Sunday 11 July 2021

Raw dog food manufactured in Europe contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria

A study has revealed that raw dog food manufactured in Europe contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria including superbugs of the type found in hospital patients. This news immediately brings to mind the advice by veterinarians in the UK and in America that cat owners should not make their own raw cat food. I have been sceptical about that advice on the basis that veterinarians want to sell commercially prepared cat food in their clinics.

Raw dog food manufactured in Europe contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria
 Raw dog food manufactured in Europe contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Is the cat food version safe?

However, the shocking news that commercially prepared raw dog food contains these pathogens supports the veterinary advice. The new research was presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (2021). This revelation about raw dog food indicates that it presents an international public health risk to the citizens of Europe. And, as mentioned, there might be wider implications.

The researchers suggested that the trend for feeding dogs raw food (and there is a general trend slowly building to feed cats raw food as well) may be fuelling the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The researchers analysed 55 samples of dog food of which 14 were raw-frozen across 25 brands available internationally and nationally. Of the raw foods analysed 54% contained enterococci. More than 40% of the enterococci were resistant to many antibiotics. There was also resistance to vancomycin and teicoplanin. The enterococci were also resistant to linezolid which is a last-resort antibiotic considered vitally important by the WHO.

They genetically sequenced the bacteria in raw dog food and found that it was identical to bacteria in hospital patients in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

Comment: the news surprises me. It would seem to scotch any idea that feeding your cat or dog raw food is a good one. The news may put a halt to the increase in sales of law pet foods unless something is done about the quality. If manufacturers are unable to ensure that their raw pet foods are free of pathogens then what chance do pet owners have if they make home-made raw cat and dog food?

I would have thought that this research would prompt a review of how raw pet foods are manufactured and how they should be made in the home. Raw food should be better than commercially prepared cat and dog foods which are highly artificial. I have heard good things about raw foods in improving the digestive tract and general health. However, any improvements in health are being offset it seems to me by the risks posed as stated above.

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