Study finds raw diets for pets place animals, owners at risk

A new study conducted by Utrecht University scientists, published in British veterinary journal Vet Record, has discovered that raw meat-based diets (RMBD) for pets, places owners at risk for serious disease.

The study, which analyzed 35 RMBD’s from 8 brands, revealed that E. coli 0157 was isolated from eight products, Salmonella species in seven products, and Listeria species were present in 15 products. Four products found the parasite Sarcocystis cruzi; another four contained Sarcocystis tenella and two products revealed Toxoplasma gondii.

Researchers also found evidence the raw meat harboured antibiotic resistant bacteria.

“Despite the relatively low sample size of frozen products in our study, it is clear that commercial RMBD’s may be contaminated with a variety of zoonotic bacterial and parasitic pathogens that may be a possible source of bacterial infections in pet animals and if transmitted pose a risk for human beings,” they added.

Pets fed RMBD’s can pass pathogens to humans through direct contact, such as licking or brushing up against them, according to scientists. Researchers wrote that pathogens can also be transferred through direct contact with the food, through contact with household surfaces, or by ingesting cross-contaminated human food.

Researchers believe there is no evidence for any benefit of RMBDs compared to mainstream dry or canned pet foods and that raw meat-based diets may even be less nutritious.

Source: VeterinaryPracticeNews.com – March 2018 Volume 30/Number 3

Written by Chris MacDonald, DVM


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