Posted: Aug 30, 2010 5:14 PM by Zach Thaxton
Updated: Aug 31, 2010 3:36 PM
A Colorado Springs retired couple is warning people to be careful of mushrooms while camping or hiking in the mountains over Labor Day weekend. Their Boston Terrier died Saturday after eating a toxic mushroom at a campground in Teller County.
Ron and Carolyn "Cookie" Stapp were camping at Colorado Campground in Pike National Forest along State Highway 67 north of Woodland Park Friday night when their 10-year-old Boston Terrier named Wrigley apparently ate a toxic mushroom. Her health quickly deteroriated. First, she uncharacteristically defecated indoors. Next, she began vomiting. Then she began bleeding rectally and foaming at the mouth before losing consciousness.
"I was cleaning up the mess and I noticed a white mushroom stem in the vomit," Cookie told News First 5. She says that, at first, it appeared Wrigley was getting better, but the next morning it was clear that Wrigley's death was imminent. They rushed her to an emergency vet clinic near Divide. "Wrigley was almost gone then," Cookie says. "The vet did detect a heartbeat, but her temperature was very low -- it was 91 degrees when 101 is normal." She said the vet told her that he has seen several instances of dogs sickened by toxic mushrooms this summer. "Wrigley was pretty small for her breed and he said it sounded like she got one of the most toxic mushrooms," she said.
Judy Willey, president of the Pikes Peak Mycological Society, a group of mushroom experts and enthusiasts, says the vast majority of people are unfamiliar with wild mushrooms and would not be able to distinguish between safe ones and toxic ones. "When in doubt, don't eat anything you don't know that comes out of the ground," she advises. "Most toxins in mushrooms are neurotoxins, so they're going to attack the nervous system and of course that's the electrical system for every function in our body."