Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

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

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

A recent trend in feeding pets raw meat, bones and organs in diets that are considered more "natural" by some owners, is receiving heavy criticism from experts who say these "food" sources could be unsafe for both animal and human alike, the Guardian reported.

The study by Utrecht University, published in the journal, analysed 35 commercial frozen foods from eight different brands, widely available in The Netherlands. Antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli was present in 80% of samples, and Listeria and Salmonella bacteria were also common.

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

As such, researchers said that the bacteria and parasitic pathogens found in the foods may be a possible source of infection in pets and, if transmitted, pose a risk for human beings too.

T. gondii can cause disease in people, the researchers said. Humans may also be exposed to harmful pathogens when cleaning up an infected animal's waste or when an infected animal licks its owner's face or hands.

The increasingly popular practice of feeding dogs and cats raw meat may be unsafe for both the pets and their owners, according to a new study. But when we feed our pets raw meat, that bacteria thrives.

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RMBDs can form all sorts of products crafted for pets: dried treats for cats and dogs, homemade and manufactured meals.

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 food also carries a number of bacteria that could infect dogs and spread to their owners. "I think that in the US especially, owners are much more liking the convenience, and buy these products instead of preparing raw food on their own".

Commercial raw-meat pet foods sold in the United States and Europe contain "all kinds of meat, organs, and bones, sometimes with vegetables or fruits added", says Overgaauw.

A 2013 study in Vet Med Today expressed concern over this trend, saying that despite the belief that these diets are considered healthier and more natural by pet owners, they actually have a high incidence of nutritional imbalances. Pet owners should also be educated about personal hygiene and proper handling of raw meat products. "They think they are feeding dogs how they would eat in nature, like a wolf".

"T$3 he claimed health benefits attributed to the feeding of raw meat-based diets are mostly anecdotal, and no studies have produced results in support of these statements", the team writes in the study.

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