Let me first begin by saying, I’m not a veterinarian and what I’m about to share is my experience only. Always seek medical advice from a licensed veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.

The First Sign Something Was Wrong With Our Dog

On Monday, January 31st, my wife and I dropped our dog off at her favorite kennel for an extended stay while we left the country for an 8-day vacation in Mexico. Demi is a one-year-old feisty Decker Terrier who absolutely loves other dogs, food, and the kennel she stays at.

Dead or Raw Fish Are Extremely Dangerous for Dogs

We live near Wade Park in Pasco and take Demi for long walks along the path where she can run, chase geese, and smell and taste everything in sight - including smelly stuff on the Rivershore. On one particular walk, Demi discovered a dead salmon carcass and began dragging it around and chewing on it – once we saw what she had in her mouth we immediately (against her will) took the dead fish away from her – mostly because we didn’t want her to roll on it. We had no idea how dangerous raw or dead salmon can be for dogs. A few days before we left for vacation, we noticed she was shedding a bit more than normal and she had one bout of diarrhea but was back to normal before we dropped her off at the kennel.

Salmon Poisoning a.k.a. “Fish Disease” Kills Dogs Often in the Pacific Northwest

According to Washington State Universities Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Salmon Poisoning, if left untreated, is a fatal disease for dogs. The disease is found most often in the Pacific Northwest. If a dog eats certain types of raw fish like Salmon, Steelhead, or Trout, they could consume Nanophyetus Salmincola, a parasite found in raw fish. The parasite is actually fairly harmless unless it is infected with another microorganism called, Neorickettsia Helminthoeca – a.k.a. salmon poisoning.

What are the Symptoms of Salmon Poisoning in Dogs?

Our dog experienced all of these symptoms: vomiting, no appetite, stopped drinking water (dehydration), severe weight loss, high fever, lethargy, and weakness. Swelling of the lymph nodes was the last symptom to appear.

Thankfully, the boarding kennel became very concerned with her health and took her to the vet for an examination while we were still in Mexico – the first diagnosis was “kennel shock”, which we thought was strange because she loves going to the kennel.

What We Discovered When We Returned From Vacation Was Horrifying

When we returned from our vacation Demi was in a near-death state with extreme weight loss and bones showing - she could barely walk or lift her head. Thankfully, on our second visit to the vet, she was diagnosed with salmon poisoning and treated with an antibiotic to kill the microorganism. It’s been a total of 12 days and she is still suffering from some of the symptoms but she’s eating and drinking water on her own now and is expected to fully recover within the next week or so. For more information about salmon poisoning  - how it's diagnosed, treated, and warning signs - check out this page from WSU’s Veterinary Teaching School.

LOOK: Here Are 30 Foods That Are Poisonous to Dogs

To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

Even with all of these resources, however, the best cure for food poisoning is preventing it in the first place. To give you an idea of what human foods can be dangerous, Stacker has put together a slideshow of 30 common foods to avoid. Take a look to see if there are any that surprise you.

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