An outbreak of aflatoxin poisoning in dogs associated with aflatoxin B1-contaminated maize products

J Vet Diagn Invest. 2013 Mar;25(2):282-7. doi: 10.1177/1040638713477409. Epub 2013 Feb 15.


An aflatoxicosis outbreak affected 65 dogs from 9 different farms after they were fed diets with cooked corn meal as a common ingredient. Of the dogs, 60 died. Numerous dogs died on additional farms, but those dogs were not included in the study. The farmers acquired the contaminated maize products, in the form of whole corn grain or as corn meal, from the same supplier. The corn product was mixed with meat that was left over from home or commercial rations to form corn polenta, which was fed to the dogs. Necropsy was performed on 3 dogs. Two of the dogs died after a few days of refusing food, showing anorexia, polydipsia, icteric mucous membranes, hematemesis, hematochezia, or melena, and bleeding of the skin, eye, ear, and mouth. The primary necropsy findings included jaundice, hemorrhages in several organs, and yellowish enlarged liver with enhanced lobular pattern. The dog that experienced chronic ascites had a yellowish liver with reduced volume, irregular surface, and increased consistency. The main histological findings included hepatocyte fatty degeneration, biliary duct hyperplasia, cholestasis and, in the chronic case, hepatic fibrosis. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis of the corn meal from 2 affected farms revealed 1,640 ppb and 1,770 ppb of aflatoxin B1, respectively. The current study demonstrates an additional way that dogs can be exposed to, poisoned, and killed by aflatoxin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aflatoxin B1 / chemistry
  • Aflatoxin B1 / toxicity*
  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animals
  • Disease Outbreaks / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Dogs
  • Food Contamination*
  • Zea mays / chemistry*


  • Aflatoxin B1