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Zoonotic bacteria and parasites found in raw meat-based diets for cats and dogs
  1. Freek P J van Bree, BSc1,
  2. Gertie C A M Bokken, BSc1,
  3. Robin Mineur, BSc2,
  4. Frits Franssen, PhD2,
  5. Marieke Opsteegh, DVM, PhD2,
  6. Joke W B van der Giessen, DVM, PhD, DipECVP2,
  7. Len J A Lipman, DVM, PhD, DipECVPH1 and
  8. Paul A M Overgaauw, DVM, PhD, DipACVM1
  1. 1Division of Veterinary Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  1. E-mail for correspondence; p.a.m.overgaauw{at}uu.nl

Abstract

Feeding raw meat-based diets (RMBDs) to companion animals has become increasingly popular. Since these diets may be contaminated with bacteria and parasites, they may pose a risk to both animal and human health. The purpose of this study was to test for the presence of zoonotic bacterial and parasitic pathogens in Dutch commercial RMBDs. We analysed 35 commercial frozen RMBDs from eight different brands. Escherichia coli serotype O157:H7 was isolated from eight products (23 per cent) and extended-spectrum beta-lactamases-producing E coli was found in 28 products (80 per cent). Listeria monocytogenes was present in 19 products (54 per cent), other Listeria species in 15 products (43 per cent) and Salmonella species in seven products (20 per cent). Concerning parasites, four products (11 per cent) contained Sarcocystis cruzi and another four (11 per cent) S tenella. In two products (6 per cent) Toxoplasma gondii was found. The results of this study demonstrate the presence of potential zoonotic pathogens in frozen RMBDs that may be a possible source of bacterial infections in pet animals and if transmitted pose a risk for human beings. If non-frozen meat is fed, parasitic infections are also possible. Pet owners should therefore be informed about the risks associated with feeding their animals RMBDs.

  • raw meat-based diet
  • barf
  • public health
  • parasitic contamination
  • bacterial contamination

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Footnotes

  • Funding Parts of this study were funded by the Eijkman Foundation for Postgraduate Education and Research in Public Health, Utrecht.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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