Health Alert: Dogs and Salmon Poisoning Disease

April 20th, 2008 by Dan

Recently we published a Forbidden Foods list here at the Dog Guide; I’ve decided to take this a step further and focus on some of the lesser known items on that list.

Salmon Poisoning Disease isn’t exclusively caused by the ingestion of raw salmon as the name might suggest. The condition can be caused by a dog consuming raw salmon, trout, steelhead, and other freshwater fish. Cases of this disease are caused by the ingestion of fish caught in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon and California).

Rotty Fishing

Photo by Nathan Black

SPD is caused when the fish is carrying a parasite called Nanophyetus salmincola. On its own, this parasite is relatively harmless to your pet, however *that* parasite can carry a microorganism called Neorickettsia helminthoeca
which causes illness.

Symptoms of Salmon Poisoning Include:

* vomiting

* loss of appetite

* fever

* loose stool

* general weakness

* swollen lymph nodes

* dehydration

These symptoms usually start to occur about 6 days after the dog consumes the infected fish. Salmon Poisoning Disease is VERY serious and can be fatal! If left untreated 90% of dogs who show symptoms will not survive. Death from SPD usually occurs within 14 days if Veterinary intervention is not sought.

Norwegian Elkhound Eats Salmon

Photo by thorbak

SPD is diagnosed through examination of a fecal sample or through needle aspiration of a lymph node. Once it is established, Salmon Poisoning is fairly easy to treat – an antibiotic is given in conjunction with a de-wormer. If your dog has suffered from dehydration they may be placed on IV fluids. Improvement is usually quick and dogs recover with no harmful permanent effects.

If your dog is a trash raider or frequents bodies of water and you live in the Pacific Northwest, make sure you mention SPD to your vet as a possible culprit if he is showing any of the symptoms above.

Leave a Reply