Salmon Poisoning

The information you see here on salmon poisoning is courtesy of VetSmart Care Clinic located in Vancouver, WA. I hope you find this information helpful!

Every year, thousands of dogs get sick from something called "salmon poisoning disease." Salmon isn't the only deadly carrier. Other species such as trout and steelhead can be equally deadly to your pet. Your pet can get the disease by eating any part of a raw, cold smoked or kippered fish that is infected. Every fish isn't infected but many are; the infection stems from the parasite that infects the fish that live in streams or rivers along the coast of northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

Recognize These Symptoms Of Salmon Poisoning:

Signs of salmon poisoning are similar to those your dog would show for distemper. It's important to know that these symptoms don't start to appear until several days or a week after a dog eats infected fish. The dog doesn't have to eat much, since a drop of blood can contain thousands of disease-carrying organisms.

The symptoms begin to appear with a slight rise in body temperature. Then there will be a loss of appetite, listlessness, and a fever which will often rise to a level between 104 to 107 degrees F. This alone can cause a rapid death. By the fourth or fifth day, if the pet is still alive, the temperature will usually decrease. At the same time, vomiting will become persistent, rapid weight loss will occur, and the dog's eyes will appear sunken.

By the fifth to seventh day, diarrhea will start. Within a day or two, the diarrhea may become bloody.

Finally, the dog's body temperature will fall to subnormal. If left untreated, most dogs will die within 14 days after the first signs of the disease appear. Death usually results from dehydration and blood loss; very few untreated animals survive.

If your dog becomes ill with salmon poisoning, it's vital to bring it to your vet for treatment as soon as possible. As this disease progresses, it becomes harder and more expensive for us to treat - a situation that obviously decreases your pet's chances of survival.

Why Is Salmon Poisoning So Dangerous?

The disease is caused by organisms named Neorickettsia helminthoeca that are in small flukes named Nanophyetes Salmoncola which your pet gets when it eats part of an infected fish. These parasites produce a disease which usually appears only in canines, including dogs, wolves, foxes and coyotes, but which can also affect humans and other beings. The life cycle of this dangerous parasite starts when fluke eggs are released in the intestine and are passed out in the feces of the animals that host them. Those that reach freshwater channels hatch and infect freshwater snails that are in turn eaten by the fish.

When a dog or other mammal eats infected fish, the fluke lays infected eggs again to complete the life cycle - and to further spread the dangers of SPD. The flukes eventually die and are excreted in the dog's stool, but the Neorickettsia helminthoeca infects the dog, causing the sypmtoms and usually death if left untreated.

How We Treat Salmon Poisoning!

The best initial advice we can give you is this: Get your pet to the hospital right away if you suspect that your dog has eaten fish. If you suspect that some of the symptoms are becoming apparent, drop any concern you might have about an overactive imagination and get your pet to your vet as rapidly as possible. If it isn't salmon poisoning, it could be parvo virus, which has some of the same symptoms and is just as deadly.

One of the first indications that your friend is in trouble will be a not so gradual decline in its energy level. Another strong indicator of trouble is a rising temperature.

If either of these symptoms appear, get professional help immediately even if you don't know where or how your pet could have eaten fish. If the diagnosis reveals that salmon poisoning is the problem, your pet's treatment wil include antibiotics and intravenous fluids over a three to four day period. In most cases, your pet will then be well on its way to recovery!

However, we must warn you again: If you wait too long, we may be unable to save your pet.

On the positive side, it is generally true that once a dog gets salmon poisoning and survives, it will usually be immune to this danger for the rest of its life. However, we must work together to make sure it does live through this disease. How You Can Prevent Salmon Poisoning If you and your family have fish for a meal, wrap your garbage completely and dispose of it in the garbage cans with tight lids.

Leave your dog at home if you go on a fishing trip

Keep your dog on a leash if you take it to a beach or along a river bank.

If your pet accidentally eats some fish, take your pet to your veterinarian to get an antibiotic to help prevent it from getting salmon poisoning.