Los Angeles/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on April 23, 2024
California Dog Owners Warned of Lethal Salmon Poisoning Disease by CDFWSource: California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)

Dog owners in California are on alert as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has issued a warning about the potentially deadly Salmon Poisoning Disease affecting canines in the state. Pooches who ingest raw or cold-smoked fish such as trout or salmon are at risk of contracting the disease, which is caused by the organism Neorickettsia helminthoeca spread by parasitic flatworms, also known as flukes. KTLA reported the concern from wildlife officials on the matter.

Despite being rife in Northern California's waters, flukes extend beyond their native range, and now dogs statewide face potential harm. "Dog owners are advised to be cautious and to keep their dogs away from salmon, steelhead, trout and other freshwater fish carcasses," the CDFW urged in a release. Cooking the fish thoroughly can eliminate the parasite, which, while not a threat to humans or other pets, is particularly dangerous to dogs.

The disease strikes canines with symptoms akin to distemper, leading to a high body temperature, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, listlessness, and swift weight loss. The CDFW underscores the urgency of veterinary care if such signs emerge, noting that with timely treatment, the disease is manageable. However, if left untreated, up to 90 percent of symptomatic dogs may perish within a fortnight after consuming the tainted fish. An overview by CDFW details the stark statistics and post-infection timeline.

While all fish from Californian streams could potentially harbor the flukes, the officials highlight that trout, especially those stocked in waters within the CDFW's North Central Region, are likely to be infected with the pathogen. Concerned dog owners can stay informed by checking the CDFW’s Fish Planting Schedule, which is available on their web page to the public. The department also offers accommodation for individuals with disabilities who wish to participate in public meetings or other CDFW activities.