Deadly Amanita “Death Cap” Mushroom Toxicity

Alert from the Emergency and Critical Care Service at NorthStar VETS:
We have had four cases (one confirmed, and three other suspected) of young dogs with acute liver failure secondary to suspected Amanita mushroom ingestion. These cases have been in Robbinsville, Princeton Junction, Hamilton, and Mt. Holly New Jersey.

Signs start with vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and low blood sugar, and progress to severe clotting disorder, ALT liver value elevation, neurologic impairment, and ultimately death.

Amanita 'Death Cap' MushroomWhat to do:

  • Inspect your yard for any mushrooms, take pictures, remove them, and try to identify them.
  • Consider walking your dog on leash to monitor and try to prevent ingestion.
  • If your dog ingested mushrooms, bring them to the hospital right away so that vomiting can be induced, and further options discussed based on the type of mushroom ingested.

How to Identify:

  • Look up pictures of Amanita online.
  • Call HUMAN Poison control and email them a picture, they may help identify them.
  • Visit, an organization of mycologists that can help identify these mushrooms from pictures via email.

How to Treat:

  • Prevent exposure.
  • The earlier the recognition and intervention, the better. There are measures we can take to decontaminate beyond emesis, but we must intervene very early.
  • Supportive care for liver failure with antioxidants, vitamin K, plasma transfusions, and other medications. At this point prognosis is guarded to poor.

If you have questions about these mushrooms, contact the North American Mycological Association. If your pet is ill or you suspect they ate one of these mushrooms, contact your family veterinarian immediately or bring them to NorthStar VETS.

Barbara Maton, DVM, DACVECCBarbara Maton, DVM, DACVECC
Dr. Maton is originally from Florida, where she earned her undergraduate degree in biology from the University of North Florida, and studied veterinary medicine at the University of Florida, obtaining her DVM in 2006. She completed a rotating internship focused on emergency medicine at SouthPaws Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Center in Virginia, then moved to Pittsburgh where she worked as an emergency veterinarian for two years and completed her residency in the specialty in 2012. After helping to start a critical care service at an established veterinary referral hospital in Delaware, she joined NorthStar VETS in 2014. Her clinical and research interests include trauma, electrolyte derangements, anticoagulant therapies and CPR medicine.

The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your family veterinarian’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own veterinarian to determine what is right for your pet. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. We can not and do not give you medical advice via this blog. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your veterinarian. We do not recommend the self-management of your pet’s health problems.

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