We hope that you have had success with your fishing trips. However, your ecstasy from bringing in that 30 pound salmon may be dimmed if your dog is allowed access to fresh, unfrozen or uncooked salmon or even trout or steelhead. In approximately 7-14 days, your dog may begin to show the symptoms of a disease called “salmon poisoning”. This disease is caused by an organism living in the tissues of many types of fish which reside in coastal fed streams and rivers of the northwest.
This disease is recognized by the following: the dog developing a substantially elevated temperature, loss of appetite, lethargy, then progressing to vomiting and watery diarrhea. The sooner you bring your dog in to be treated the better success of recovery they have. If the disease is recognized within the first couple of days when they have not yet become dehydrated, the response to treatment is dramatic. However, if dehydration is allowed to develop, the animal then requires intravenous fluids in addition to antibiotic therapy. This can be a deadly condition, but the determinant of both the cost of treatment and the chances of survival of your dog hinge on early recognition of the condition.
For those of you living in the area or for those who don’t, salmon poisoning is a probability if you fish long enough. Even the most careful fisherman cannot control the practices of those around you; the salmon die and are washed ashore and other more careless fisherman leave parts of the fish at the boat landings etc. If your dog eats fish, watch for 7-14 days and if any signs develop get the dog to your veterinarian as soon as possible. If your dog is “not acting right” and you wonder at all if they have gotten into fish you should bring them to your veterinarian right away. Be aware that they may have even unearthed someone else’ carefully buried fish remains. On a positive note once your pet has had salmon poisoning and recovered they are more likely to develop immunity.