Raw meat diets pose danger to pets and owners, study finds

13 January, 2018, 05:59 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • David Baileys via Getty Images

Lastly, researchers found two products (six per cent) with Taxoplasma gondii.

Four products (11%) contained the parasite Sarcocystis cruzi and four contained Sarcocystis tenella.

We know you probably think you're doing a lovely thing for your cat or dog by giving them fresh, uncooked meat (that's what they'd eat in the wild, right?), but it turns out that a raw food diet really isn't the best option for your pets.

Marketing campaigns assure consumers that they have plenty of positive effects on animals, including facilitating digestion, reducing allergies, improving energy levels or even easing the treatment of diabetes and epilepsy.

A trend which involves feeding cats or dogs raw meat and bones, RMBDs have become increasingly common in recent years as pet owners hail them as more natural, and void of additives or contamination. 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.

Fifteen products contained species from the nasty Listeria genus, eight products had Escherichia coli, and seven products contained at least one Salmonella species.

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". The former is known to be unsafe 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.

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A team of researchers in the Netherlands have said that the foods could be contaminated with bacteria and parasites.

'Cats and dogs that eat raw meat diets are also more likely to become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria than animals on conventional diets, ' explain researchers.

If you're planning to do the switch, keep in mind, that some pets develop gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhoea, when changing to a raw meat-based diet.

Overgaauw said dry, semi-moist and canned pet food is rarely contaminated with pathogens.

By feeding this diet to pets, owners are not only risking the health of the animals but also their own health.

"Every owner may decide what to feed his or her pet", says Overgaauw, but he does believe that warning labels should be added to products containing raw meat.

"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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