Last week the Seattle Animal Shelter and Seattle Parks and Recreation teamed up to remind dog owners of to remind dog owners to keep their dogs leashed and out of creeks due to the increased threat of salmon poisoning disease to dogs during salmon spawning season.
Spawning salmon and dogs pose unique hazards to each other in the Pacific Northwest. Dogs can injure or kill salmon as they return to creeks to spawn; and if dogs eat raw salmon, they can contract salmon poisoning disease, a potentially fatal condition to dogs.
According to Dr. Bill Foreyt, a veterinary parasitologist at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, “salmon (salmonid fish) and other anadromous fish (fish that swim upstream to breed) can be infected with a parasite called Nanophyetus salmincola. Overall, the parasite is relatively harmless. The danger occurs when the parasite itself is infected with a rickettsial organism called Neorickettsia helminthoeca. It’s this microorganism that causes salmon poisoning.”
“Salmon poisoning occurs most commonly west of the Cascade mountain range,” says Dr. Foreyt. “Canids (dogs) are the only species susceptible to salmon poisoning.”
The common symptoms of salmon poisoning appear within 6 days after a dog eats an infected salmon:
- lack of appetite
- swollen lymph nodes
“Dogs can get salmon poisoning from eating raw salmon, trout, steelhead or salamanders that are infected with an internal parasite,” veterinarian Jennifer Bennett told KONG 5. “Without treatment, the disease is fatal in 90 percent of dogs.”
To protect the salmon and dogs, officers will be doing emphasis patrols in parks with spawning salmon. Off-leash fines can range from $54 to $162.
This story from KING 5 features a vet whose own dog contracted salmon poisoning: