Pet food could be linked to dog deaths in Victoria

Wednesday, 21 July, 2021

Pet food could be linked to dog deaths in Victoria

PrimeSafe, the Statutory Authority responsible for regulating pet food in Victoria, is investigating a cluster of dog deaths in Victoria. There are numerous lines of enquiry underway, with collaboration between PrimeSafe, Agriculture Victoria, pet food processors, key distributors, veterinarians and the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia.

Agriculture Victoria has been made aware of 45 cases of dogs, of which 10 have died, suffering from severe liver disease in the Bairnsdale, Traralgon and Frankston areas.

The investigation into the cause of the cluster is very complex. Fresh and frozen raw meat sourced from Gippsland and sold between 31 May and 3 July is one common factor and potential connections are being investigated.

PrimeSafe continues to investigate compliance with the Meat Industry Act and the mandated pet meat standard related to the cluster. Testing continues at specialist laboratories across Australia, but a cause has not been identified.

PrimeSafe does not have the power to issue a mandatory recall of pet food. However, pet meat processors and pet food distributors have put in place voluntary product withdrawals and recalls.

Agriculture Victoria has ruled out infections, canine leptospirosis, ehrlichiosis and aflatoxins and is continuing to coordinate testing of pet food and samples obtained from affected dogs to identify the potential cause including testing at AgriBio and relevant external laboratories. Examination of liver tissue has confirmed the clinical diagnosis of severe liver disease but has not pinpointed the cause.

Investigations are also focusing on food types, food additives, treats and other consumed items, water sources, environmental contacts, human and veterinary medicines and poisoning.

There are no indications of any risk to human health or any human food safety issues to date.

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