Australian Veterinary Association warns poisoned meat is causing kidney damage in dogshttp://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24772364-662,00.html
By Miles Kemp
December 09, 2008 12:00am
* Hundreds of dogs hit in poison scare
* Experts try to track down source
* Meat from China suspected
UNIVERSITY experts are urgently trying to track down the source of a deadly poison which has struck hundreds of small dogs, with pet food meat from China the suspected cause.
The Australian Veterinary Association has issued a national warning to all vets to report any serious kidney damage in small dogs in the past month.
"We have only become aware of this in the last three or four weeks, and we need to make people aware there are some clear indications there is a problem out there," AVA national president Mark Lawrie told The Advertiser yesterday.
Mr Lawrie said the AVA had discussed the cases with a prominent pet-food supplier suspected to be the source of the poison, which the AVA would not name for legal reasons. Vets and small-dog owners have been told to look out for warning signs:
INCREASED thirst and urination.
REDUCED appetite and lethargy.
VOMITING and weakness.
University of Sydney researchers have issued a national alert over the kidney-destroying poison - but after a legal threat from the company, have been banned by the university from making any public comment.
The AVA had also warned vets - in a national alert to all members to be aware of the problem - against making comments to the media about the case.
One university researcher, who would not be named, said there was enough evidence to recall the product but the safety message had been hampered by threats from the company.
"We have not been able to call for cases and an open call to vets for cases has just been made and we are aware of dozens of cases and suspect there are hundreds," he said. "What is important is that the meat is sourced in China and I think pet owners can trust the product if all the ingredients are sourced in Australia."
The researcher said owners should be concerned about any breed but especially dogs the size of a small terrier.
Studies of dead dogs are also being carried out to identify the cause, with one brand of meat suspected of causing symptoms.
Vets have been urged to contact the University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science via email A.Arteaga@usyd.edu.au
if they have suspected cases of the poisoning.