With recent media reports of E. Coli in the human food chain, you may be concerned about your pet ™s susceptibility to such infections. Luckily, the chances of pets or people contracting serious E. Coli enteritis (intestinal infection) are very low. Adults with healthy immune systems are generally able to fight off infections if a food borne contamination should occur. Of course, minimizing exposure is the best way to prevent infection. E. Coli is a very common bacteria that we find causing bladder infections, skin abscesses and other infections almost every day. In fact, it is a normal inhabitant of our intestinal tracts. There are forms of E. Coli that are what we call pathogenic – these are the ones that cause life threatening disease. A recent study of pet foods looked at bacterial counts in commercially prepared cooked diets and comercially available raw food diets. A significant number of the raw food diets contained potential pathogens – both E. coli and salmonella. Another recent study showed that about 2% of the fresh cuts of beef sampled grew E. coli or salmonella. Feeding raw diets has gained popularity lately, especially among performance dogs. We at Animal Care Clinic have never knowingly treated a life-threatening bacterial enteritis related to a raw diet, but this study would indicate that there is a risk in feeding these foods. If you are feeding raw foods, we strongly recommend avoiding commercial products, washing all foods well and searing all meat products. We also recommend avoiding raw diets for any immunosuppressed pet.
If you have questions about your pet ™s diet, please call us.
by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP