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N Z Vet J. 1997 Oct;45(5):193-5.

Nitrite poisoning in cats and dogs fed a commercial pet food.

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Ferguson Veterinary Clinic, 174 Ferguson St, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Erratum in

  • N Z Vet J. 1998 Feb;46(1):44.


The death of three cats, from two separate households, was linked to toxic concentrations of sodium nitrite used as a preservative in a commercial pet food. Post-mortem examination of the three cats revealed a brownish discoloration of the blood suggestive of methaemoglobinaemia. Analysis of two samples of the pet food fed to the cats revealed a mean concentration of 2850 mg of total nitrite per kg of food (as fed). In a further incident, ataxia and weakness was noticed in two of four dogs after they were fed the same brand of pet food. One dog was successfully treated for methaemoglobinaemia with intravenous methylene blue.

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