Definition of Salmon Poisoning Disease
Salmon poisoning is the common name for an important disease of domestic and wild dogs caused by the parasitic bacteria, Neorickettsia helminthoeca. This disease occurs almost exclusively in the northwestern United States and along the Pacific coast of Canada, because the flukes that carry Neorickettsia helminthoeca mature inside small snails that only live along the northern Pacific rim. Dogs get salmon poisoning disease by eating raw fish – usually salmon, trout or steelhead – contaminated with the larvae of flukes that contain the infective bacteria. The fluke larvae invade the dog’s digestive tract, attach with suckers, feed on the dog’s blood and inject bacteria into its intestinal lining. Affected dogs develop a fever and intense belly pain, together with vomiting and diarrhea. Fortunately, this disease does not affect people. However, salmon poisoning can be deadly to affected dogs if it isn’t treated quickly and aggressively.