ACT News

Labrador puppy shows signs of recovery after eating death cap mushroom

The owner of a four-month-old labrador puppy that was close to death last week after swallowing a suspected death cap mushroom believes the dog may now pull through. 

Early last week, the young pup, Bruce, ate some white fungal matter, later identified as a death cap mushroom, and became seriously ill before he was taken to an animal emergency clinic.

Bruce is showing positive signs of recovery after a run in with death cap mushrooms.
Bruce is showing positive signs of recovery after a run in with death cap mushrooms. Photo: Ben Jausnik

His owner, Ben Jausnik, thought the dog might not make it and was heartbroken, thinking he might have to have Bruce put down.

Now, Mr Jausnik says "Bruce Almighty" has made a miraculous recovery over the weekend and was allowed home for a visit on Sunday, downing his first full meal and wagging his tail.

Bruce came home for a visit on Sunday.
Bruce came home for a visit on Sunday. Photo: Ben Jausnik

"He is alive and wagging his tail. He had his first full meal at home yesterday and rested comfortably," he said.

Mr Jausnik said that while the pup was "not out of the woods yet" and they were waiting on the results of liver tests, the animal was showing positive signs of recovery.

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It was a real lesson for dog owners in looking out for the lethal fungi.

"I would hope that poor Bruce's ordeal has helped to save other people and animals from having to suffer through death cap poisoning," Mr Jausnik said.

Last week, Bruce was on his death bed after gobbling the lethal fungi.
Last week, Bruce was on his death bed after gobbling the lethal fungi. Photo: Ben Jausnik

Bruce's vet estimates the 12kg dog ate two-thirds of a mushroom cap.

The mushrooms have a deadly history in the territory.

Death cap mushrooms are common in Canberra. They have white gills, a greenish cap and a skirt-like hanging ring on the stem.
Death cap mushrooms are common in Canberra. They have white gills, a greenish cap and a skirt-like hanging ring on the stem. 

Two people died after eating the highly dangerous mushrooms at a New Years Eve meal in 2012, and four Canberrans were hospitalised in April last year after eating death caps.

The ACT's chief health officer, Paul Kelly, warned in early February that wet weather and cool evening temperatures had prompted early blooms in Canberra this year.