A North Carolina woman is warning pet owners to comb their lawns for poisonous mushrooms after two of her dogs were found dead in her backyard on Sunday.
Janna Joyner, who fosters several dogs through nonprofits Cause for Paws of North Carolina and German Shepherd Rescue and Adoptions, said “Death Angel” mushrooms — deadly, poisonous fungus that pops up around the spring — are to blame for killing her beloved pups and sickening four other dogs.
“Adoni and Drago passed away after ingesting Death Angel (Amanita virosa) mushrooms in my own back yard,” Joyner wrote in a Facebook post that has since gone viral with more than 15,000 shares. “The toxins in these mushrooms will cause liver failure in dogs. There isn’t an antidote necessarily, so you just have to manage the symptoms.”
It was too late for her 3-year-old Saint Bernard, Drago, and 8-year-old lab-retriever mix, Adoni, but Joyner was able to rush the remaining animals that were struggling to stand, salivating and vomiting to the veterinarian.
Tests showed traces of Amatoxin, a deadly toxin in poisonous mushrooms, in the dogs’ bloodstreams. Joyner said the mushrooms are especially appealing to dogs because of their “fishy odor and taste.”
“A dog that consumes those mushroom can go from healthy to very clinically sick, to dead within 24 to 48 hours. So it’s a very rapid disease syndrome,” David Dorman, a toxicology professor at N.C. State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, told WRAL.
There’s not a specific description of so-called “Death Angel” mushrooms, Dorman said, as they vary in color and length. To be safe, homeowners should remove any form of mushroom that pops up in their yard.
“(It’s) always best to cut them, bag them and throw them away. And then wash your hands yourself so you don’t get exposed,” he advised.
Joyner suggested going a step further: survey areas around your bushes and landscaping. Her friend, Nicole Kincaid, told WRAL that the mushrooms Joyner’s “babies” ingested were hidden under a pile of mulch.
“It’s just scary to know how close it was to home and how it can happen to any dog,” said Kincaid. “That’s what we’re really hoping, that we can educate people.”
Echoing her friend, Joyner said she decided to share her story so she can save at least one dog.
“Please, Please, PLEASE clear out all mushrooms from your yard,” she begged.
Joyner declined Fox News’ request for further comment, saying it’s too “hard to talk about over and over.”