mushroom, take a picture and/or collect the mushroom if it is safe for you to do so. You can contact a pet poison control line to establish a case and get instructions (there is a fee for this service).
Below are some of the resources for pet poison control and emergency vets. You should call ahead, as not all of these vets are open 24/7.
Pet Poison Helpline 1-855-764-7661 ($75 fee)
National Animal Poison Control Center 1-888-426-4435 ($95 fee?)
Roadrunner Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital (closest): 5 Camino Kirsten, Algodones, 505-384-6420
VCA Veterinary Care Animal Hospital and Referral Center: 9901 Montgomery Blvd NE, Albuquerque, 505-296-2982
Route 66 Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Center: 3601 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, 505-266-7866