Urgent warning over deadly pet food
Dog owners have been warned about a disease outbreak in Victoria, with owners being asked to check the origin of their pet food.
Agriculture Victoria has issued a warning for pet owners that pet food sourced from Gippsland between May 31 and July 1 should not be fed to dogs, due to potential contamination that has resulted in pets suffering liver failure.
In a statement issued last week, Agriculture Victoria identified indospicine, a toxin found in Indigofera species of native plants, as the cause of the illness.
While herbivorous animals can often consume large amounts of plants from this species, dogs are especially susceptible to the toxin.
The current outbreak has resulted in 54 dogs being affected across Victoria, including 17 that have died.
The department has said all affected dogs were found to be “young, healthy and vaccinated”.
In their investigation into the cause of the deaths, the department has identified pet food to be one line of inquiry, and has issued a voluntary recall of fresh and frozen meat from a Gippsland knackery which is under investigation.
Owners who have unwell dogs that were fed fresh or frozen raw pet food bought between 31 May and 3 July, should contact their vet immediately.
— Agriculture Victoria (@VicGovAg) July 17, 2021
“At this stage the investigation has no conclusive evidence of how the dogs have ingested the toxin, with pet food sources remaining a primary focus,” the department said in the statement.
“This complex investigation is ongoing with multiple lines of inquiry across the pet supply chain and testing continuing at laboratories across Australia.”
The knackery under investigation issued a statement on their Facebook page.
“Our hearts go out to all people and pets that have suffered or are still suffering as a result of the illness no matter how it was caused. We know people and animals are hurting - we are passionate dog and horse lovers ourselves - we understand people’s genuine pain, hurt and anger,” the statement reads.
According to Agriculture Victoria, this is the first incidence of indospicine toxicity in the state.
Animals including cattle, camels, and horses are known to carry the toxin, according to the department, particularly in northern Australia.
Though the source of the toxin is yet to be determined, a number of samples of raw meat intended for pets are currently being analysed according to Yahoo News Australia.
These samples may include prescribed animals such as horses, fallen stock, and sealed dressed game such as kangaroos.
Following concerns regarding the spread of the disease to humans, Agriculture Victoria said in a statement the current outbreak is believed to only be affecting dogs.
“Pets suffering from liver disease associated with indospicine toxicity do not pose a risk to people,” the department said in a statement.
“There are no indications of any risk to human health nor of human food safety issues associated with these cases to date.”
Currently, a number of products issued between May 31 and July 3 have been recalled as a precaution, including:
- Maffra District Knackery Mince
- Maffra District Knackery Kennel
- Mafra District Knackery Horse
- Backman’s Greyhound Supplies Mince
- Backman’s Greyhound Supplies Kennel
- Backman’s Greyhound Supplies Horse