Liver disease in dogs pin pointed to native plant toxin

Working-dog

Dog owners should seek prompt advice from their private veterinarian if their dog demonstrates any concerning signs including sudden loss of appetite, lethargy or jaundice in a previous heathy animal, especially after eating pet meat.

The PrimeSafe and Agriculture Victoria investigation into the cluster of dogs with liver disease in Gippsland has identified indospicine as the cause of liver failure.

Indospicine is a toxin found across Australia in native plants of the Indigofera species. Dogs are especially sensitive to this toxin. This is a positive step in the progress of the investigation and provides some answers to affected and concerned dog owners.

Indospicine has been previously shown to build up in some grazing animals when they continued to eat these plants.

Indospicine toxicity has not previously been reported in Victoria but has been reported in northern Australia.

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. This complex investigation is ongoing with multiple lines of inquiry across the pet meat supply chain and testing continuing at laboratories across Australia.

PrimeSafe and Agriculture Victoria advice to dog owners remains that fresh or frozen raw pet meat sourced from Gippsland between 31 May and 3 July, should not be fed to dogs. It is understood that various businesses and suppliers have implemented voluntary withdrawals and recalls of potentially affected products.

As dog owners may still have potentially contaminated pet meat we encourage you to check any fresh or raw meat stored at home. Please contact your pet food supplier if you are unsure about the origins of their pet meat.

Dog owners should seek prompt advice from their private veterinarian if their dog demonstrates any concerning signs including sudden loss of appetite, lethargy or jaundice in a previous heathy animal, especially after eating pet meat.

Veterinarians seeking to report cases or for further advice should speak with their local Agriculture Victoria Animal Health or District Veterinary Officers or call the Customer Contact Centre on 136 186.

To contact PrimeSafe, visit the PrimeSafe website.

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