Salmon poisoning in dogs
Living in the Pacific Northwest we have the benefit of rivers and streams and the ocean near by, but this also puts our dogs at risk for salmon poisoning if they lick or eat raw salmon or trout which may be left behind by fisherman, wash ashore after the fish dies or is partially consumed by another animal, leaving part of the salmon on the ground. The disease is not caused by the fish itself but rather by the pet eating a parasite within the meat of the fish called Nanophyetus salmincola, that contains a rickettsial organism called Neorickettsia helminthoeca. It is the latter organism that causes the disease in dogs.
Signs of salmon poisoning include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, loss of appetite, enlarged lymph nodes and in some cases nasal or eye discharge. There are other diseases that cause similar symptoms which must be excluded, so history of exposure to raw fish is an important part of the diagnosis. Finding the organism in a lymph node or presence of the parasite eggs in the stool are confirmatory but not always present.
Treatment is largely supportive in nature. Intravenous fluids, anti-diarrhetics, antibiotics and dewormer are used to treat the signs and kill the parasite and the organism that causes the disease. The disease is treatable if the dogs are presented early enough in the disease process. Treatment usually takes 2-3 days until the dog is feeling better.
Prevention is much better than treatment, so do not offer your pet raw fish, be sure to keep your dog out of the garbage if you have been fishing or cooking fish and keep a close eye on your pet around rivers, lakes, streams and the ocean.
Wilsonville Veterinary Clinic
9275 S.W. Barber St, Wilsonville, OR 97070