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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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New app to improve street dog welfare

News Story 1
 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

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News Shorts
Farm to fork traceability championed in new service

Defra has created a new information service to offer farm to fork traceability when the UK leaves the EU. The Livestock Information Service, which is set to be operational from 2019, will identify and track animal movements via electronic IDs, meaning the industry and government are better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.”