Dog liver disease cluster linked to a toxin found in native plants: Statement issued by Agriculture Victoria and PrimeSafe.

21 July 2021

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, Agriculture Victoria and PrimeSafe encourage owners to check any fresh or raw meat stored at home and to contact their pet food supplier if they are unsure about the origins of their pet meat.

Signs of liver disease include:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Drinking more water
  • Vomiting and/or Diarrhoea
  • Yellow skin, eyes and gums
  • Sudden collapse.

If your dog shows ANY of these signs and has consumed raw meat sourced from Gippsland, please phone Casey and Cranbourne Veterinary Hospital on 5996 2329 to book an appointment with one of out vets.

Book Online