The Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association is warning pet owners to only buy meat for pets that is human grade.
The association said sulphur dioxide is used in fresh pet meats sold in supermarkets and pet stores. The preservative keeps meat fresh but if consumed in large amounts, it can cause vitamin B1 depletion, lethargy, rashes, weight loss, seizures, and can even lead to death.
ASAVA president Dr. Matthew Retchford, said, “Buy meat you would eat yourself or bring in a sample of the food you are buying and (vets) can test for sulphur dioxide. A lot of pet owners need to be educated. Don’t buy fresh meat unless it is part of a well structured diet.”
Dr. Retchford added, “The problem, particularly in dogs, is that the signs are very subtle. It could be anything from lethargy to altered behavior through to seizures. Cats show acute symptoms such as apparent blindness and somersaults or flipping.”
A spokesperson for the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia said, “Preservatives, when used, are added at very low levels in the product. Preservatives are available in varying forms.”