Animal health authorities have identified the cause of a severe liver disease that has killed or sickened scores of dogs across Victoria.
PrimeSafe and Agriculture Victoria last week determined the toxin indospicine had triggered the illness but it is unknown how dogs ingested high levels of the toxin. It is the first time indospicine toxicity has been reported in Victoria.
The current focus is on pet meat supplied from a Gippsland knackery, which is known to have been sold in at least one Ballarat retailer.
Agriculture Victoria reminded dog owners they should not feed their pet fresh or frozen raw pet meat sourced from Gippsland between May 31 and July 3, and to contact their supplier to find out where and when any meat products were sourced.
Indospicine is a toxin found in native plants of the Indigofera species across Australia, but the species that produces high levels of the toxin is found in northern Australia. Indospicine has been previously shown to build up in the tissue of some grazing animals when they continue to eat these plants and dogs are especially sensitive to the toxin.
Indospicine toxicity has previously been reported in northern Australia when dogs eating horse or camel meat were affected.
The meat processing facility and their retailers have voluntarily withdrawn a range of pet meat products, but there are fears products with the toxin might still be in circulation or meat from the processor may have been used in other products.
Dog owners should seek advice from their vet if their dog demonstrates any symptoms including sudden loss of appetite, lethargy or jaundice in a previous heathy animal.