Fish and Game issues warning to pet owners
Dog owners in the North State are reminded by the state Department of Fish and Game to take precautions to protect their pets from Salmon Poisoning Disease.
Salmon Poisoning Disease can be contracted by dogs that come into contact with fish from infested waters throughout the Pacific Northwest, especially the southern Cascades and northern Sierra to the Feather River drainage, said Fish and Game.
The disease is caused by a bacteria-like organism, Neorickettsia helminthoeca, which is transmitted by the parasitic flatworm (or "fluke") Nanophyetes salmincola. The fluke affects both trout and salmon.
Fish and Game raises fish at three hatcheries where the fluke is present either intermittently or continuously: Darrah Springs, Crystal Lake and Mount Shasta. However, the department only stocks fish from these hatcheries into waters where the parasites have been present for decades.
Throughout the Pacific Northwest thousands of dogs are infected every year with Salmon Poisoning Disease after eating raw or cold-smoked fish infected with the parasitic fluke, fish and game said.
Authorities report all fish caught or originating from streams in Northern California, Oregon and Southern Washington could potentially be infected with disease-carrying flukes harmful to dogs.
If a dog has eaten or is suspected of eating raw fish, watch to see whether signs of the disease appear, such as a rise in body temperature, loss of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, listlessness and rapid weight loss.
Fish and Games warns dog owners if signs of the disease appear, promptly take the dog to a veterinarian who could administer a cure if diagnosed in time. Untreated the disease will almost certainly kill a dog.
Dog owners are advised to be cautious and to keep salmon, steelhead, trout and other freshwater fish carcasses away from their dogs. The parasite cannot survive in cooked fish, is not harmful to humans and does not affect pets other than canines, stated the department.