Health Care

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

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

They found E. coliin 86 percent of the products, while 54 percent included L. monocytogenes and 20 percent held Salmonella.

Previous year a charitable scheme which sends dogs into schools to help children read, Burns By Your Side, announced it had banned the use of animals fed on raw meats because of the health risk to children.

Despite the relatively low number of products tested in the study, the authors say it's clear that commercial RMBDs may be contaminated with a variety of zoonotic bacterial and parasitic pathogens, which can pose a risk to pets and to their owners.

Contaminated raw meat, is a risk not only to the animal's health but also to the pet's owner, as bacteria and parasites can be passed between animals and humans easily.

"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.

It also endangers livestock farming through the shedding of ingested bacteria and parasites into the natural environment, and could spread any antibiotic-resistant germs present in the raw food.

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

The researchers found that 43% of the products (15 packs from eight brands) contained species of listeria, which causes extremely invasive illnesses.

So, even if the daily opening of weird-smelling canned food seems like doing your fuzzy friend a disservice, if it's well produced and nutritionally balanced, it may just be the best thing for the animals and yourself.

The growing trend of feeding dogs and cats raw meat is putting the health of animals and their owners at risk, a new study warns.

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

"It is important to encourage awareness of the possible risks associated with feeding RMBDs to companion animals, and pet owners should be educated about personal hygiene and proper handling of RMBDs", said the paper.