Sulphur dioxide additives in pet meat have been reported in the media as the culprit in thiamine deficiency in a Sydney cat.
A story in the Sunday Telegraph on 11 May featured Sydney veterinarian Anne Fawcett highlighting the dangers of fresh pet meat preserved with excessive levels of sulphur dioxide.
“Our case report was published in the March issue of Australian Veterinary Practitioner, the ASAVA’s quarterly journal, and we wanted to raise awareness of how dangerous this practice can be,” said Anne.
“The Sunday Telegraph had heard of other cases and got in touch to find out more. We used the opportunity to call for change in how pet meat is regulated. I see around three cases each year, and these are entirely preventable!”
Melbourne AVA member, Linda Fleeman, was on the committee that developed the Australian Standard for manufactured pet food, and thinks the same standards should apply to fresh pet meat.
“We have a comprehensive standard for Australian manufactured pet food that protects both the health of pets and the rights of pet owners to accurate labelling and a safe product,” Linda said.
“It’s frustrating that there’s no system to impose safer standards on pet meat.
“The AVA in collaboration with the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia is continuing to seek a solution, but unfortunately we don’t know how widespread the problem currently is.
“I encourage all clinical vets to log their cases of thiamine deficiency with PetFAST – our Pet Food Adverse event System of Tracking.”
Any Australian vet can report a health problem in a cat or dog that they suspect of being caused by pet food, meat or treats. Information and lodgement is online at http://www.ava.com.au/petfast.
“If we can start getting consistent reporting, we might have a hope of convincing regulators to act,” Linda Fleeman said.