Department of Health issues poisonous mushroom warning for Victorians and their pets

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All Victorians are urged to check their properties for wild mushrooms, which can put humans and their pets at risk of serious illness or even death.

They may look like something straight out of the pages of a Little Golden Book fairy tale, but there’s nothing delicate about mortuary (Amanita phalloides) or yellow (Agaricus xanthodermus) mushrooms.

The latter can cause nausea and vomiting, while the death cap is aptly named; eating just one can kill an adult.

The ministry notice said cooking, peeling or drying the mushrooms would not remove or inactivate the poison.

Both species are among the poisonous mushrooms that grow throughout the state, according to the recent health advisory from the Department of Health.

Humans were told to avoid picking and consuming wild mushrooms of unknown species and told to keep their animals away from them.

Pets can develop a range of illnesses from eating wild mushrooms, including gastroenteritis-like syndrome, to severe life-threatening illness and death,” said the assistant director of the health Angie Bone in a statement.

Mortuary mushrooms can cause serious illness or death in adults.(Provided: Alison Pouliot)

Dogs most at risk

RSPCA Victoria senior vet Christina Tee told ABC News that dogs are more likely than cats to eat poisonous mushrooms.

“Simply because dogs are more likely to sniff, pet owners take them for walks… it’s rarer for cats to go out for walks,” Dr Tee said.

A kelpie stands in the grass with the sunset in the background
Pet owners are advised to monitor dogs for symptoms of mushroom poisoning.(Provided: ABC Open/Ellie Morris)

There is an additional risk for working dogs operating on large rural properties.

Which mushrooms are poisonous?

Dr Tee said if you find fungus on your property it is important to remove them carefully.

“It’s hard to know what’s toxic and what’s not. The only way to prevent your pet from ingesting them is to remove the fungus,” she said.

“Wear gloves and avoid touching them, wash your hands after taking them off and be sure to put them in a plastic bag.

“Dispose of them safely, so that your pets cannot access them later. »

The Department of Health has said that if people suspect they have eaten a poisonous mushroom they should go to the emergency room urgently.

Small blue mushrooms growing on a log
The pixie’s parasol (Mycena interrupta) grows in the wetter forests of southeastern Australia.(Provided: Alison Pouliot)

If you think your pet has eaten one, contact your local veterinarian immediately.

In either case, it is recommended that you bring the mushroom with you for identification purposes.

Further information on poisonous mushrooms can be found at health.vic.gov.au/health-advisories/poisonous-mushrooms-growing-in-victoria.

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