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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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Bristol uni celebrates 75 years of teaching vets

News Story 1
 The University of Bristol's veterinary school is celebrating 75 years of educating veterinary students.

Since the first group of students were admitted in October 1949, the school has seen more than 5,000 veterinary students graduate.

Professor Jeremy Tavare, pro vice-chancellor and executive dean for the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: "I'm delighted to be celebrating Bristol Veterinary School's 75 years.

"Its excellence in teaching and research has resulted in greater understanding and some real-world changes benefiting the health and welfare of both animals and humans, which is testament to the school's remarkable staff, students and graduates." 

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News Shorts
RCVS HQ to temporarily relocate

The headquarters of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) is to move temporarily, ahead of its permanent relocation later in the year.

From Monday, 26 February 2024, RCVS' temporary headquarters will be at 2 Waterhouse Square, Holborn, London. This is within walking distance of its current rented offices at The Cursitor, Chancery Lane.

RCVS have been based at The Cursitor since February 2022, following the sale of its Westminster premises the previous March.

However, unforeseen circumstances relating to workspace rental company WeWork filing for bankruptcy means The Cursitor will no longer operate as a WeWork space. The new temporary location is still owned by WeWork.

RCVS anticipates that it will move into its permanent location at Hardwick Street, Clerkenwell, later on in the year.