Couple starts campaign after losing dog to mushroom toxicity

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Couple starts campaign after losing dog to mushroom toxicity
A Quebec couple has started a campaign after they lost their beloved dog earlier this week after the animal ingested mushrooms. The couple says they are making it their mission to pass on critical information to other dog owners. Phil Carpenter has more. – Aug 5, 2023

Cynthia McLeod was still getting flowers Saturday days after losing a member of her family.

She says Sunday afternoon the dog was outside in the neighbour’s backyard in Hudson, west of Montreal, playing as usual. This time he was foraging for mushrooms, she recalls, and she tried to call him off but had no reason to be suspicious.

“I mean, there are mushrooms in people’s backyards, so you don’t know,” she said.

Sometime later the dog started to throw up which, according to her, wasn’t unusual since he liked foraging. Overnight, the dog was fine but by the next day he was more lethargic and by noon, she said, seemed almost intoxicated.  The dog had trouble with one leg and could barely walk.

McLeod and her husband Chris Feghali rushed Cody to an emergency vet and by Tuesday, they were called back.  The dog’s liver and other organs began to fail, McLeod said.

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“He didn’t look great and as soon as he saw us, he let go,” she said, fighting back tears. “He passed away.”

The couple said they had never heard about dogs or any pet dying of mushroom poisoning.

Mobile veterinarian Dr. Abbas Fotovati said he hasn’t seen many poisoning cases in Quebec since there aren’t very mushrooms in this province, compared with other places, because of the weather.

He pointed out that the conditions are ideal this summer in Montreal for mushrooms.

“We have a lot of rain and it’s fairly warm,” he explained, adding that he has been hearing more reports of mushroom poisoning among pets.

Fotovati said that unless you see the animal eating the mushroom, it’s hard to know if they were poisoned. And if you do see or suspect the animal has consumed mushrooms, he said you have to act quickly.

“Two hours,” he said. “I would actually say one hour, and I would prefer it to be like half an hour, to induce vomiting and to get the animal to a vet.”

He said he believes the best way to protect pets is to get rid of mushrooms in the backyard altogether, because it can be hard to tell which ones are poisonous.

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McLeod and her husband said they hope others can learn from their misfortune.

“At least we can take a little comfort in knowing that Cody’s passing wasn’t entirely in vain,” Feghali said.

The two have begun an online campaign to inform the public about the potential dangers of mushrooms to pets.

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