The toxic ingredients of these mushrooms are cyclopeptides including the amatoxins, phallotoxins, and virotoxins. Amatoxins are bicyclic octapeptides and include the amanitins (a-, b-, c-, and e-amanitins), amanin, amanullin, and proamanullin. Severe poisonings and lethality are mainly attributable to the amanitins.
Acute fulminant liver failure and death can occur within a few days of ingestion and young curious dogs are more prone to ingestion of these mushrooms.
Clinically affected dogs usually present within 12 hours following ingestion of mushrooms and show signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, general body twitching, tremors, ataxia, hepatic encephalopathy and diarrhea. Severe neurological signs such as seizures have also been reported.
Histological examination of liver biopsies show consist evidence of acute hepatic necrosis due to absorption of amantinin toxins.
A presumptive diagnosis is based on historical evidence of ingestion, identification of amanitin-containing mushrooms in the environment of the animal and presenting clinical signs. In some cases, mushroom pieces may be found in gastric contents and can confirm exposure.
A definitive diagnosis requires enzyme testing of liver samples for presence of toxin.
Treatment usually requires aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, N-acetylcysteine and antioxidants such as ascorbic acid.
- Gentle Dr Animal Hospital
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