Salmon poisoning: No sashimi for Rover!

Salmon feed on snails that carry a fluke that contain a bacteria that is harmful if ingested by dogs. This complicated process is called “salmon poisoning” and occurs if a dog eats salmon raw. The salmon may be fresh caught, or found by the dog in refuse piles. Any part of the raw salmon can contain these flukes and bacteria, but the head and “guts” contain the most....and are the discarded parts that dogs usually find near fishing areas and campgrounds. Freezing, cooking, and smoking kill this bacteria.

Although cats are not susceptible to this poisoning, it is not recommended that raw fish be fed to them. People are not affected by the flukes or bacteria.

Symptoms of salmon poisoning begin 5 to 7 days after ingestion of the raw salmon and can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and swollen lymph glands. Diagnosis is made by the history of exposure to raw salmon and by examining a fecal sample for evidence of flukes. Although salmon poisoning is easily treated with antibiotics, diagnosis can be difficult because the symptoms often mimic other diseases like canine parvovirus.

The best cure is prevention. Never feed your dog raw fish or fish parts, and watch your dog carefully if you take him fishing or to areas where others have been fishing.