Northern California Dog Owners Warned About Deadly Salmon Poisoning Disease

Dog owners across California are being urged to prevent their pets from eating raw or cold smoked fish such as trout and salmon due to the risk of Salmon Poisoning Disease, a potentially deadly condition that affects only dogs.

Salmon Poisoning Disease is caused when dogs consume fish infected with the Neorickettsia helminthoeca organism, which is carried by the Nanophyetes salmincola fluke. This parasite is commonly found in Northern California waters, making local fish a higher risk for pet owners.

To avoid this dangerous disease, experts recommend keeping dogs away from fish carcasses in freshwater areas, particularly salmon, steelhead, and trout. While the parasite poses no threat to humans and does not affect other pets, dogs are highly susceptible.

Symptoms of Salmon Poisoning Disease resemble those of distemper, including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, and rapid weight loss. If you notice any of these signs and suspect your dog might have eaten raw fish, it is crucial to seek veterinary care immediately. The disease can be treated effectively if caught early, but without treatment, it is often fatal within two weeks.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife specifically warns that trout from certain stocked waters in the North Central Region are more likely to carry the parasites. That region includes Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lake, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties.

Dog owners are advised to be extra vigilant to protect their pets from this serious threat. Weekly fish stocking information is publicly available at CDFW’s Fish Planting Schedule web page.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California


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