Our Trip to Connecticut and An Evil Fungus

Ginger with Shaved LegEvil Mushroom Backyard Inhabitant

Ginger and I went on an adventure in which we traveled to Connecticut, stayed with extended family, and consumed fun food. She behaved herself during the two-hour car trip, and settled in my parents’ house immediately. Everything was diverting and relaxing until one little fungus with disreputable intentions, who was dead set upon ruining our excursion, reared its ugly head very early on Friday morning. During our second outing, Ginger stole around behind me and quickly wolfed down said mushroom in the backyard.


Not being a mycologist, I could not identify the mushroom in question. I do know, however, that most mushrooms are harmless, but a couple of percent are deadly. As it turns out, quite a few more will make you rather sick. Several Internet searches and phone calls to two vets later, and Ginger, my mother, and I were on our way to a local animal hospital. We arrived there within 20 minutes of her ingesting the mushroom.


First, the receptionist called animal poison control, and then the technician talked at length with the voice on the other end. Next, they whisked Ginger into the exam room, where we could hear her whining and moaning when the technician gave her a shot that would induce vomiting. Since she is still so small, and it had been by now almost an hour since she ingested the mushroom, we had to make the quick decision whether to approve further treatment. So after examining her vomitus (yes, there I was with a wooden probe inspecting partially digested puppy kibble, grass, hair, a bit of paper towel, and stomach acid looking for the wicked mushroom cap), I decided to let her stay the day.


Poor Ginger had to visit with the vet until 6:00 p.m. so that she could be monitored and given charcoal. The look of utter betrayal on her face as I abandoned her in a cage was pitiful. No stories of how the greyhound in the cage beneath her was in much worse shape since he had consumed four pounds of raisins the day before made her feel any better. I was a traitor, pure and simple.


A heart-stopping bill and four days later, and everything is almost back to normal. She is still taking some medication, but her poop is no longer charcoal black and sticky like tar. (That was NOT fun to pick up.) There is a little shaved spot on her leg where they gave her a shot and an IV, but otherwise she seems to have completely forgotten about the incident. Most likely the mushroom she ate was perfectly harmless, but I just couldn’t take that chance.


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