How most ‘healthy’ raw dog foods contain deadly SUPERBUGS that could harm you AND your pet
- Antibiotic resistant bacteria in 61 per cent of the raw dog food samples tested
- Bacteria known to cause diarrhoea in animals and humans found in 73 per cent
- Scientists warn owners dogs may carry resistant bacteria that can spread
Owners who feed their dog luxury food containing raw meat could be exposing them to deadly bacteria, finds scientists.
The fashionable fad for raw meat dog food claimed to be more nutritious has been on the rise, and so too have the superbugs.
Scientists at the University of Zurich found evidence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in 61 per cent of the raw dog food samples tested and warn that they could spread to humans.
Bacteria that did not meet EU health standards, including salmonella and E. coli were found in 32 of the 51 suppliers tested.
Golden retriever eating from his bowl. Scientists at the University of Zurich found evidence of antibiotic resistant bacteria in 61 per cent of the raw dog food samples tested
In 73 percent of the pet food samples, the recommended value for enterobacteria was exceeded – the bacteria is known for causing stomach upset.
While two samples contained salmonella, known to cause diarrhoea in both animals and humans.
The researchers therefore believe that the raw diets, known as Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF), are a significant risk factor for the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Pet owners will often come into contact with the bacteria when preparing the food and are likely to be in close contact with their pets, risking transmission of the bacteria from animals to humans.
Dr Nüesch-Inderbinen said: ‘We advise all dog and cat owners who want to feed their pets a ‘BARF’ diet to handle the food carefully and maintain strict hygiene standards.
Salmonella cultures grown in a microbiology lab. Two samples contained salmonella, known to cause diarrhoea in both animals and humans
‘Pet owners should be aware of the risk that their pet may be carrying multidrug-resistant bacteria that can spread them.’
Public Health England warned earlier this year of the diseases spread by animals to humans from raw meats that can harbour dangerous bacteria – with fatal results in one case.
In the report, PHE said a food poisoning outbreak in August 2017 left four people seriously ill. One unnamed victim died of acute kidney failure.
The common link between all four cases – in the North East and South East – was contact with dogs.
All four were struck down by the same STEC bug – shiga toxin-producing E coli – and three dogs were fed on raw meat diets containing green tripe, the untreated contents of cows’ stomachs.
PHE said that its report suggested ‘an increasing trend in potential risk to humans from raw pet food’.
Celebrity advocates of raw feeding for pets include Springwatch presenter and poodle owner Chris Packham, who commented on a dog food website: ‘After doing a bit of research I discovered raw feeding and have never looked back.’
The widespread and sometimes inappropriate use of antibiotics has led to many bacteria producing resistant enzymes called extended spectrum beta-lactamases (EBSL), which make certain antibiotics ineffective.
These EBSL were found in over 60 per cent of the samples.
Of particular concern is the fact that such enzymes cause resistance to broad-spectrum antibiotics, which are used frequently to tackle a wide range of bacteria.
WHAT IS ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE?
Antibiotics have been doled out unnecessarily by GPs and hospital staff for decades, fueling once harmless bacteria to become superbugs.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously warned if nothing is done the world is heading for a ‘post-antibiotic’ era.
It claimed common infections, such as chlamydia, will become killers without immediate solutions to the growing crisis.
Bacteria can become drug resistant when people take incorrect doses of antibiotics or if they are given out unnecessarily.
Chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies claimed in 2016 that the threat of antibiotic resistance is as severe as terrorism.
Figures estimate that superbugs will kill 10 million people each year by 2050, with patients succumbing to once harmless bugs.
Around 700,000 people already die yearly due to drug-resistant infections including tuberculosis (TB), HIV and malaria across the world.
Concerns have repeatedly been raised that medicine will be taken back to the ‘dark ages’ if antibiotics are rendered ineffective in the coming years.
In addition to existing drugs becoming less effective, there have only been one or two new antibiotics developed in the last 30 years.
In September, the WHO warned antibiotics are ‘running out’ as a report found a ‘serious lack’ of new drugs in the development pipeline.
Without antibiotics, C-sections, cancer treatments and hip replacements will become incredibly ‘risky’, it was said at the time.