While not as common as other recreational drugs, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center reports that pet exposures to hallucinogenic mushrooms do occur.
“Magic” mushrooms (Psilobyce sp) contain psilocybin and psilocin which are structurally related to LSD and are presumed to act on serotonin receptors. Signs reported in dogs include vocalization, mydriasis, ataxia, tachycardia, disorientation, hyperthermia and anxiety. Rarely tremors and seizures have been reported.
Mushrooms are typically bought on the street but they may also be grown in the home or picked in the wild. Mushrooms picked in the wild add the additional concern for correct identification and risk for other, potentially more serious, concerns.
Often the mushrooms have a sour or bitter taste, so they may be dipped in chocolate or alcohol, added to a chili, or even made into a tea. Even if the taste isn’t masked, we all know that bad taste does not deter a determined dog.
Treatment will usually revolve around the symptoms. Gastric decontamination may not be possible, either because the owner didn’t know about the exposure until the pet began acting abnormally, or the onset of signs – anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes – was too rapid.
Fortunately, life-threatening signs are not commonly reported in pets. Controlling agitation and heart rate will likely be a mainstay of treatment, and drugs such as diazepam, cyproheptadine or even acepromazine may be helpful.
Laboratory monitoring may not be needed in most cases, but monitoring renal values and CK values may be advisable if tremors and/or seizures are seen. Glucose may also need to be monitored, particularly in young, small-breed dogs.
Unless the exposure was large, length of signs most likely will be less than 12 hours.