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Poisonous Mushrooms to Avoid

Dog Days of Summer: Watch Out For "Death Cap" Mushrooms

As if the ominous name didn't clue you in, death caps are very dangerous. This species is responsible for the majority — 95 percent! — of fatal mushroom poisoning of people and pets. Now that Summer is in full bloom and you're taking advantage of hikes in the woods and trips to the park with your dog, there is no better time to learn about this deadly fungus and how to avoid it.

Not commonly found throughout the US, the fungi have been reported in areas as wide-reaching as upstate NY and New Jersey over to southern Oregon and the San Francisco Bay Area.

If you're taking a walk with your pooch, know how to recognize and avoid Amanita phalloides (the death cap's scientific name). They grow year round and thrive in moist environments commonly found on the roots of live trees. Although the above picture is one example, exact identification is unreliable because their appearance can vary. Translation: don't eat, or let pets eat, any wild growing mushrooms.

Learn how this affects your pets and how it should be treated when you break.

Untreated ingestion of even a small portion of a death cap mushroom can be fatal because it causes liver injury and failure. If you suspect that a pet has sampled this species, bring him to the vet immediately. If treated early enough, the doctors can induce vomiting and give activated charcoal to save your pooch.

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