Raw meat danger to pets and owners

Raw meat danger to pets and owners

Previous research has already shown the risks associated with feeding raw meat-based diets to cats and dogs, including a risk of developing hyperthyroidism in dogs, inadequate nutritional balance, and contamination with parasites and pathogens.

Feeding your pet a raw meat-based diet may be putting their health at risk, a new study warns. The food also carries a number of bacteria that could infect dogs and spread to their owners. 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.

"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.

T. gondii can cause disease in people, the researchers said.

The Dutch study, which analysed 35 products, found E coil in eight, listeria species present in 15 products and salmonella in seven.

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Researchers said in a press release: "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". For example, through direct contact with the food or with an infected pet; through contact with contaminated household surfaces; or by eating cross-contaminated human food.

Four products (11 percent) contained the parasite Sarcocystis cruzi, another four contained Sarcocystis tenella and in two products (6 percent) Toxoplasma gondii was found. "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".

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.

Commercial dry or canned pet foods are safer because the composition of the food is complete and optimally balanced in terms of nutrients, he said. But when we feed our pets raw meat, that bacteria thrives.

That's why it's important for companies to inform pet owners of the possible risks that come with feeding their pets raw meat-based diets by including warnings on packages and labels. 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.

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