What do I do if my dog ate salmon?

Answered by James Kissner

If your dog has eaten raw salmon, it is important to take immediate action as it can lead to a condition called Salmon Poisoning Disease (SPD). SPD is caused by a parasite called Nanophyetus salmincola, which is commonly found in raw or undercooked fish. This parasite carries a bacteria called Neorickettsia helminthoeca, which is the actual cause of the disease.

SPD can be a life-threatening condition for dogs if left untreated. In fact, it is estimated that 90% of dogs who do not receive treatment for SPD will not survive. The bacteria infects the dog’s bloodstream and affects various organs, particularly the lymph nodes, liver, and intestines. It can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, and dehydration.

If you suspect or know that your dog has ingested raw salmon, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary care. The veterinarian will perform a thorough examination and may recommend diagnostic tests such as blood work and fecal analysis to confirm the presence of the parasite and bacteria. Early diagnosis is key in providing the best chance of recovery for your dog.

Treatment for SPD typically involves hospitalization, intravenous fluids to rehydrate the dog, antibiotics to combat the bacterial infection, and supportive care to manage symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. The veterinarian may also prescribe medications to control fever and pain. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove any obstructions or damaged tissue.

The prognosis for dogs who receive prompt veterinary care for SPD is generally good. With appropriate treatment, most dogs recover fully within a couple of weeks. However, it is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully and complete the full course of treatment to ensure the infection is completely eradicated.

Prevention is always better than cure, so it is advisable to avoid feeding your dog raw fish or any other raw meat. Cooking fish thoroughly will kill the parasite and bacteria, making it safe for your dog to consume. Additionally, be cautious when allowing your dog access to bodies of water where fish may be present. Keep a close eye on your dog to prevent them from ingesting raw or spoiled fish.

If your dog has ingested raw fish, particularly salmon, or is showing symptoms of SPD such as diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary care. Remember, early intervention is key in ensuring the best outcome for your beloved pet.