Warning Issued on Parasite Infecting Dogs That Ate Fish From SoCal Lakes

Warning Issued on Parasite Infecting Dogs That Ate Fish From SoCal Lakes

One of the infected dogs was a Belgian Malinois like the one above. The others were two boxers and a bull terrier. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Reuters)

California Insider Staff
California Insider Staff


Updated: 4/18/2024


Authorities issued an animal health advisory after a seriously infectious disease caused by a parasite was detected in several dogs in Southern California.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said four dogs had become infected with salmon poisoning disease between June 2023 and March of this year, requiring treatment.
The dogs were infected after consuming raw trout (not salmon) that had been caught from local lakes, the advisory said.
Past cases of infection have also come after drinking water that had been used for rinsing raw trout and consuming raw trout that had been buried in a garden as a fertilizer, according to the statement.
According to the advisory, two boxer dogs in San Bernardino, a Belgian Malinois in L.A. County and a bull terrier in L.A. County became sick after being exposed to trout that had been fished from lakes.
“All four dogs were hospitalized but ultimately survived,” the statement said.
According to the notice, dogs can get the Neorickettsia helminthoeca bacteria from raw trout that has a parasite called Nanophyetus salmincola. Infected fish can appear normal, the advisory said.
Clinical signs of bacterial infection can appear after a five- to seven-day incubation period. Signs include lethargy, high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes enlarged lymph nodes.
Once a veterinarian has diagnosed the disease, treatment usually includes hospitalization and antibiotic and antiparasitic treatments.
Authorities said that while the bacteria may not affect humans, the parasite that causes it might be transmissible and can cause gastrointestinal issues, the statement said.
The L.A. County Department of Public Health issued a series of recommendations for dog owners:
  • Never feed raw fish caught during sport fishing to a dog. Do not allow dogs to drink water used to clean raw fish.
  • If a dog ingests raw fish, especially salmon or trout caught during sport fishing, the dog should be monitored for 10-14 days.
  • Trout and any other fish caught during sport fishing should be cooked before being consumed. Always wash hands thoroughly after handling raw fish.
For more information, contact Veterinary Public Health by phone at 213-288-7060 (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or email at vet@ph.lacounty.gov.
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