Thinking about switching your pet to a raw meat based diet (RMBD)? A new study of commercial RMBDs available in pet stores and supermarkets found a significant number of harmful bacteria and parasites in these pet foods.
The results, published this month in the journal Veterinary Record, found the following rates of bacterial contamination in 35 commercial RMBDs from 8 different brands tested:
- Escherichia coli serotype O157:H7 : 23%
- Extended-spectrum beta-lactamases-producing E coli : 80%
- Listeria monocytogenes : 54%
- Other Listeria species : 43%
- Salmonella : 20%
Two parasites, Sarcocystis cruzi and Sarcocystis tenella were found 11% of the products. The parasite Toxoplasma gondii was found in 6% of the samples.
Researchers found that the large number of bacteria and parasites in these commercially prepared RMBDs pose a health threat to both pets that consume the food, and humans via handling and exposure to contaminated food.
They also note that dogs and cats on a RMBD are more likely to become infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria than those that consume cooked food.
If you choose to feed your pet a RMBD, it’s important to be aware of the health risks of a raw diet, and how to handle these foods safely.
To learn more about the possible dangers, you can read the American Veterinary Medical Association’s position paper on feeding pets a raw food diet HERE.