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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Concern has been expressed by the British Trust of Ornithology (BTO) about the amount of aflatoxin on some imported peanuts 

Even though peanuts are tested before they leave their country of origin tonnes of imported peanuts have apparently  been found to be contaminated with aflatoxin - at up to 200 parts per billion according to Mr Chris Whittles, Chairman of CJ WildBird Foods. Aflatoxin is produced by a type of fungus called Aspergillus, and it is believed that the aflatoxin forms on the peanuts during transportation, particularly if they are stored under warm, humid conditions.

Members of the public have been advised by the BTO not to feed peanuts to birds unless they meet UK bird food standards and have been properly tested to ensure that they are not contaminated.

Aflatoxin causes liver disease, depresses the immune system can cause defects in unborn animals and can cause cancer. In some species it can cause death. Puppies are particularly susceptible and some birds (eg poultry, turkeys and geese) are also susceptible. There is not much information about aflatoxin poisoning in other birds such as budgerigars, parrots, finches  and canaries...but it should be assumed that they are likely to be susceptible if they are fed high doses of the toxin. The same warning applies to hamsters and other small mammals which might be given peanuts in their ration.

Last updated : September 2013