ANSWER: The heavy rains we have had over the last week have created a few problems for our pets and us! Similar to people, many mushrooms have varying levels of toxicity to our pets. In my experience most dogs have a healthy lack of interest in eating the mushrooms they run across. However, I have a number of patients who will eat anything that can fit down their throats. Mushrooms fall into four categories of toxicity according the symptoms they cause. Signs can vary from digestive upset and delirium to life-threatening organ failure. If you witness your pet eating any type of mushroom call your veterinarian and pick a representative sample and refrigerate it for submission to an experienced person in mushrooms, called a mycologist. Most people are not qualified to identify a species of mushroom definitively and the treatment and long term prognosis depend on the type of toxin the pet ingested.
Many times inducing vomiting immediately and a brief hospital stay on IV fluids for supportive care is all that is needed. However, with the most toxic mushroom dogs will show initial improvement, only to succumb to organ failure later. Preventing exposure is the best option for some dogs. Simply removing the mushrooms from any part of the yard your dog has access is the most straightforward solution. Also remember the recent heavy rains will probably lead to a wave of mosquitoes and the risk of heartworm infection is even higher. Call your veterinarian if your dog or cat is not protected.
NSWER: The ligaments your veterinarian described are called the medial or lateral collateral ligaments. Most dogs damage the cranial cruciate ligament inside the knee, which is called an ACL in people. Twisting or wrenching injuries to the knee can partially or completely tear the collateral ligaments. Often a dog needs to be sedated to diagnose collateral ligament damage. Surgical repair is always needed and a few procedures are available. Some dogs only need the ligament sewn back together.
If the tear is complete and the ligament can t be repaired, bone screws and thick permanent suture or wire may be needed. If other ligaments are torn in the knee they are repaired at the same time. Many dogs recover well from collateral ligament damage since the lateral movement is not as important in most cases. However, long term arthritic changes are guaranteed due to the severity of injury in these dogs.