The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has advised about the damaging affects of feeding dogs and cats pet meat or mince that are high in preservatives. Of main concern are meat products which contain high levels of sulphur dioxide, which is used to mask the smell and prevent discolouration of the pet food. The high levels of sulphur dioxide can effectively switch-off or inactivate the vitamin thiamine, which is vital for brain development.
Animals affected by thiamine deficiency may show a wide range of symptoms consistent with brain damage.
Dogs with the condition are known to tilt their heads to one side and may appear to walk around in a confused or disorientated state. Cats can show dilation of the eyes and neck weakness leading to head bobbing. Deterioration of brain function can quickly lead to paralysis, seizures and a fatal outcome.
An interest group of the AVA has written to all major pet food manufacturers in Australia to ask for detailed comment on the correct labelling for preservatives and additives in all pet food.
The preservatives that can cause thiamine deficiency in animals are:
220 – sulphur dioxide; 221 – sodium sulphite; 222 – sodium bisulphite; 223 – sodium metabisulphite; 224 – potassium metabisulphite; 225 – potassium sulphite; 228 – potassium bisulphite.
Thiamine deficiency can be avoided by feeding your pet a nutritionally balanced premium pet food. If you have any concerns about your pet’s diet please contact us. Our healthcare team receive regular training in relation to pet nutrition and can offer expert advise on nutritional programs including wellness and slimmers programs for your pet.