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The Raw Deal – The Science Dog

I’ve prevented scripting this essay.

The purpose is that, contrary to the way it might every now and then appear, I usually don’t hunt down conflict. Thought-about debate about scientific proof and civilized discussions? Yep, take pleasure in those. Nevertheless, the acrimony and polarization that steadily accompanies internet discussions about how greatest to feed canine? Keep away from these like the plague.

But, right here’s the thing. I write about canine and science. During the last yr or so, the variety of revealed scientific studies that look at a specific facet of uncooked feeding have continued to build up on my desk. I read them, sigh, and place them back on the pile.

My aversion to internet preventing was proving to be higher than my need to write down science.


On my desk are three new research, all in refereed, educational journals, and all reporting concerning the presence of pathogenic bacterial and parasitic contamination in commercially-produced raw dog foods.


Here’s what they are saying:

Research 1: Dutch epidemiologists with the Division of Veterinary Public Well being in Utrecht, Netherlands, examined 35 business raw, meat-based diets (hereafter, RMBDs) for the presence of bacterial and parasitic pathogens (1). The researchers purposely chosen fashionable brands that have been bought by retailers. All the samples had been saved in accordance with label suggestions previous to analysis. Outcomes: Escherichia coli (E coli) was found in 30 merchandise (86 %). Twenty-eight foods contained an antibiotic-resistant strain of this microbe and eight have been contaminated with a strain that causes critical sickness in humans. Listeria species have been found in 43 % and Salmonella species have been found in 20 % of the examined foods. A number of products have been contaminated with parasites, however this danger was substantially lower than that of bacterial contamination. Conclusions: Because several of the pathogens that have been isolated have been zoonotic (i.e. are pathogenic to humans) and because the transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains is an more and more critical public health concern, the authors conclude that pet house owners must be informed of the potential well being risks (to people and to pets) associated with feeding RMBDs.

Research 2: Although carried out in pet cats relatively than canine, this research is necessary as a result of it examines the consequences of feeding a raw weight-reduction plan on modifications in fecal bacterial populations and the potential for exposure to antibiotic-resistant microbes (2). The research enrolled 17 pet cats that have been fed dry, extruded cat meals or a mixture of dry food and canned meals (the management group), and 19 cats that have been fed a frozen or recent uncooked eating regimen. Fecal samples have been collected weekly and have been analyzed for the presence of antibiotic-resistant types of species inside the intestinal micro organism household of Enterobacteriaceae. In addition, 53 cat foods (18 uncooked products and 35 dry or canned merchandise) have been analyzed for the presence of the same micro organism. Outcomes: In the control group (cats that weren’t fed a uncooked food plan), three of 51 samples (5.9 %) have been constructive for the presence of antibiotic-resistant microbes. Within the raw-fed group, 37 of 57 samples (65 %), collected from 17 of the 19 cats, have been constructive for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. When present, the concentration of those microbes was also found to be considerably greater in cats fed uncooked diets. Finally, 77.8 % of the raw foods and zero % (none) of the cooked foods have been discovered to be contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Conclusions: This research found a robust association between feeding cats a raw weight-reduction plan and fecal shedding of antibiotic-resistant micro organism. This affiliation suggests a considerable danger of transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to each the animals and to the house owners who deal with these meals and who may be uncovered to their pet’s fecal matter.

Research 3: On this research, samples of 60 commercially obtainable, frozen RMBDs have been examined for microbial contamination (3). Results: Bacteria of the taxonomic household Enterobacteriaceae have been present in all 60 samples (100 %). In half of those (52 %), the concentration exceeded the edge degree thought-about acceptable by EU laws. Clostrium perfringens was detected in 18 brands (30 %) and concentrations exceeded the utmost allowed in two brands. Salmonella species have been present in four samples and Camplylobacter species have been remoted in three samples. Conclusions: Like different authors, the researchers advocate that pet house owners are knowledgeable concerning the pathogen dangers associated with raw feeding. Additionally they go a bit additional, stating that in view of the antibiotic-resistance drawback, canine who are being treated with antimicrobials shouldn’t be fed uncooked diets; nor ought to canine dwelling in houses with infants, aged individuals or immunocompromised individuals as a result of these subgroups are more weak to an infection.

Assessment Research (March, 2019): That is probably the most just lately revealed paper (4). The authors assessment greater than 30 scientific research, revealed in educational journals between 2005 and 2019, that measured bacterial pathogens in raw pet meals. In both Europe and the USA, a high proportion of the tested foods had contamination levels that exceeded the minimum acceptable levels for human meat products. The mostly isolated pathogens have been Salmonella and E coli. Most just lately, antimicrobial-resistant forms of a number of totally different bacterial species have been reported. Conclusions: The authors conclude that there stays little doubt, based mostly upon the revealed evidence, that the prevalence of probably critical pathogens is considerably larger in uncooked pet meals than in heat-treated foods and that these levels might pose a big well being danger to both pets and humans.

The (Raw) Deal: Because it stands as we speak, the research evidence relating to advantages and dangers related to feeding raw diets tells us this:

  • Health benefits? As with all broad category of feeding, the long-term well being benefits of feeding uncooked foods to canine is troublesome to review. So far, a lot of the purported advantages of feeding raw are based mostly on personal tales and anecdotes and don’t have help from managed feeding trials. The few feeding trials which have examined common well being have reported that canine fed a nutritionally balanced raw weight-reduction plan remain healthy, however have not demonstrated enhanced health benefits above those of canine fed different foods. This does not mean that there are not any benefits; it simply signifies that we have no idea and that the quite a few health claims for raw foods usually are not based mostly on scientific evidence.
  • Improved digestibility and nutrient availability? Some house owners select a raw meals for their canine because they’re considering feeding less highly processed meals. In the dog food realm, both dry, extruded food (kibbles) and canned meals are extremely processed and are virtually solely produced from non-human grade (i.e. “inedible”) components. The means through which these components are handled and cooked during processing causes average to extreme modifications in protein high quality and the lack of some nutrients. Subsequently, it isn’t shocking to seek out that raw diets are often greater in digestibility than processed foods. Nevertheless, both digestibility and nutrient availability are dependent upon the quality of the beginning elements, as demonstrated by a current research of uncooked versus processed hen. There’s additionally evidence, from several researchers, that uncooked feeding alters intestinal microbe populations. What shouldn’t be recognized nevertheless, is the impression, if any, of those modifications upon digestive capability or well being.
  • Safety? The studies reported on this essay provide evidence that business uncooked canine foods usually tend to be contaminated with bacterial pathogens and with specific strains of these pathogens which are immune to antibiotics. These outcomes show that canine and other people could also be vulnerable to an infection and that these foods are a possible vector for the spread of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria to different animals and other people.

My intention with this essay was to not start an internet struggle.

Nevertheless, the analysis says what it says. And presently, there are quite a few studies, from totally different, unrelated laboratories, displaying us that business raw diets are extra apt to be contaminated with probably harmful micro organism.

This is the science.

Deal with it: In case you are a uncooked feeder, then cope with this info in the sensible method. Ask producers about their strategies for controlling bacterial contamination, about their quality management measures, and about their firm’s recall historical past. Choose meals which were proven to be free of pathogenic micro organism and haven’t been recalled. When feeding, keep away from handling raw products, wash your palms and meals preparation surfaces completely, and monitor your canine rigorously for signs of illness or gastrointestinal an infection.

The science tells you that these are the details. It’s your determination relating to the best way to cope with them.

Cited Studies:

  1. van Bree FPJ, Bokken G, Mineur R, et al. Zoonotic bacteria and parasites found in uncooked meat-based diets for cats and canine. Veterinary Report 2017; November: doi: 10.1136/vr.104535.
  2. Baede VO, Broens EM, Spaninks MR, et al. Raw pet meals as a danger factor for shedding of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceiae in family cats. PLoS One 2017; November:
  3. Hellgren J, Hasto LS, Wikstrom C, Fernstrom LL, Hansson I. Prevalence of Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridium and Enterobacteriaceae in raw meat-based diets for canine. Veterinary Document 2019; March: doi:10.1136/vr.105199.
  4. Davies Rh, Lawes JR, Wales AD. Raw diets for canine and cats: A evaluate, with specific reference to microbiological hazards. Journal of Small Animal Apply 2019; March:doi.10.1111/jsap.12300.

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