Catalog Home Page

Recent pet food toxicities in Western Australia

Paul, A., FitzGerald, L., Fletcher, M., Bell, E., Sharman, M., Irwin, P., Foster, S., Cave, N., O'Hara, A. and Mansfield, C. (2010) Recent pet food toxicities in Western Australia. In: ACVSc College Science Week, 1 - 3 July, Gold Coast, Queensland.


Three series of severe pet food associated toxicoses were diagnosed during 2009 in Western Australia. Five cases of clinical hepatotoxicity were diagnosed in dogs fed a commercial elimination diet of camel meat and sweet potato for atopic skin disease. These dogs all had detectable blood levels of indospicine, a toxic non-protein amino acid, isolated from Indigofera linnaei, a plant grazed by camels. Histological lesions in these dogs were consistent with previously reported lesions in dogs fed horse meat concentrated with indospicine. Four dogs exclusively fed a commercial pet diet available at supermarkets presented with marked neurological signs and were diagnosed with thiamine deficiency due to sulphur preservatives in the food. Two cats exclusively fed a commercial cat food diet available at supermarkets, were diagnosed with hypercalcaemia due to excessive vitamin D. The pet food was tested, and found to have high vitamin D concentrations. This diet was exclusively fed to the cats, with no other potential source of toxicity.

Conclusion: These cases highlight that not all animals’ fed a diet will develop clinical disease and that an accurate description of an animal’s diet and feeding plan are a mandatory component of disease investigation. It is also possible that a significant number of pet food toxicities go unrecognized. Pet food should be considered as a potential source of toxins and a cause of clinical disease, and these cases support tighter regulation of the pet food industry.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Item Control Page Item Control Page