Mosquitoes, mushrooms cause problems for pets

Sept. 15, 2010 at 4:15 a.m.

By Dr. John Beck

With the recent rains, the mosquitoes and mushrooms are back in full force. I think I remember seeing an article about the mushrooms, but couldn't remember what was said. Could you please recap? Thank you.

The recent downpour has brought back all kinds of things. It has made mushrooms spring up what seems like out of nowhere. It has brought back not only the mosquito, but also frogs and other pesky bugs trying to find a dry spot (usually inside our homes and businesses). And, don't let us forget the standing water that has accumulated on our property and in nearby parks/play yards.

Mushrooms can be harmful to your pet. Some dogs find them tasty, while others find them another fun thing to chew on from the backyard. If the right mushrooms are eaten or if enough of any mushroom is eaten, they can be toxic to your pet. The most common problems your pet experiences from eating mushrooms are vomiting and diarrhea (both can be bloody and frequent).

If enough of this occurs, dehydration can follow and internal organ function can begin to be affected. If you see mushrooms in your yard, the best thing to do is to pick them from their root and throw them in the trash. Picking them and throwing them back in the yard or kicking them over only eliminates their ability to grow larger and does not keep your pet from eating them. Leaving them in the yard can also help seed more and make a bigger problem than what you started with.

Mosquitoes are very bothersome and can carry heartworms. Previously thought to only affect dogs, recent studies have revealed they are just as detrimental to cats. Protecting both your canine and feline family is very easy. Simply giving an oral chew or topical drop, once monthly, will keep your pets from getting heartworms. These heartworm preventatives also protect your pet from intestinal parasites. Some even offer protection from fleas, too.

Frogs are also out and about and dogs always seem to think they are a fun toy to chase. If your dog gets a frog in its mouth, a lot of foaming will take place. The only time you have a serious problem is if your pet is eating frogs. Discouraging your dog from playing with frogs is your best bet.

Finally, try to rid your yard of any standing water, which is a great place for many protozoa, mosquitoes, bugs and other harmful parasites to hide. Your pet might be tempted to drink from one of these puddles, ingesting those parasites, potentially causing all types of problems.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or your local veterinarian.

Dr. John Beck has a veterinary practice at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria. Submit questions to Dr. Beck at



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