OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- One of the world's most deadly mushrooms is popping up in East Bay parks.
They look good, smell good and reportedly taste good.
But officials are warning pet owners to steer clear of them.
Robert Newburne never guessed that his hike with his dog Koa last month would be his last.
"As far as I knew, everything was normal that day. It wasn't until afterwards that I realized it wasn't normal," Newburne said.
A day after the hike in Briones Park, Newburne discovered five-year-old Koa wasn't eating and had blood in his stool. He rushed Koa to the vet.
"They told me that his liver was already destroyed and they could try and save him but it didn't look so good," Newburne said.
Koa died, and a mushroom stem was found in his feces and tests later revealed he had gobbled down one of a death cap mushroom, known to cause liver failure in dogs.
The problem is serious enough that park officials are posting signs about death cap and death angel mushrooms.
Dr. Bob Lukas, an emergency veterinarian at the SAGE Center says he typically sees up to 12 toxic mushroom cases per year and this is the time of year when there's a spike.
Dr. Lukas said, "Whenever it starts getting moist, those mushrooms start popping up."
Death caps mostly sprout near oak trees. They crop up on hilltops and other areas of Briones where fog lingers. Dr. Lukas says dog owners have to be diligent about watching for mushrooms.
He does a scan of his own yard every day.
If your dog does eat a toxic mushroom, Dr. Lukas says he advocates that they're made to vomit in a veterinary facility.
Newburne says he's not taking any chances with his other dog, Juniper.
"I've learned my lesson the very hard way," he said. 'My dog will never run free up there again."
Doctors suggest if your dog eats a toxic mushroom, it's important to collect a sample so it can be examined and tested.
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