West Seattle dog owner’s warning about a little-known illness

Amy Greger‘s dog just spent two nights in the hospital, very sick from an illness she had never even heard of till now. She wanted to make sure other dog owners are aware of it – so she contacted news organizations, once Daisy was home and on the road to recovery. You may have seen her story on KING the other night; she shared it with WSB too:

Daisy is a 4-year-old Ridgeback-Lab mix from the Humane Society. She runs with “Papa” (~10-15 miles per week) and loves to play chuck-it. She is very mild-mannered and listens very well. Her normal weight is ~80 lbs.

Daisy went from a healthy active dog, became lethargic and stopped eating completely overnight. She lost 8 pounds in 6 days, and the vet was not able to identify the cause of the problem. We went to ACCES Renton to see an internal specialist. After ultrasounds and x-rays showed no clear answers, the specialist asked if there was a chance Daisy may have eaten any salmon. Turned out Daisy was given a small piece of raw salmon at home that fell on the floor almost 4 weeks ago. The doctor began treating her with IV antibiotics. The next day her lab result also confirmed she had salmon poisoning.

Salmon Poisoning is a (potentially) fatal condition for dogs (not human or other animals) caused by a microorganism found in salmon and other fish in the Pacific Ocean from Northern California to Seattle. Heat would kill the microorganism, but it can be in cold-smoked fish also.

Daisy spent 2 nights at the hospital. She started eating and is on the road to full recovery.

Here’s more information about this illness, including its symptoms, and a reiteration that only dogs are susceptible (not even cats). Thanks to Amy for sharing that link as well as her story, and this one too.

19 Replies to "West Seattle dog owner's warning about a little-known illness"

  • lena October 16, 2011 (11:22 am)

    A couple notes on this condition. Once a dog has gotten Salmon Poisoning once they can not get it again. It is standard practice for those with dogs on the coast or on rivers with salmon running to feed salmon to their dogs, wait until they get ill, treat with antibiotics and then not have not worry.

    In addition you can also get salmon poisoning from trout and any other fish related to salmon and from certain snails.

    I’m glad Daisy ended up getting better. Most dogs don’t make it that long if they are not diagnosed quickly. She is a lucky girl.

    Most vets will ask about salmon or fish in a ill dog although Daisy’s case sounded unusual since usually there is vomiting, diarrhea and enlarged lymph nodes.

  • ColbEE's mommy October 16, 2011 (11:27 am)

    Hi Amy,

    I know all to well about the salmon poisoning …. My 2 1/2yr old Jack Russell (ColbEE) was poisoned by it last year …. Had we not taken him to the vet, we would not have him with us today … ColbEE had all the same symptoms …. It broke my heart & the WORST part about the entire situation was that it was caused by a EX neighbor ….

  • onceachef October 16, 2011 (12:02 pm)

    Good info…my dogs get the occasional nugget of whatever I’m preparing for dinner…I don’t think they’ve ever had raw salmon and I wouldn’t have known this. I portion my own cuts of salmon a few times a year (freeze ’em) so I’ll be careful when doing this. Thanks for sharing and glad Daisy’s okay…she’s a pretty girl!

  • Westside J. October 16, 2011 (12:11 pm)

    Glad Daisy is feeling better! Thanks for the heads up about this, I had no idea.

  • capo October 16, 2011 (1:21 pm)

    This never would have happened if you had a grizzly bear for a pet instead of a dog.

  • cathyw October 16, 2011 (1:46 pm)

    My yellow lab, Magic, died from this. We regularly walked past the Don Armeni boat ramp. The vet speculated that Magic had picked up the salmon remains from someone’s fish
    cleaning. I too had no idea raw salmon could be a threat to dogs. :(

  • Amy Greger October 16, 2011 (1:53 pm)

    Thanks everyone! Daisy was very lucky. She had all the salmon poisoning symptoms – although only had vomiting and diarrhea once, and fever for one day. She wasn’t diagnosed until day 7 and was very dehydrated. Hope this story helps prevent some of the dogs in the area from getting sick.

  • Sushi Lover October 16, 2011 (3:00 pm)

    Thank you for the information! We make sushi a lot at home and frequently give my dogs raw salmon. So far, so good, but we will no longer do that. Glad to hear Daily is doing well! Shew. Thanks again.

  • jgmirs October 16, 2011 (3:34 pm)

    Great info – thanks for sharing! I don’t feed my pups salmon or any “human food”, but I have shared with others…

  • daisy October 16, 2011 (4:26 pm)

    She’s beautiful and having lost 2 dogs (not to this) but needing emergency similar to this I am so glad you got her back. Count your blessings every day!

  • Velo_nut October 16, 2011 (8:56 pm)

    They call “dog food” dog food for a reason.

  • Karen barrows October 17, 2011 (5:42 am)

    There is no reason a dog should die from salmon poisoning . Should immediately be put on antibiotics and worm medicine.. The stool can be tested for immediate diagnosis. THE CLASSIC SYMPTOMS ARE LETHARGY AND WEIGHT LOSS.. The dog will just “lay there” and do nothing. I have had dogs with no other symptoms , only MAJOR LEHTHARGY.. No vomting, diarrhea no high fever.

  • marybeth October 17, 2011 (8:29 am)

    Can a dog get salmon poisoning from eating only the roe (eggs)? We always give the roe of hatchery hens (steelhead) to our lab. So far, so good, but if it’s dangerous to do so, we will stop. Thank you.

  • highland park resident October 17, 2011 (10:15 am)

    Daisy looks just like my dog Sprocket!! He’s the same mix, only slightly larger (he is a boy) and has the same lovely eyes. I am rooting for her. I learned about this from my vet only last year.

  • justin October 17, 2011 (10:55 am)

    Glad Daisy is ok! For dog owners unaware of other foods poisonous to dogs, also on the list are: raisins, grapes (the reaction can be fatal), chocolate, onions, garlic, Macadamia nuts and mushrooms.

  • sassy October 17, 2011 (12:55 pm)

    So happy to read about the happy outcome for Daisy. What a beautiful dog. Thanks for the info on the salmon.

    And Justin – thanks for the awesome list above!

  • Jim P. October 17, 2011 (4:34 pm)

    I was confused for a moment as the article looked like you recently fed him salmon that had fallen on the floor four weeks earlier…grin..I was thinking “Well, no wonder he got sick.”

    Glad your puppy is getting better, I hadn’t heard ot this either, good to know.

  • crowe October 17, 2011 (6:13 pm)

    So many things that are poison to dogs that we eat. You can find decent info online that will give a list of foods that are toxic. Including tomatoes, chocolate, onions…
    So glad Daisy is ok! What a sweet heart.

  • nulu October 19, 2011 (9:32 am)

    Raw salmon also can get humans sick from worms in its flesh.

    Smoking, cooking and freezing make the fish safer for consumption by all.

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