Letter Response Part 2

Filed Under: Pet Nutrition

Continuing from last column, in response to Dr Gould's Letter to the editor. 


Dr. Gould quotes a 2012 position paper from the CVMA.  The CVMA has no medical standing, but rather are "an organization that provides programs and services to assist veterinarians with their careers." 


The paper cites "potential liability" issues regarding the recommendation of raw, and potential for dogs to shed salmonella in feces.  Their primary issue as stated is a legal liability issue, not a health issue.  And none of their issues has anything to do with the health of the animals, except when utilized improperly.  An issue that would exist with any improperly followed feeding regimen.


The study that paper cites for dogs shedding Salmonella was as follows.  They contaminated raw food with salmonella, and found that some of the dogs exposed to that tainted feed shed salmonella in their feces.  Makes sense, because that is what a dog's digestive system is meant to do.  Of 16 dogs fed tainted food, 7 had salmonella in their feces.  That means 9 actually cleaned the salmonella out of he food!  None of the exposed dogs got diarrhea, or exhibited clinical salmonellosis.  So, even though they were purposely fed bad meat, none got sick.  Oh, and by the way, 50 "purpose bred Beagles" were purchased to be used in this laboratory study.  To prove that some dogs that get fed salmonella will have salmonella in their poop.  Poor doggies.


First, raw should not contain salmonella if handled appropriately. Second, don't eat dog poop!  Wash hands after handling dog poop!  Not sure how this is a concern, really, especially as most raw fed dogs get zero salmonella in their food.  Most commercial raw dog foods are are HPP processed, or contain natural bacterophages to eliminate these risks.


Like most cautionary reports regarding raw, this one points to "potential risks".  This paper includes mention of the dangers of improperly handled raw foods, and diets that are not balanced.   These are unfair in their portrayals.  Anything that isn't done properly can lead to problems.  Kibble, canned or raw.  The word "potential" is the key here.  Because there are no actual cases of people getting salmonella through raw feeding.  But "safe" kibble?  Hundreds of cases of salmonella poisoning, even deaths. 


Kibble is recalled all the time for salmonella contamination.  I have yet to hear a caution about proper handling of kibble.  The dangers of kibble are hidden, and not limited to salmonella.  People seem to regard it as safe, but handled or stored improperly, it can be quite dangerous.  It is scary how many people use a bin to store kibble, and rarely wash it.  The buildup of bacteria and molds in those bins is alarming.  But I've never had a vet  mention those dangers.  Not all kibble is equal in these dangers, but like with anything, if it is too cheap, there is a reason.  If you pay $25 for 40lbs of food, you have to wonder where those ingredients came from, and how safe they are.


Raw has a built in safety factor, it is raw meat. We all know the hazards of raw meat, and take appropriate precautions.  Raw also has an added feature, you can actually see what it is made of.  If you buy a commercially prepared product, you can see the different bits of meat, bone, organ and veggies, depending on what blend you use. 


No one can tell what is in a little brown pebble without a laboratory, and even then, it can be difficult.  You have to trust that the manufacturer actually puts in what is listed on the label, and only what is listed on the label.  Melamine, mycotoxins, accidental vitamin overdoses, all these documented mass market kibble disasters could never happen with raw foods.  Because no raw foods use ingredients that could contain these contaminents.


Of course, the decision of how and what you feed your pet depends on your personal situation.  A dog can live a long, normal life eating just about anything.  They are very resilient beasts.  If you want to ensure that they are getting the best, most appropriate food, we would be happy to show you what to look for in a pet's diet without bias or prejudice against kibble, canned or raw, or even how to make it yourself.  My job depends on your pet living a long, healthy life.




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