Dear Pet Parents,
Coronavirus has made us acutely aware of the increased risk to particularly vulnerable people such as the elderly, very young and those with underlying health issues. We should remember that these groups are particularly at risk from another source.
Pets fed on raw meat also pose a risk, by virtue of the potential to pass on infectious pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, E Coli and Campylobacter.
Although there has not been a great number of confirmed cases in humans so far, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that, even when the pet itself is not affected, dissemination of these bacteria into the environment does occur (bacteria can be shed into the environment).
A few months ago, I randomly selected several samples of branded frozen dog food which I sent for testing. One sample came back positive for Salmonella. Oddly, neither the Food Standards Agency nor the pet food manufacturer seemed at all concerned by this. The World, American and Canadian Small Animal Veterinary Associations, (but not the British Small Animal Veterinary Association), have all advised against feeding raw food to pets.
Another potential hazard is that raw feeding to pets has also been shown to increase bacterial resistance to antibiotics. When this becomes a widespread problem, as it surely will, it could cause public health problems on a par with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
John Burns BVMS MRCVS