Going fishing with your dog? That’s awesome, but just make sure to keep your four-legged friend away from that raw fish you just caught. In certain situations, your dog could be at risk of becoming seriously ill…and even dying…from something called Salmon Poisoning Disease (SPD). Read on to learn more about it.
According to the website of Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, dogs are at risk of contracting Salmon Poisoning Disease if they eat raw salmon or other types of anadromous fish. Anadromous fish spend most of their lives in the sea, but spawn and are born in fresh water. Besides salmon, other anadromous fish include smelt, steelhead, shad, striped bass, and sturgeon.
Some of these fish could be infected with a parasite, relatively harmless itself, but the parasite in turn could be carrying a particular type of microorganism which carries the disease.
SPD most commonly occurs in the Western U.S. and only affects dogs and other canids…not cats, bears, or raccoons. Dogs will start showing symptoms of SPD within 6 days of eating the fish. Signs include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, and weakness. 90% of infected dogs will die within 14 days if they go untreated.
If you know, or even suspect, that your dog has eaten raw fish, take him to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet will perform tests to look for both the parasite and the microorganism. Treatment includes antibiotics and a de-wormer to kill both organisms.