How do you know if your Dog has Salmon Poisoning? By Dr. Deborah Shores

Salmon poisoning disease is a bacterial infection that occurs when a dog consumes raw salmon, trout, or steelhead that has been infected with a parasite called Neorickettsia helmonthoeca. It is often fatal and affects dogs, as well as wolves, coyotes, and foxes in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. 


An internal parasite, known as a fluke, lodges in the small intestine and releases the rickettsiae organisms. These organisms spread through the bloodstream to the organs, affecting the liver, brain, lungs, and lymph nodes. 


Symptoms of salmon poisoning include the following:

  • Fever 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Weight loss
  • Nasal discharge
  • Twitching
  • Seizures 

Symptoms typically start in about one week after the dog has consumed the infected fish, although in some cases, it can be prolonged. Unless veterinary treatment is sought, 50-90% of affected dogs will die within a few days.(1)  


To fight hemorrhage, necrosis, and infection, veterinarians often prescribe antibiotics, fluid therapy, and medications to help kill the bacteria. Blood transfusions may be necessary in certain cases.  


Recently, there has been an increase in popularity of raw meat diets and this increases the risk of salmon poisoning.  To prevent salmon poisoning, it is recommended to cook all fish thoroughly before feeding to your dog.  The best preparation for preserving the high-quality omega-3 fatty acids and protein benefits is to steam or simply bake the fish.



"01 Salmon Poisoning - - a VIN company." 2010. 17 Jan. 2014



Dr. Deborah Shores is a graduate of Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She has many years of experience working in animal hospitals and clinics from Virginia to South Carolina, treating mainly dogs and cats. She has a special interest in nutrition and holistic veterinary medicine and plans to pursue an acupuncture certificate at the Chi Institute in Florida. 

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