Raw-food-based diets for dogs could pose an “international public health risk” due to the high levels of numerous drug-resistant bacteria, scientists have warned. These statistics are shocking at such a crucial time when a pandemic has changed our way of life forever.
*Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s ECCMID (European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases) planned for Paris from 18-21 April had to be cancelled.
However, the congress organisers decided to publish an abstracts book containing the studies that would have been presented as the information was too important not to be seen at this crucial time*
One study revealed how a raw-type dog food contains high levels of multidrug-resistant bacteria, including those resistant to vital last-line antibiotics.
In the study, the authors analysed bacteria obtained from processed (both dry and wet types) and non-processed (raw-frozen) foods of the main brands including 46 samples (22 wet, 15 dry, 9 raw-frozen) from 24 international brands, sourced from 8 supermarkets and one veterinary clinic.
Raw-frozen samples were mainly made up of salmon, chicken, turkey, calf, deer or duck, being a mixture of different meat types, fruits and vegetables. The bacterial samples were cultured and then tested with a range of antibiotics.
The harmful bacteria Enterococci were identified in 19/46 (41%) of the samples. They were found in eight of 15 (53%) in the dry foods; 2 of 22 (9%) of the wet samples, and 9 of 9 (100%) in the raw-frozen samples, and identified as the Enterococcus species E. faecium, E. faecalis or other species.
All nine raw meat samples carried multidrug-resistant enterococci, including those resistant to a wide range of antibiotics, while only one multidrug-resistant bacteria was detected in one of the wet food samples and none in the dry food samples.
Resistance was found to the antibiotics ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, tetracycline, streptomycin and chloramphenicol in all 9 raw-type samples.
The authors concluded: “Our study demonstrates that raw-frozen-foods for dogs carry multidrug-resistant enterococci, (which are resistant to) last-line antibiotics (linezolid) for the treatment of human infections.
“The close contact of pets with humans and the commercialisation of the studied brands in different EU countries pose an international public health risk if transmission of such strains occurs between dogs and humans.
“There is strong past and recent evidence that dogs and humans share common multidrug-resistant strains of E. faecium, and thus the potential for these strains to be transmitted to humans from dogs.”
Dr Freitas adds: “These raw-frozen foods are supposed to be consumed after being thawed and could at least be cooked, to kill these drug-resistant and other bacteria. Although these foods seem to be regulated regarding their microbiological safety by EU authorities, risk assessment of biological hazards should also include antibiotic-resistant bacteria and/or genes besides only establishing the presence of bacterial pathogens, such as Salmonella.”
“It is easier to change a man’s religion than to change his diet.”
– Margaret Mead
Raw meaty dog food owners tend to fall into this category and it was actually a raw meaty diet advocate who alerted me to the article above! This was their response on Facebook by Dr Brady Dog’s First ie which is particularly interesting to plant-based feeders and further confirmation that a balanced plant-based diet is healthiest for you and your pet as everything written below is written by raw meat advocate Dr Brady from Ireland!
“In case you or your vet sees the latest safety concerns regarding raw dog food, it MAY be a vector for multi-drug resistant bacteria (MRDB).
This is true, it might be. As ever, you want to make sure you’re using a reputable supplier. It should hearten you a little that good raw dog food manufacturers use the best suppliers, they can’t afford to use anyone else, so they are expected to have significantly less of this issue.
But more importantly, raw dog food here is nothing but the canary in the gold mine. The meat industry is the SOURCE of these bugs. The UK has more than 1000 mega-farms, known for desperately cramped and cruel conditions, filth and MRDB (the US is another level again as more than 90% of their meat comes from these hell holes, and they use a lot more chemicals). So if and when raw dog food processes the passed-fit-for-human-consumption pieces from these cesspits and ends up having issues that means WE are exposed to the same issues off the shelf of the supermarket.
Good reporting would be properly investigating and exposing the FILTHY MEAT INDUSTRY, identifying the worst suppliers by simple shelf tests, helping to force them to sort out the problems at the top.
But no. AS USUAL these biased regurgitations (was going to say ‘reporting’ there for a moment, just caught myself) of factoids is never, ever, ever balanced with a look at the alternatives – dry food!
So to add a little balance, here are two paragraphs from my forthcoming book Raw Science that might add a little badly-needed balance to this particular debate:
“Chaban et al. (2010) investigated the shedding of Campylobacter by apparently healthy (n=70) and diarrheic (n=65) dogs. Only the diets of the healthy dogs were recorded. 15 of them ate some or all raw meat and bone. They found that 58% (41 of 70) of the healthy dogs were shedding Campylobacter. This means, even if all the raw-fed dogs were shedding Campylobacter, at least half of the dry-fed dogs were too. And, UNLIKE RAW DOG FOOD, authors have isolated the same species of drug-resistant Campylobacter jejunifrom a dog fed a commercial dry diet as detected in a girl infected with the same strain, though it’s conceivable the dog may have eaten the same food the girl did.”
“Leonard et al. assessed the antimicrobial resistance patterns of Salmonella and E.coli recovered from pet dogs (n=132) in Ontario between 2005-2006 revealed that 96% were shedding anti-microbial resistant E.coli in their faeces. Unless every owner in Ontario was raw feeding back in 2005, then it’s more than clear that commercial diets are not sorting that problem out either. Fifty-eight of the isolates were resistant to two or more drug classes, with 70.7% and 29.3% being E. coli and Salmonella, respectively.”
And let’s not forget the pet for test results by Thixton (attached, https://truthaboutpetfood.com/the-pet-food-test-results/).
So, suck The Independent and anyone else who propagates this industry-loaded BS to the detriment of pets worldwide.”
So for once, the raw feeders are allowed the last say as everything he has advocated rings true for the meat industry. It poses a threat not only to our pets but to us too unless we all embrace a plant-based diet that is free of drug resistant bacteria fed to intensively farmed animals who end up either being fed raw to pets or in dog food!
My biggest fear as a vet is for the susceptible families currently living in close proximity to their beloved pets in lockdown. If they have chosen to feed their pet a raw meaty diet (or even handling rawhide chews), this antibiotic resistance concern could pose a huge threat to the owners and any family members who may fall ill with a bacterial infection of any sort – what a time bomb waiting to explode!
Our constant reminder is ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’ and we can only stay safe as families if we adopt a kinder, cleaner way of feeding our pets.
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