Raw meat danger to pets and owners

Raw Meat is Dangerous For Pets Study Says			 0					By		Denis Bedoya

Overgaauw noted that while the parasites are rendered harmless by freezing, bacteria are not, and that both posed a risk in home-prepared raw meat diets - not only to the pet but owners as well, either directly, as a result of cross-contamination of human food, or through exposure to pathogens shed by the animals.

"We see that more and more people are feeding [cats and dogs] this kind of product and we know that meat is infected with bacteria and parasites", said Paul Overgaauw, co-author of the new research from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

As well, four products (11 per cent) also contained the parasite Sarcocystis cruzi, while another four was found to have Sarcocystis tenella.

"Despite the relatively low sample size of frozen products in our study, it is clear that commercial RMBDs 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", researchers said.

This isn't the first time researchers have warned pet owners against raw meat-based diets.

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. "But I can imagine that cross-contamination in the kitchen during preparation of the food, and cleaning of the food bowls-as well as direct contact with infected animals-are the highest risks", he says.

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But if you're feeding Mittens a raw meat diet because "it's so natural" and "just what her wild ancestors would have eaten", it looks like science may not be on your side.

23% of the products tested contained E coli - a type that can cause kidney failure in humans - and 80% contained antiobiotic-resistant E coli.

Products containing raw animal products are either homemade from ingredients bought from butchers or pet shops.

"Feeding of freshly prepared, non-frozen raw meat based-diets to companion animals cannot only result in infection and disease in the animals, but also poses a risk to public health and livestock farming through shedding of pathogens into the environment", the researchers conclude. "I think that in the USA especially, owners are much more liking the convenience, and buy these products instead of preparing raw food on their own". They should be educated about proper handling of the products and personal hygiene measures, and the products should include warnings and handling instructions, the investigators said.

Giving them the reason to ditch dry and canned pet foods and feed their pets raw meat-based diets (RMBDs).

"As an evidence-based working veterinarian, I don't support these products", he says-not only because of the risk of infection, but because not all of them offer complete and balanced nutrients that dogs and cats need to grow and stay healthy.

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