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Raw meat increases resistant E. coli risk in dogs, study finds
When dogs excrete this resistant bacteria, there is a risk it could spread to humans.
Affected dogs may excrete antibiotic resistant bacteria.

A study has concluded that feeding dogs a raw meat diet could increase their risk of excreting antibiotic-resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli).

The results highlight that the E. coli being excreted is resistant to the commonly used antibiotic ciprofloxacin, which could have One Health implications.

The research involved scientists from the University of Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (CMM) looking for ciprofloxacin-resistant E. coli from the intestines of 600 healthy pet dogs. They also asked the dogs’ owners to answer a survey which provided information about their dog, the dog’s diet, where they had been walked, and if they had been treated with antibiotics.

This allowed the team to use the microbiology data alongside the survey results to conduct statistical analysis, which revealed that the most significant factor with the excretion of E. coli was a raw meat diet.

These latest results support other published studies which associate feeding uncooked meat to dogs, and those dogs excreting antibiotic-resistant E. coli. When dogs excrete this resistant bacteria into the environment or at home, there is an increased risk of it spreading to humans.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria is considered a major One Health concern in both the human medicine and veterinary industries. The publishing of this study coincides with World Antimicrobial Resistance Awareness Week, which aims to inform the public of the dangers of improper antibiotic use.

Antimicrobial resistance can be the result of antibiotics being used unnecessarily, or being disposed of incorrectly, which causes those antibiotics to be less effective at treating some conditions.

GPs in the UK have already reduced their use of ciprofloxacin, which has contributed to a decrease in ciprofloxacin-resistant E. coli from human infections. There has also been a near total cessation of fluoroquinolone use in treating UK farm animals. However, resistance remains very high around the world.

The researchers suggest that changing a dog’s diet to a non-raw diet, or cooking good quality raw meat for pets, could prevent the spread of ciprofloxacin-resistant E. coli through dog faeces. They also suggest those in the raw dog food industry should be incentivised to source meat from farms with appropriate antibiotic usage policies.

Dr Jordan Sealey, research associate in the CMM and one of the study's researchers, said: "Individual measures to reduce the risk of resistant bacteria being excreted by dogs include changing to a non-raw food diet or sourcing good quality raw meat that can be cooked, and then cooking it.

“Most raw food sold for consumption by dogs is not of a quality that can be cooked, and can cause a serious health hazard to dogs if cooked.”

The full study can be found in the journal One Health.

Image © Shutterstock

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RCVS Knowledge appoints Veterinary Evidence editor-in-chief

News Story 1
 RCVS Knowledge has welcomed Professor Peter Cockcroft as editor-in-chief for Veterinary Evidence.

A world-renowned expert in evidence-based veterinary medicine, Prof Cockcroft will lead the strategic development and editorial quality of the open-access journal. He was previously in the role from 2017-2020.

Katie Mantell, CEO of RCVS Knowledge, said: "We are excited about the extensive knowledge of evidence-based veterinary medicine and clinical veterinary research that Peter brings, and we look forward to working with him over this next phase of the journal's development." 

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CVS Group hit by cyber attack

CVS Group, which owns more than 450 veterinary practices in the UK, has been hit by a cyber attack.

In a statement, the group said the incident involved unauthorised external access to a limited number of its IT systems. As soon as the attack was discovered, the group took its IT systems temporarily offline, causing 'considerable operational disruption'.

It has warned that the security steps taken and ongoing plans to move its operational systems and IT infrastructure to the Cloud are likely to have an ongoing impact over a number of weeks.

Due to the risk that personal information was accessed, CVS has informed the Information Commissioner's Office. The company is working with third party consultants to investigate the incident.