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Salmon Poisoning Disease in Dogs

Salmon Poisoning Disease (SPD) poses a significant threat to dogs, often leading to fatal outcomes. It manifests when a dog consumes raw salmon contaminated with the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite. The disease initially targets the tissues of the small intestine, triggering hemorrhaging. Over time, it spreads throughout the body, becoming a systemic infection.

Symptoms and Types

SPD presents with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)
  • Discharge from the nose and eyes


Dogs become infected with the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite through the consumption of raw fish, such as salmon, trout, and other fish carrying the N. helminthoeca organisms, including the trematode vector.


To diagnose SPD, the veterinarian will first eliminate other conditions with similar symptoms, including:

  • Food poisoning or toxin ingestion
  • Canine parvovirus type 2, a common virus in puppies
  • Ehrlichiosis (also known as canine typhus fever or rickettsiosis)
  • Canine distemper, a virus associated with gastrointestinal disturbances

Once these possibilities have been ruled out, the veterinarian will extract fluid from a swollen lymph node to examine for Rickettsial bodies. This examination utilizes the Giemsa stain technique, which highlights the DNA of parasites, rendering them visible under a microscope.

Additionally, the veterinarian will analyze fecal samples to detect whether the Nanophyetus salmincola organism has deposited eggs, confirming SPD. Other diagnostic indicators may include changes in lymph tissue, such as the presence of yellowish tissue in lymph nodes, and the observation of blood within intestinal contents.


For severely ill patients, inpatient care becomes necessary. The treatment regimen will encompass intravenous fluid therapy to replenish lost fluids, administration of antibiotics, and measures to manage diarrhea. Certain dogs may additionally require electrolyte replacement therapy and/or blood transfusions.

Living and Management

To facilitate the animal’s recovery, it is crucial to provide sufficient care and maintain proper hygiene standards. Your veterinarian might advise temporary confinement of your dog to prevent overexertion during the recovery period. This measure will also enable you to closely monitor your pet’s progress towards recovery.


Preventing SPD in dogs is most effectively achieved by ensuring they do not consume raw fish.

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