Toxin responsible for dog deaths uncovered

Indigofera produces the toxin which was found in a cluster of dogs that suffered liver failure, and has previously shown to build up in some grazing animals when they continued to eat these plants.

INVESTIGATIONS into a spate of dog deaths and illnesses in east Gippsland and the Mornington Peninsula has uncovered indospicine as the cause of the dogs’ collective liver failure.

The PrimeSafe and Agriculture Victoria investigation uncovered the toxin, which is found across Australia in native plants of the Indigofera species.

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

Dogs are especially sensitive to this toxin.

The investigations follow more than 10 dogs dying and about 50 falling ill with severe liver disease.

Fresh and frozen raw meat sourced from Gippsland and sold between May 31 and July 3 has been determined as a common factor.

PrimeSafe and Agriculture Victoria described the discovery as a positive step in the investigation’s progress, providing some answers to affected and concerned dog owners.

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.

The 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.

Raw chopped pet food produced by Maffra Knackery between these dates can be returned for a full refund or replacement.

The raw food being voluntarily recalled is labelled ‘Backman’s Greyhound Supplies Chopped’ and ‘Maffra Knackery Chopped’.

If the product was delivered, customers can phone Maffra Knackery directly.

PrimeSafe and Agriculture Victoria are encouraging dog owners to check any fresh or raw meat stored at home, as potentially contaminated pet meat may still be circulation.

People should contact their pet food supplier if they 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 phone the Customer Contact Centre on 136 186.

To get in touch with PrimeSafe, click here.