We have treated a near fatal case of salmon poisoning at California Veterinary Specialists in Murrieta. Salmon poisoning disease (SPD) is an often fatal condition, occurring when a dog eats raw salmon that is infected with the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite. This disease typically begins in the tissues of the small intestine, where it causes hemorrhaging. It gradually becomes systemic
(invading the entire body.)
– The signs and symptoms of SPD include the following:
– Diarrhea (liquid, hemorrhagic)
– Lymphadenopathy (mandibular nodes can be very prominent)
– Discharge from the nose and eyes
Dogs contract the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite when they consume raw fish, including raw salmon, trout,
and other fish that contain the N. helminthoeca organisms, like the trematode vector.
Although this disease is common in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington it is rarely seen here.
We have recently seen a case contracted at a local lake. A 5-month-old puppy ate fish from a local Lake which had been recently stocked with fish from Northern California. Bella became extremely ill and almost died, but pulled through. The public should be warned to not let their dogs eat raw local fish. If any symptoms are seen in a pet that has the potential exposure they should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. It is treatable with supportive care and medication to kill the parasite.
Amy Carr DVM DACVECC
California Veterinary Specialists