An Orange woman is warning pet owners to be vigilant after her puppy died from a suspected wild mushroom poisoning on Monday.
Tayla Winbank says she believes her 15-week-old Kelpie, Luna, ate mushrooms growing in her backyard at her home in Sampson Street.
"It all happened very fast," she said.
"At about 4.30pm, she was outside playing with my daughter and my partner and she was fine.
"At 5pm we gave her dinner, and when she came back inside she was shaking.
"At first I thought she was just cold, so I tried to warm her up, but it didn't stop."
By the time they got her to the vet, she was "deteriorating by the second".
With Luna suffering and in such a bad way, they had to make the heartbreaking decision to have her put down.
The vet told her the symptoms pointed to poisoning, and snail bait could be the cause, but she says there was no trace of snail bait in the yard.
"On Tuesday I was out in the yard as soon as the sun came up and I couldn't find any bait, but then I found the mushrooms and it looked like one had been eaten," she added.
While there is no conclusive evidence a mushroom made Luna sick, experts say many wild mushrooms are toxic to dogs and they should be kept away from them.
Wet weather has created ideal conditions for mushrooms, and they've been popping up everywhere - in parks, forests and backyards.
Orange Vet Hospital did not treat Luna, but vet nurse Rosie Rowse said their clinic had treated another dog on Wednesday that was thought to have eaten toadstools.
Nick Merwood is a poisons specialist and director of the Animal Poisons Helpline - an animal welfare charity that provides free poisoning advice to pet owners.
The helpline has received 59 calls regarding animals ingesting wild mushrooms since March 1 - 54 of those related to dogs.
Mr Merwood said some wild mushrooms could cause severe gastroenteritis in dogs, and others could be fatal even in small doses.
Adding to the danger, some mushrooms, like stinkhorns, can emit a smell like fish or rotting meat, making them particularly attractive.
"You can have dogs who are typically picky eaters - but when they smell one of those they will go for it and they will eat it very quickly," he said.
He recommends pet owners check their backyards regularly and keep dogs on a leash if walking near mushrooms.
Identifying mushrooms is notoriously difficult, so pet owners should assume all are dangerous until proven otherwise. Dogs should be taken to the vet if they eat one, he said.
The Animal Poisons Helpline (1300 869 738) can also offer free advice and has a paid service to identify mushrooms.
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