January 22, 2018

Raw meat pet foods 'may carry deadly bugs', experts warn

13 January 2018, 07:11 | Winifred Adams

Feeding your pet a raw meat could harm their health and yours a new study warns

Feeding your pet a raw meat could harm their health and yours a new study warns

Raw meat-based pet-food diets (sometimes referred to as RMBDs) have become increasingly popular around the world, the study authors wrote in their paper.

They wrote: "The presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in RMBDs could therefore pose a serious risk to both animal health and public health - not only because infections with these bacteria are hard to treat, but also because of the potential of it contributing to a more widespread occurence of such bacteria".

Researchers analysed 35 raw meat products from eight different brands on sale in the Netherlands (where more than 50% of dog owners feed their dogs raw meat).

Overgaauw set out to determine the presence of four zoonotic bacteria (diseases that can pass between animals and humans) and two parasite species in raw meat diets, which are often found in pet shops and supermarkets.

While a lot of these products are frozen, this only kills of parasites, not bacteria.

It found that E. coli was present in eight products (23 per cent), Listeria species were found in 15 products (43 per cent) and Salmonella species in seven products (20 per cent). In an email, the study authors said that raw-meat pet foods for sale in the United States are "without a doubt similar" to those tested in the study.

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Pet owners and other household members can come into contact with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in several ways, including direct contact with the food or with an infected pet, through contact with contaminated household surfaces, or by eating cross-contaminated human food.

In addition, four products (11 per cent) contained the parasite Sarcocystis cruzi and another four contained Sarcocystis tenella.

While your dog or cat might love the taste of raw meat, a steady diet of it might be a bad idea, a new study warns. These can then be passed to animals, and even their owners. The former is known to be risky to farm animals, while the latter has been linked to illnesses in cats and humans (including mental illness in cat owners) in the United States. Conventional pet food is also heated during processing, which kills all germs.

In general, the microbial evidence that the researchers gathered from their samples fell within acceptable limits for commercially produced pet products in the Netherlands.

Past year a charitable scheme which sends dogs into schools to help children read, Burns By Your Side, announced it had banned the use of animals fed on raw meats because of the health risk to children. He also believes that pet owners should be educated-by vets, pet stores, and pet-food companies-about the importance of personal hygiene and proper handling of these foods, so they can make the best decision for their pets and for themselves.

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