Checklist for veterinarians


Veterinarians need to carefully read this checklist if they suspect an adverse event associated with pet food, pet meat or treats. Most of this information will be needed to lodge a report with PetFAST.

You should document all your communications with the AVA, PFIAA and the product manufacturer.

  1. Maintain detailed medical records of affected animals
    • Clearly record clinical course, diagnostic tests, treatments, and outcome
    • Maintain a unique identification number for each patient
    • When possible, retain serum and urine samples for further testing
    • It is NOT necessary to obtain client consent to log a case on PetFAST, as the owner identification details are optional on the PetFAST form. However, should there be any subsequent request by a manufacturer or other third party for client case records, this will require prior written authorisation by the client.

  1. Collect a detailed diet history
    • In as much detail as possible, record all foods that the dog or cat ate for at least one week prior to the adverse event
    • Include all treats, supplements, and human food in addition to pet food
    • Record all possible access to other food and water sources, for example, cats with access to outdoors may hunt or obtain food from neighbours; dogs will frequently eat food intended for other household pets
    • Total number of animals in the house fed with this product
    • Total number of animals in the house showing clinical signs
    • Were there any other changes at the same time that could be the cause of the pet’s problem?
  1. Document product consumption
    • Dates product or products were fed
    • Consumption and palatability history
    • Time of onset of clinical signs
    • Date of opening or first use of bag? eg. Was the bag left open for some time?
    • If this is the first time the pet tried the product, did the owner do a gradual transition over a period of time (gastric upset can result if the pet changes suddenly from one diet to another)
  1. Document product name, type of product, and manufacturing information
    • Retain all packaging
    • Identify date labelling - use by, best before or packing dates
    • Retain purchase receipts
    • How was the product stored? Original bag, container, other?
    • Where was the product stored? Garage, kitchen, damp environment?
    • Did the owner notice any problems or differences (eg different smell, look, mould etc) when opening the bag?
  1. Submit all deceased animals for necropsy or collect appropriate samples
    • When possible, retain serum and tissue samples for further testing
    • Store tissue samples in formalin as well as in a freezer
    • Consult with personnel at the diagnostic laboratory for required quantity of tissues, tissue preparation, storage conditions, and submission of samples
  1. Notify clients of potential exposure to contaminated foods or product recalls
    • Recommend that clients discontinue feeding the food they suspect is associated with the adverse event
    • Examine all pets with known or possible exposure to the suspected food
    • Initiate prophylactic or therapeutic treatment as indicated
  1. Obtain and retain food samples for analysis
    • Retain 4 cans, 1 kg of dry food or 1 kg fresh food when possible
    • Store at room temperature in airtight bags or freeze if product is fresh.
    • If food samples are submitted to a diagnostic laboratory or to the manufacturer for analysis, retain a minimum of 50% of above quantity as a sample in case follow-up analysis is required.
    1. Lodge a report with PetFAST

The AVA and PFIAA will track reports to identify trends only. We will not be in contact with you unless further information is required.

You will receive a copy of your report via email when you submit it to PetFAST, and a copy will be forwarded to the product manufacturer where possible. They may contact you for further information. You can let us know in your report if you prefer that your contact details are not forwarded to the manufacturer. The rest of your report will still be forwarded.

Lodge a report online

Only veterinarians can use this system, and you should refer to the checklist to ensure you have the necessary information before making a report.


Got a question about PetFAST? You might find the answer here.