Nov 07 2014

Raw diets-What the AVMA is saying.

As you are probably aware, the last few years have seen many recalls of dog treats, (most notably chicken strips), dry dog foods and some of the ‘raw-based’ diets commercially available for our pets (dogs and cats alike). These concerns are not only for our pets, but for us, as well.

Raw food diets have become increasingly popular – both commercially-prepared and home-prepared. The idea that raw food diets are more ‘natural’ for our pets has prompted an entire industry to produce raw-protein-based dry and canned foods, as well as ‘tubes’ and ‘patties’ or ‘medallions’ of pressed raw food. And many folks have taken to the Internet to find recipes to create their own raw-based foods.

The Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network, with the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) and Its Microbiology Cooperative Agreement Program (MCAP) labs have conducted a study to look at the prevalence of selected bacteria in pet foods. The goal was to help the Center for Veterinary Medicine prioritize future testing, and implement increased screening for foodborne pathogens in pet food that may be a significant health risk to consumers. Six labs analyzed more than 1,000 samples over 2 years.

Of the 480 dry and semi moist samples, 2 tested positive: one for
Salmonella and one for Listeria greyll. But for the raw foods and jerky treats, 66
samples were positive for Listeria, 32 of those for Listeria monocytogenes, and 15 were positive for Salmonella. The study showed that raw pet foods might harbor pathogenic bacteria. Consumers should therefore handle these products very carefully.

From the AVMA:
The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) discourages feeding cats and dogs any animal-source protein that has not been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs, as well as humans. Cooking or pasteurization until the protein reaches an internal temperature high enough to destroy pathogenic organisms has been the traditional method used to eliminate pathogens in animal-source protein; however, the AVMA recognizes that newer technologies and other methods such as irradiation are constantly being developed and implemented.

Animal-source proteins of concern include beef, pork, poultry, fish, and other meat from domesticated or wild animals as well as milk* and eggs. Several studies reported in peer-reviewed scientific journals have demonstrated that raw or under-cooked animal-source protein may be contaminated with a variety of pathogenic organisms, including Salmonella spp, Campylobacter spp, Clostridiumspp, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and enterotoxigenic Staphylococcus aureus.

Cats and dogs can develop subclinical (no obvious symptoms) infections with these organisms but still pose a risk to livestock, other nonhuman animals, and humans, especially children, older persons, and people with compromised immune systems.

To mitigate public health risks associated with feeding inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs the AVMA recommends the following:
• Avoid feeding inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs
• Restrict cats’ and dogs’ access to carrion and animal carcasses (e.g., while hunting)
• Provide fresh, clean, nutritionally balanced and complete commercially prepared or home-cooked food to cats and dogs, and dispose of uneaten food daily.
• Practice personal hygiene (e.g., hand washing) before and after feeding cats and dogs, providing treats, cleaning pet dishes, and disposing of uneaten food.

Some symptoms of ‘food poisoning’ are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, rapid heart rate, weakness, and sometimes death. Dehydration becomes a serious concern any time a pet has diarrhea and/or vomiting – especially if it goes unchecked. Unfortunately, with these bacteria, damage to your pet’s internal organs can happen very quickly, and is often not reversible. Better to be safe and initiate steps to alleviate the risk. And, should you ever suspect that your pet has food poisoning, call us immediately and/or bring them into the clinic.

* The recommendation not to feed unpasteurized milk to animals does not preclude the feeding of unpasteurized same-species milk to un-weaned juvenile animals.
Copyright ©2014 American Veterinary Medical Association

drkclark | Uncategorized

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