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

Leslie Hanson
January 13, 2018

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

But researchers have pushed back, saying there is no evidence of such health benefits and that raw meat diets can cause dental and gut injuries as well as growth problems in pets - the latter a result of a deficiency in certain nutrients, a particular issue with home-prepared raw meat diets. Do you feed your pet raw meat, or do you think it's too risky? The meat carries bacteria that can be unsafe to both animals and humans.

Researchers based in the Netherlands say raw meat based-diets (RMBDs) may be contaminated with bacteria and parasites, which can pose a risk to both animal and human health.

Of course, there are reasons people look to raw pet food in the first place - they're concerned about what's in the processed food options available for cats and dogs, and what these ingredients could do.

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.

The team points out that the relatively small sample size doesn't allow for a calculation of the precise risks involved if you buy your cat or dog raw meat-based products. Even more worrisome, E. coli 0157-a particularly risky strain now responsible for a lettuce-based outbreak in North America-was found in 23% of the samples.

Four products contained the parasite Sarcocystis cruzi and another four contained Sarcocystis tenella, both of which can cause nausea, stomach ache and diarrhea.

The Netherlands-based study analyzed 35 frozen, raw meat pet foods, looking for evidence of contaminants like salmonella, listeria and E coli.

ALSO READ: Do you own a female pet?

The study was published January 11 in the journal Vet Record. Some manufacturers say it's what dogs and cats would eat in the wild, claiming it will give them shinier coats, fresher breath, and higher energy levels.

Salmonella was found in 20% of the products while species of sarcocystis were found in 23%.

These pathogens are not only a risk to pets, people could also be exposed through cross-contamination with human food or contact with animals or feces, and the authors stress that owners should be made aware of these risks and encouraged to use proper hygiene.

"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.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article