Monday, January 22, 2018

3341. 3 sisters never forget what the vet does

Jan 23, 2018

Veterinary Anaesthesia Tales from Dr Sing Kong Yuen
- 3 sisters never forget what the vet does

"You said your anaesthetic machine would knock out my Golden Retriever fast as it delivered 80% gas unlike the usual machines used by vets," the eldest sister had invited me for dinner and now recalled a past-midnight service done by me to help her continuously vomiting dog some 15 years ago. "Yet my dog woke up when you tried to insert the stomach tube into his mouth!"

I did not bother to explain the technical aspects of veterinary gaseous anaesthesia to a layman.
She continued, "You stepped on the foot pedal and your operating table rose upwards. When you stepped to lower it, the table just would not come down!"


I needed a higher position to stomach tube this overweight Golden Retriever. My assistants were this lady and her two sisters who had transported the sick dog into the operating room on a large towel" stretcher" in the old spacious solidly built Mercedes 500 belonging to the eldest sister.

The "80%" referred to my anaesthetic vaporiser which delivered 8% of the isoflurane gas. 8% gas knocks down the dog faster than the 5%.

It was very useful for my over 200 Caesarean sections done past midnight with only the dog breeder and myself in the operating room. I did not need to inject the pregnant dams IV or IM. So I had purchased this 8% which the eldest sister recalled as 80%.

The 3 sisters could not help professionally as they were laymen. The dog raised his head as the anaesthetic effect had worn off. "Where am I?" she looked at the eldest sister who was the one who cared most for him, loved him to bits and worried when he was not eating. Whenever he fell ill, she would drop her work and got the dog to the vet.  

I tried to mask him again with the 8% gas vaporiser. It was past 1 am now and I had committed to help this dog instead of rejecting the plea for help. So, one sister held the dog's backside, The other put her hand on the body to steady him. The eldest sister tried to open the jaws and angle the dog's mouth for me to insert the tube.


I was the only vet to respond to her plea for help, without my veterinary assistant. The dog's abdomen was much swollen and auscultation revealed intestinal sounds. A judgment had to be made on the spot. I decided on stomach tubing to release the bloated stomach of its gas under gaseous anaesthesia.

I had told the eldest sister that the 8% vaporiser could deliver a knock out faster than the usual 5% vaporiser.  Now she mentioned "80%" as she knew nothing about the technical details of a vaporiser.

The 3 sisters were not of much help. The dog raised his head again and wanted to come down. I aborted this procedure and stepped on the foot lever of this expensive Shoreline operating table ordered from the USA. It cost as much as $5,000 at that time. I could get a simple table made for much less or purchased a second-hand human operating table.

"You stepped and stepped on the foot lever," the eldest sister was the one who had watchful eyes said. "But the table would not descend!"

She laughed so loudly as she recalled poor Edgar stranded high up. "The hydraulic mechanism had failed me," I replied. The 2 sisters were not impressed.

Then I gave the dog an antispasmodic and antibiotic injection.Four of us carried the around 50-kg dog down from the table. An average adult Golden Retriever weighs around 35 kg.

"I could see poor Edgar wobbling as he walked out of the operating room," the eldest sister laughed so loudly at the dining table where I had been invited for dinner earlier. Why was she so tickled with hearty laughter again?

"As I slided open the sliding door, it fell off my hands!"  The other 2 sisters at the dining table did not laugh so loudly but I am sure they would have advised this sister not to patronise me any more.

In 2018, I had a new Shoreline operating table and no more sliding door for my operating room. I had a proper swing door installed.


I should not have attended to this emergency but the other vets had not responded to the phone calls after midnight. Some 15 years ago, Singapore had less than 10 veterinary clinics compared to over 80 clinics in 2018. There were few emergency after midnight clinics. The eldest sister is most forgiving of the events as she had invited me to dinner and recalled this incident.  I am sure that the two sisters were not impressed with my poor outcome for Edgar and the falling out of the sliding door. 
 
The next morning, I visited the home of Edgar. He was as bright as a sunny day and had dashed out of the main door to bark at me vigorously with his cautious brother trailing behind."He lived up to 16 years of age," the eldest sister said to me. "He had no health problems except for the need to have regular injections for his hip pain."


 

   





  


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

3339. A 30-month-old dwarf hamster has a large ear wart. What to do?

Jan 17, 2018

Internet query.
2.5 years old. Large wart. Sister worried. To operate or not, the lady emailed the image.
Much depends on her as the operation is less than 1 minute and gas anaethesia is very safe.
Cost? $150-$200. I asked her to email me the image.

The wart is irritating the hamster as evident by the clotted area due to scratching. Up to the owner to decide.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

3338. A rare case of gangrenous swollen cheek in a Syrian hamster







A young lady WhatsApp this image to me. 
Needle aspiration. No pus or fluid. It was possible a sharp seed had penetrated and infected the left cheek.
Diagnosis: A gangrenous infected swelling/tumour.
Overgrown lower incisor teeth suggested long duration of swelling
Inoperable
Hamster passed away 4 days later

Monday, January 8, 2018

3337. Craniodorsal hip luxation of a poodle

Jan 9, 2018

Craniodorsal hip luxation is usually due to trauma. In this poodle, a helper stepped on the back, dislocating the left hip. Vet 1 tried closed reduction (without surgery) but the hip dislocated again. FHO (Femoral hip osteotomy) was recommended.

BEFORE  CLOSED REDUCTION







-----------------------------------------------------------------
AFTER CLOSED REDUCTION





FEMORAL HEAD OSTEOTOMY
IN THIS CASE

Blunt dissection of muscles
Expose femoral head more by using an assistant to abduct the joint
Bone cutter to cut off the femoral head
Create a false joint
Stitch up skin









-----------------------------------
Videos:
1.  A case of closed reduction in a Cavalier King Charles.
seen at Toa Payoh Vets
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsWcLUKe5HA


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J-mE9BKB3k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLAKxzU9Gb4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Y0SuaVsuds


2. A Yorkshire Terrier has hip dislocation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfappTeFyYY


3. A DETAILED EDUCATIONAL HIP DISLOCATION VIDEO

A Shih Tzu has hip dislocation - rare case of caudoventral dislocation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XM2TcioIg4&t=25s

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Video from Maltese owner some weeks after FHO surgery. Dog is almost normal in movement of hind leg.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzI-fB2hDm8




A Border Collie has hip dislocation comes to Toa Payoh Vets.
Had successfully recovered after FHO but video not shown here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9lwLW_TmBo



A Border Collie after FHO
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SWQfngSl2g
Owner happy with outcome when I saw the Collie over a year later.



A poodle has hip dislocation. Had sling bandage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgtC7C_5hgY





A poodle X-ray subluxation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSyUgLV8kYU


A cat dislocates left hip. Sling

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=130Ujsvqvbk





Cavalier King Charles owner want the Sling

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Y0SuaVsuds


Cavalier King Charles lame
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PACpP7YxLE

Sunday, January 7, 2018

3336. Mushrooms - seen by me in Singapore

Jan 8, 2018

INTRODUCTION
Images below are From:
http://bcmushrooms.forrex.org/ntfp/pages/introduction.html










































In 1999, Wills and Lipsey identified a group of provincial non-timber forest products (NTFP) and services, including wild mushrooms, that can be commercially harvested from forests and other habitats for culinary or reputed nutriceutical purposes. The wild mushroom harvest alone contributes millions of dollars to the provincial economy. The pine mushroom (Tricholoma magnivelare), is by far the most valuable commercially harvested mushroom. Other valuable edible mushrooms are the chanterelles, morels, lobsters, boletes, cauliflowers and hedgehogs. Pine mushrooms are exported exclusively to Japan, while chanterelles and other wild mushrooms are exported primarily to Europe and other parts of North America. Medical research, predominantly from Asia, suggests that many compounds derived from mushrooms prevent illnesses or boost human health. The demand for wild mushrooms is, therefore, expected to increase. Biological, taxonomical and ecological information on mushrooms that are currently (or could potentially be) harvested commercially is scattered throughout various scientific and technical publications. Developing an understanding of these wild mushrooms can be an arduous task for someone with limited mycological training. People with minimal mycological experience who are involved in the wild mushroom harvest -- pickers, sellers, buyers, foresters, managers, ecologists and naturalists -- require a concise, user-friendly mushroom information source. This web site seeks to bring together such scientific and technical information on our province's edible wild mushrooms.
Mushroom Biology
A mushroom is the above ground fruiting body of a fungus. Unlike plants, fungi do not manufacture their own food but must absorb their food from an external source. They obtain their food in three ways, as:
  • saprophytes that live off dead organic material;
  • symbionts that form mutually beneficial; relationships with living organisms
  • parasites or pathogens that infect live off living organisms.
Many forest mushrooms form symbiotic relationships known as mycorrhizae with tree roots. Mycorrhizal mushrooms are critical to the health of their hosts. Saprophytes included on this web site decompose organic matter such as decaying wood, forest litter and other plant material. Parasitic mushrooms included here are pathogens that either cause butt or root rots of conifer and deciduous trees or infect and actually 'feed off' other mushrooms.
All mushrooms have at least two parts to their life cycle: (1) a vegetative stage dedicated to growth and (2) a reproductive stage (fruiting bodies) dedicated to spore production. The vegetative stage is composed of filamentous threads known as hyphae through which water and nutrients move throughout the fungus. Under ideal conditions, hyphae grow rapidly and form a complex intricate network known as the mycelium. When environmental conditions are suitable, the mycelium forms fruiting bodies that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours, tastes and odours. Mushrooms are fruiting bodies formed above ground while truffles form fruiting bodies below ground. Typical mushrooms have caps (pilei), gills (lamellae) and stalks (stipes) that vary greatly in form. Mushrooms belonging to the Basidiomycetes produce spores on sexual structures called basidia that are found underneath the cap on gills, folds or veins, pores or tubes, or in spines or teeth (see illustration below). The fertile layer or tissue is called the hymenium. Mushrooms belonging to the Ascomycetes, such as morels, produce their spores inside sac-like structures called asci. Spores are dispersed to new habitats by wind, water, air currents and animals that eat the fruiting bodies. Basidia, asci and spores are microscopic structures. Spore shape, size and chemical reactivity are important characters used to identify mushrooms.
Mushroom Names
We include both scientific and common names of mushrooms. Scientific (or Latin) names are used because they are the same no matter what the spoken language may be and their binomial name can help indicate relationships among similar species. Some morphological species are difficult to differentiate und field conditions and molecular analysis is increasingly being used to separate species. These tests are revealing unexpected relationships among traditional species groups. As a result, species concepts are changing, with species transferred between genera, and genera between families. New genera and families are being erected, even as previously used family and generic names are disappearing. With each transfer, the scientific name changes. Synonyms are previously used names that reflect where earlier scientists have classified the mushroom. For instance, the pine mushroom of B.C. was at one time called Armillaria ponderosa and Tricholoma ponderosa, but taxonomists have determined that pine mushrooms belong to the genus Tricholoma and nomenclatural rules dictate that the first named species –– in this case magnivelare –– is the valid name and must be used. Each mushroom’s description includes its synonyms.
We also include the etymology or history of the scientific name for each species because it can help us to remember the Latin name. For instance, the Latin root ‘lact’ means ‘milk’ in English, which helps us remember that any mushroom name including “lact” in its name will probably exude a milk–like liquid when cut.

Common names reflect regional and local preferences. Over time, various people have coined vernacular names for a variety of different reasons. Some common names stick, others don’t, and rarely do such names reflect similarities or affinities among or within groups. Nonetheless, they can be useful so we present both the preferred common name as well as the more common Latin synonyms.

Mushroom Identification
No web site can substitute for training in mushroom identification. Some mushrooms in B.C. are deadly poisonous, others are moderately poisonous and others are safe to eat for most people. Some edible mushrooms cause negative reactions in some people. So it is important to never eat mushrooms that haven’t been correctly identified.
All species descriptions are based on fresh specimens and are organized by features of the cap, hymenium and stalk. Pertinent micro-features such as spore color, shape, and size, shape of basidia, presence of clamp connections, etc., are also included.
Macroscopic Features
Cap (Pileus)
Diameter of both the button and mature caps are measured. The variations among the most common cap shapes are presented below. Surface texture is described as being smooth, furry, fibrillose, scaly, sticky, slimy, cracking, or splitting (especially towards the margins). Colour and any colour changes should be noted and described using a standard colour chart. After mature and immature caps are cut, their texture, colour, bruising colour changes, and width at the stalk apex as well as at the base should be described.




Taste and Odour
Tastes and odours of fresh mushrooms can be distinctive and help identify a mushroom, so taste and odours of fresh specimens should be noted. Be aware that some mushrooms are deadly poisonous, so do not swallow tissues of unknown mushrooms. [Taste and “spit”!]


Gills, Folds, Veins, Pores, Tubes or Spines (Hymenium)
The gills, folds, pores or spines are attached to the stalk in a variety of ways (see illustrations below). Spacing, depth, nature of the edge and branching pattern are all described, as are the colour of gills in both button and mature mushrooms as well as any colour changes.



Stalk (Stipe)
Not all mushrooms have stalks, but if they do, the length (from apex to base) as well as the width (both at the apex and and at the base) are measured. Other features noted include the stalk’s shape, its surface texture, its colour, and the texture and colour of the context (the flesh or internal tissue). If a ring (annulus) and basal cup (volva) are present, they are described.


Microscopic Features
Spores
Spore prints are key aids in identifying mushrooms. Separate a mature cap from the stalk and place it on white or black paper with the hymenium facing down, so that spores collect on the paper. Place the cap and paper inside a lightly covered container and leave outside in ambient temperatures for 12–24 hours. Note the spore print colour (without magnification) to help identify and classify the mushroom. To examine the spores microscopically, place the hymenium tissue on a microscope slide in water or Melzer’s reagent and cover with a glass cover slip before examining under the microscope. Measure and examine the spores. Spores are placed in Melzer’s reagent because the spores’ reaction helps in mushroom identification. Sometimes, to identify unknown specimens, additional reagents such as cotton blue are used as an aid to precise identification.
Other Features
Clamp connections, which are connecting cells between two adjoining hyphal cells, occur only in fungi belonging to the Basidiomycetes. The presence or absence of clamp connections can assist in identifying mushrooms in this group.
The length of the basidia or asci and the number of spores produced by them also help to identify some mushrooms.
Hymenial cystidia are sterile cells interspersed among the basidia in the hymenium, and their presence or absence can also be important. When they are present, their shape and size are very helpful in indentifying mushrooms.
Mushroom Habitats and Habits
Habitat includes the ecological setting in which a mushroom is most likely to be found. This includes the host trees or host substrates as well as the surrounding vegetation. Some mushrooms can colonize a wide range of substrates such as dead wood or twigs or hosts, while others are very specific to certain substrates or hosts. For instance, Boletus mirabilis, the admirable bolete, forms ectomycorrhizae only with western hemlock, while Tricholoma magnivelare, the pine mushroom, colonizes a variety of conifer trees. Likewise, some saprophytic mushrooms decompose a wide range of woody hosts, while others decompose very specific woody hosts. Some saprophytes decompose forest litter, while others decompose organic matter in pastures, lawns or disturbed areas.
The vast majority of B.C. NTFP mushrooms fruit in the autumn, although some fruit only in the spring. Others may fruit throughout the year, weather permitting. It is important to know in which season a mushroom fruits when hunting for a specific mushroom. Fruiting itself is triggered by such environmental factors as moisture and temperature. Fruiting patterns of specific mushrooms vary, as some fruit singly, others fruit in troops and still others form clusters. On this website, we provide the fruiting habit of each mushroom.

Distribution Maps
The distribution map for each species is based on collection areas confirmed from personal and herbarium collections and published reports. There are undoubtedly parts of the province where some species occur but which are not yet included in these maps. As more data are added, these distribution maps will more accurately reflect the entire range and distribution of each species.
Interesting Facts
Mushrooms have been part of human civilizations for centuries. One of the earliest records of mushroom use was the case of Otzi, the Tyrolean Iceman, who was frozen in ice but not discovered until 1991 in the Italian Alps. Otzi lived 5,000 years ago and was carrying three different mushrooms when he died. The fungi had laxative and antibiotic properties, and scientists speculate that Otzi used the fungi to cure his stomach parasites. In Asia, mushrooms have been used for centuries for culinary, medicinal, nutriceutical and aphrodisiacal purposes. Ancient Greeks and Romans welcomed thunderstorms because they believed that mushrooms appeared after lightning. There is a plethora of beneficial and unusual uses attributed to certain mushrooms, some of which we include in our treatment of individual species. We also provide unusual items of interest about each species. Some fungi have a livelier or longer history than others, so for some species there is an extensive section on interesting facts.
Disclaimer
No single test can determine the culinary, beneficial or toxic properties of a specific mushroom. As some mushrooms can be deadly poisonous, we emphasize that the only safe means of separating edible mushrooms from poisonous ones is the positive identification by an expert.

For over twenty centuries, Chinese doctors have used mushrooms and other fungi to cure many types of human diseases. These medicinal mushrooms have also been credited with the ability to promote health and boost the immune system. However, Western medicine is still struggling to confirm Eastern medicinal uses of mushrooms.

Many mushrooms produce both beneficial and toxic compounds; the same compound can have beneficial or detrimental effects depending on the amount consumed, how the mushroom is prepared, what other foods or beverages are consumed with it, and whether an individual is over-senstive to the active compounds. We neither confirm nor deny the actions attributed to individual mushroom compounds. Although we are aware of many incidences where people attribute their well being to a specific mushroom, we try to avoid repeating anecdotal evidence and cite only published scientific research with respect to the healing or other beneficial properties attributed to each species. We do direct the reader to published reports of the benefits of specific mushrooms after each species description.

Reference
Wills, R.M., and R.G. Lipsey, 1999. An economic strategy to develop Non-Timber Forest Products and Services in British Columbia. Forest Renewal BC Project No. PA97538-ORE. Final Report.
In 1999, Wills and Lipsey identified a group of provincial non-timber forest products (NTFP) and services, including wild mushrooms, that can be commercially harvested from forests and other habitats for culinary or reputed nutriceutical purposes. The wild mushroom harvest alone contributes millions of dollars to the provincial economy. The pine mushroom (Tricholoma magnivelare), is by far the most valuable commercially harvested mushroom. Other valuable edible mushrooms are the chanterelles, morels, lobsters, boletes, cauliflowers and hedgehogs. Pine mushrooms are exported exclusively to Japan, while chanterelles and other wild mushrooms are exported primarily to Europe and other parts of North America. Medical research, predominantly from Asia, suggests that many compounds derived from mushrooms prevent illnesses or boost human health. The demand for wild mushrooms is, therefore, expected to increase. Biological, taxonomical and ecological information on mushrooms that are currently (or could potentially be) harvested commercially is scattered throughout various scientific and technical publications. Developing an understanding of these wild mushrooms can be an arduous task for someone with limited mycological training. People with minimal mycological experience who are involved in the wild mushroom harvest -- pickers, sellers, buyers, foresters, managers, ecologists and naturalists -- require a concise, user-friendly mushroom information source. This web site seeks to bring together such scientific and technical information on our province's edible wild mushrooms.
Mushroom Biology
A mushroom is the above ground fruiting body of a fungus. Unlike plants, fungi do not manufacture their own food but must absorb their food from an external source. They obtain their food in three ways, as:
  • saprophytes that live off dead organic material;
  • symbionts that form mutually beneficial; relationships with living organisms
  • parasites or pathogens that infect live off living organisms.
Many forest mushrooms form symbiotic relationships known as mycorrhizae with tree roots. Mycorrhizal mushrooms are critical to the health of their hosts. Saprophytes included on this web site decompose organic matter such as decaying wood, forest litter and other plant material. Parasitic mushrooms included here are pathogens that either cause butt or root rots of conifer and deciduous trees or infect and actually 'feed off' other mushrooms.
All mushrooms have at least two parts to their life cycle: (1) a vegetative stage dedicated to growth and (2) a reproductive stage (fruiting bodies) dedicated to spore production. The vegetative stage is composed of filamentous threads known as hyphae through which water and nutrients move throughout the fungus. Under ideal conditions, hyphae grow rapidly and form a complex intricate network known as the mycelium. When environmental conditions are suitable, the mycelium forms fruiting bodies that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours, tastes and odours. Mushrooms are fruiting bodies formed above ground while truffles form fruiting bodies below ground. Typical mushrooms have caps (pilei), gills (lamellae) and stalks (stipes) that vary greatly in form. Mushrooms belonging to the Basidiomycetes produce spores on sexual structures called basidia that are found underneath the cap on gills, folds or veins, pores or tubes, or in spines or teeth (see illustration below). The fertile layer or tissue is called the hymenium. Mushrooms belonging to the Ascomycetes, such as morels, produce their spores inside sac-like structures called asci. Spores are dispersed to new habitats by wind, water, air currents and animals that eat the fruiting bodies. Basidia, asci and spores are microscopic structures. Spore shape, size and chemical reactivity are important characters used to identify mushrooms.
Mushroom Names
We include both scientific and common names of mushrooms. Scientific (or Latin) names are used because they are the same no matter what the spoken language may be and their binomial name can help indicate relationships among similar species. Some morphological species are difficult to differentiate und field conditions and molecular analysis is increasingly being used to separate species. These tests are revealing unexpected relationships among traditional species groups. As a result, species concepts are changing, with species transferred between genera, and genera between families. New genera and families are being erected, even as previously used family and generic names are disappearing. With each transfer, the scientific name changes. Synonyms are previously used names that reflect where earlier scientists have classified the mushroom. For instance, the pine mushroom of B.C. was at one time called Armillaria ponderosa and Tricholoma ponderosa, but taxonomists have determined that pine mushrooms belong to the genus Tricholoma and nomenclatural rules dictate that the first named species –– in this case magnivelare –– is the valid name and must be used. Each mushroom’s description includes its synonyms.
We also include the etymology or history of the scientific name for each species because it can help us to remember the Latin name. For instance, the Latin root ‘lact’ means ‘milk’ in English, which helps us remember that any mushroom name including “lact” in its name will probably exude a milk–like liquid when cut.

Common names reflect regional and local preferences. Over time, various people have coined vernacular names for a variety of different reasons. Some common names stick, others don’t, and rarely do such names reflect similarities or affinities among or within groups. Nonetheless, they can be useful so we present both the preferred common name as well as the more common Latin synonyms.

Mushroom Identification
No web site can substitute for training in mushroom identification. Some mushrooms in B.C. are deadly poisonous, others are moderately poisonous and others are safe to eat for most people. Some edible mushrooms cause negative reactions in some people. So it is important to never eat mushrooms that haven’t been correctly identified.
All species descriptions are based on fresh specimens and are organized by features of the cap, hymenium and stalk. Pertinent micro-features such as spore color, shape, and size, shape of basidia, presence of clamp connections, etc., are also included.
Macroscopic Features
Cap (Pileus)
Diameter of both the button and mature caps are measured. The variations among the most common cap shapes are presented below. Surface texture is described as being smooth, furry, fibrillose, scaly, sticky, slimy, cracking, or splitting (especially towards the margins). Colour and any colour changes should be noted and described using a standard colour chart. After mature and immature caps are cut, their texture, colour, bruising colour changes, and width at the stalk apex as well as at the base should be described.




Taste and Odour
Tastes and odours of fresh mushrooms can be distinctive and help identify a mushroom, so taste and odours of fresh specimens should be noted. Be aware that some mushrooms are deadly poisonous, so do not swallow tissues of unknown mushrooms. [Taste and “spit”!]


Gills, Folds, Veins, Pores, Tubes or Spines (Hymenium)
The gills, folds, pores or spines are attached to the stalk in a variety of ways (see illustrations below). Spacing, depth, nature of the edge and branching pattern are all described, as are the colour of gills in both button and mature mushrooms as well as any colour changes.



Stalk (Stipe)
Not all mushrooms have stalks, but if they do, the length (from apex to base) as well as the width (both at the apex and and at the base) are measured. Other features noted include the stalk’s shape, its surface texture, its colour, and the texture and colour of the context (the flesh or internal tissue). If a ring (annulus) and basal cup (volva) are present, they are described.


Microscopic Features
Spores
Spore prints are key aids in identifying mushrooms. Separate a mature cap from the stalk and place it on white or black paper with the hymenium facing down, so that spores collect on the paper. Place the cap and paper inside a lightly covered container and leave outside in ambient temperatures for 12–24 hours. Note the spore print colour (without magnification) to help identify and classify the mushroom. To examine the spores microscopically, place the hymenium tissue on a microscope slide in water or Melzer’s reagent and cover with a glass cover slip before examining under the microscope. Measure and examine the spores. Spores are placed in Melzer’s reagent because the spores’ reaction helps in mushroom identification. Sometimes, to identify unknown specimens, additional reagents such as cotton blue are used as an aid to precise identification.
Other Features
Clamp connections, which are connecting cells between two adjoining hyphal cells, occur only in fungi belonging to the Basidiomycetes. The presence or absence of clamp connections can assist in identifying mushrooms in this group.
The length of the basidia or asci and the number of spores produced by them also help to identify some mushrooms.
Hymenial cystidia are sterile cells interspersed among the basidia in the hymenium, and their presence or absence can also be important. When they are present, their shape and size are very helpful in indentifying mushrooms.
Mushroom Habitats and Habits
Habitat includes the ecological setting in which a mushroom is most likely to be found. This includes the host trees or host substrates as well as the surrounding vegetation. Some mushrooms can colonize a wide range of substrates such as dead wood or twigs or hosts, while others are very specific to certain substrates or hosts. For instance, Boletus mirabilis, the admirable bolete, forms ectomycorrhizae only with western hemlock, while Tricholoma magnivelare, the pine mushroom, colonizes a variety of conifer trees. Likewise, some saprophytic mushrooms decompose a wide range of woody hosts, while others decompose very specific woody hosts. Some saprophytes decompose forest litter, while others decompose organic matter in pastures, lawns or disturbed areas.
The vast majority of B.C. NTFP mushrooms fruit in the autumn, although some fruit only in the spring. Others may fruit throughout the year, weather permitting. It is important to know in which season a mushroom fruits when hunting for a specific mushroom. Fruiting itself is triggered by such environmental factors as moisture and temperature. Fruiting patterns of specific mushrooms vary, as some fruit singly, others fruit in troops and still others form clusters. On this website, we provide the fruiting habit of each mushroom.

Distribution Maps
The distribution map for each species is based on collection areas confirmed from personal and herbarium collections and published reports. There are undoubtedly parts of the province where some species occur but which are not yet included in these maps. As more data are added, these distribution maps will more accurately reflect the entire range and distribution of each species.
Interesting Facts
Mushrooms have been part of human civilizations for centuries. One of the earliest records of mushroom use was the case of Otzi, the Tyrolean Iceman, who was frozen in ice but not discovered until 1991 in the Italian Alps. Otzi lived 5,000 years ago and was carrying three different mushrooms when he died. The fungi had laxative and antibiotic properties, and scientists speculate that Otzi used the fungi to cure his stomach parasites. In Asia, mushrooms have been used for centuries for culinary, medicinal, nutriceutical and aphrodisiacal purposes. Ancient Greeks and Romans welcomed thunderstorms because they believed that mushrooms appeared after lightning. There is a plethora of beneficial and unusual uses attributed to certain mushrooms, some of which we include in our treatment of individual species. We also provide unusual items of interest about each species. Some fungi have a livelier or longer history than others, so for some species there is an extensive section on interesting facts.
Disclaimer
No single test can determine the culinary, beneficial or toxic properties of a specific mushroom. As some mushrooms can be deadly poisonous, we emphasize that the only safe means of separating edible mushrooms from poisonous ones is the positive identification by an expert.

For over twenty centuries, Chinese doctors have used mushrooms and other fungi to cure many types of human diseases. These medicinal mushrooms have also been credited with the ability to promote health and boost the immune system. However, Western medicine is still struggling to confirm Eastern medicinal uses of mushrooms.

Many mushrooms produce both beneficial and toxic compounds; the same compound can have beneficial or detrimental effects depending on the amount consumed, how the mushroom is prepared, what other foods or beverages are consumed with it, and whether an individual is over-senstive to the active compounds. We neither confirm nor deny the actions attributed to individual mushroom compounds. Although we are aware of many incidences where people attribute their well being to a specific mushroom, we try to avoid repeating anecdotal evidence and cite only published scientific research with respect to the healing or other beneficial properties attributed to each species. We do direct the reader to published reports of the benefits of specific mushrooms after each species description.

Reference
Wills, R.M., and R.G. Lipsey, 1999. An economic strategy to develop Non-Timber Forest Products and Services in British Columbia. Forest Renewal BC Project No. PA97538-ORE. Final Report.