Veterinary diets are intended for diseased animals and may contain cereal grains, mainly maize and/or wheat. These, in turn, are often infected with pathogens of the Fusarium
genus, which are able to produce numerous harmful mycotoxins. Forty-two samples of veterinary diets for dogs and cats were analyzed for the presence of Fusarium
species and mycotoxins. Species were identified using molecular methods and the ergosterol and mycotoxins (fumonisin B1
, deoxynivalenol, nivalenol and zearalenone) were quantified using HPLC methods. Two Fusarium
species were identified: Fusarium proliferatum
and Fusarium verticillioides
. The highest concentrations of fumonisin B1
, deoxynivalenol, nivalenol and zearalenone were 74.83, 2318.05, 190.90, and 45.84 ng/g, respectively. Only 9.5% of the samples were free from Fusarium
mycotoxins. The acceptable limits of mycotoxin content in animal feed, specified by the EU regulations, were not exceeded in any of the samples tested. The mean mycotoxin content in veterinary diets for cats was lower than for dogs. Thus, it is recommended that veterinary diets are examined, since the mycotoxin contamination pose additional risk to animal health. The knowledge on Fusarium
occurrence in veterinary diets is scarce and as far as we are aware this is the first report concerning the occurrence of Fusarium
spp. and their important secondary metabolites—mycotoxins—in different types of veterinary diets for companion animals in Poland.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.