canine toxicity

Salmon Poisoning

Salmon poisoning disease is a potentially fatal condition seen in dogs that have ingested raw salmon (as well as other raw, rotting fish along from the rivers, ocean or garbage).  Not only do dogs enjoy rolling in dead fish, they also enjoy chowing down on them for some strange reason. Mmm, tasty!

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The Neorickettsia helmonthoeca organism living inside the fish is responsible for causing the disease. If left untreated, salmon poisoning can be fatal within 2 weeks of exposure. Some symptoms of salmon poisoning are:

  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Nasal or eye discharge
  • Weight loss

If you know your dog has ingested raw fish, contact your veterinarian immediately. Treatment often involves intravenous fluid and antibiotic therapy, deworming medication and other stomach calming medication. If caught early enough, your veterinarian can often induce vomiting for your dog.  Most dogs respond to treatment quickly.

Dogs are the only species susceptible to salmon poisoning. Cats, raccoons and bears eat raw fish on a regular basis without any consequence.

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“Axl” and “Ocho” sniffing the fishy rocks.

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“Eli” sniffing the dead salmon.

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“Ocho” sniffing the dead salmon.

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“Eli” curiously watching the salmon jump out of the water.

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