This month marks very sad the anniversary of the loss of of our sweet dog, Maggie. It was just three short years ago that Maggie ingested poisonous mushrooms, commonly referred to as Amanita Phalloides or Death Caps.
These Death Caps are quite beautiful and appear to be harmless, but don't be fooled. They appear throughout the Bay Area and are most prevalent in the coastal and wooded areas.
As a Foster City resident I saw these mushrooms often on our daily walks, but paid no attention. They were even in our yard. I had no idea they were so deadly to our pet. the symptoms are devastating and in the end, you are left with a broken heart.
Early September 2009 Maggie ingested a death cap possibly on our morning walk. It only took a few hours for us to know there was something horribly wrong, 24 hours for the symptoms to become terminal, and death in less than 2 days. Even though we took our Maggie to the vet right away, it was too late.
Recently I was horrified to see a cluster of death caps around the perimeter of the dog park, however not within the confines of the dog run.
Until now it was a death sentence for your dog. In July a dog named Kasey from Richmond ingested the deadly mushrooms. Veterinarians from Berkeley and Santa Cruz used an experimental procedure commonly used on humans, but never on dogs. It involved draining the poisons from the dog's gall bladder and administering a drug common for people but never animals. It was very risky, but they had nothing to lose. They saved Kasey and now call him a "Wonder Dog.
The Daily Journal did a story about our Maggie's death to warn pet owners about the coming rainy season, however Maggie ingested these death caps in the warm balmy month of September, they sometimes are found and thrive around the base of oak trees, which we had in our back yard.
Our neighbors were horrified when we removed all of the trees, but having a small dog too, they soon forgave once they realized that our Maggie quite possible ingested them right there in our yard. They loved her too.
To remind everyone that this is not uncommon but preventalble, is the reason for this story.