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Raw meat diets pose risk to human and animal health - study
Researchers found that 43 per cent of commercial raw food diets contained listeria.
Researchers find bacteria and parasites in raw dog and cat food

Pet owners should be informed about the risks associated with feeding their animals raw meat-based diets, a new study has concluded.

The research published in Vet Record analysed 35 commercial raw food diets across eight brands that are widely available in the Netherlands. It found that 43 of the products contained listeria, while 23 per cent contained E.coli.

Furthermore, the study found that 20 per cent of the products contained Salmonella, 11 per cent contained the parasite Sarcocystis cruzi and 6 per cent contained Toxoplasma gondii.

Paul Overgaauw from Utrecht University said: ‘Despite the relatively low sample size of frozen products in our study, it is clear that commercial RMBDs may be contaminated with a variety of zoonotic bacterial and parasitic pathogens that may be a possible source of bacterial infections in pet animals and, if transmitted, pose a risk for human beings.’

He adds that dogs and cats that consume raw meat diets are also more likely to become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria than animals on conventional diets.

In light of their findings, the authors are warning pet owners to be aware of the risks of feeding their animals a raw-meat based diet. The paper outlines several ways in which pet owners can encounter such pathogens. For example, through direct contact with the food or with a contaminated pet.

They also stress that pet owners should be educated about personal hygiene and proper handling of raw meat diets. ‘Warnings and handling instructions should also be included on product labels and/or packages’, they advise.

The study, Zoonotic bacteria and parasites found in raw meat-based diets for cats and dogs, is available at http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/182/2/50

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Vets save premature penguin chick

News Story 1
 Vets have saved a tiny Humboldt penguin chick after her egg was accidentally broken by her parents. Keepers at ZSL London Zoo were shocked to find the chick, named Rainbow, still alive and rushed her straight to the Zoo’s on-site veterinary clinic.

It was a little way to go until the chick should have hatched, so the process was touch and go. Vets removed bits of shell from around the chick with tweezers until she could be lifted out and placed in a makeshift nest.

Rainbow is now in a custom-built incubation room where she spends her days cuddled up to a toy penguin. Keepers will hand-fed Rainbow for the next 10 weeks until she is healthy enough to move to the penguin nursery.  

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BVA infographic to help shoppers understand farm assurance schemes

An infographic to help members of the public understand farm assurance schemes has been produced by the BVA. The infographic outlines BVA’s priorities for animal welfare and shows whether or not the schemes address these priorities in their standards.

BVA president John Fishwick said: “The infographic is not intended to be a league table but to allow people to understand what aspects of animal health and welfare are addressed by assurance schemes so that they can decide which scheme best aligns with their own individual preferences and priorities."