Short Communication

An outbreak of canine aflatoxicosis in Gauteng Province, South Africa

Luke F. Arnot, Neil M. Duncan, Heleen Coetzer, Christo J. Botha
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 83, No 1 | a2 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v83i1.2 | © 2012 Luke F. Arnot, Neil M. Duncan, Heleen Coetzer, Christo J. Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 January 2012 | Published: 28 March 2012

About the author(s)

Luke F. Arnot, Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Neil M. Duncan, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Heleen Coetzer, Toxicology Laboratory, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, South Africa
Christo J. Botha, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Sporadic outbreaks of aflatoxicosis occur in dogs when they consume contaminated dog food. During 2011, low-cost brands of pelleted dog food were contaminated with very high concentrations of aflatoxins. Approximately 100 dogs were presented to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital. Clinically, the dogs were depressed to collapsed and icteric, with haematemesis, melaena and haematochezia. The most common pathological findings were icterus, gastro-enterorrhagia and hepatosis. On histopathological examination, fatty hepatosis and bile duct proliferation were observed. A consistent, very characteristic finding was the presence of a blue-grey granular material within the bile ducts. A total of 124 samples of the dog food fed to the affected dogs was analysed to determine aflatoxin concentrations. Concentrations ranged from below the limit of quantification (< 5 μg/kg) to 4946 μg/kg and six samples were submitted to determine the ratio of aflatoxins in the feed. It is estimated that well over 220 dogs died in the Gauteng Province of South Africa as a result of this aflatoxin outbreak.

Keywords

aflatoxins; Aspergillus spp.; canine; dog food; hepatotoxic mycotoxins

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