Dog Owners Beware: A Deadly Threat is Lying on the Columbia River’s Shore
Pet owners who walk their dogs along the Columbia River need to be mindful of a number of potentially deadly threats. Toxic algae is still a menace to dogs in some areas of the Columbia River - mostly in the Tri-Cities. Signs will be posted in the impacted locations. The other threat for dogs this time of year is lying on the edge of the river – dead salmon.
What is salmon poisoning and how do dogs contract it?
Dogs are infected after they ingest dead or uncooked salmon, and if not treated quickly, salmon poisoning can kill your dog. The illness is caused by a parasitic organism called Nanophyetus salmincola, which is found in the tissue of salmon.
Once the parasite is consumed it infects the dog’s intestines with a bacterium known as Neorickettsia helmintheoca. Symptoms appear within 10 days and include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If left untreated or not recognized early, the dog will die.
How salmon poisoning is treated
Not all fish in the Columbia River are infected with the parasite. The best protection is to keep your dog leashed. If somehow your dog bites into a dead salmon, keep a close eye on their behavior over the next 6-10 days. If any symptoms appear, seek medical attention immediately. Most treatments include antibiotics and fluids to address dehydration. If caught in time, a full recovery is likely. Read more from the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital website.