UK Raw Feeders, Consider who you Spend Your Money With…
Below you’ll find Medivets statement on raw feeding, released internally, which was emailed to me by a vet working for the group. All the usual guff. It’s funny, if you substitute the word “raw” for “dry food” their statement actually makes more sense if we were to go by the actual data or number of dogs and humans harmed. The vast majority have heard all this nonsense before but it’s usually spewing out of the corporate-sponsored vet governing bodies. We can’t do much about that. However, Medivet is a business. It is one of the largest owners of vets in the UK and has come for some very heavy criticism in the past for how it chooses to do business. This means this IS something tangible we can easily rally against.
While Medivet top brass clearly do not support or believe in promoting fresh food for pets, it seems many vets working for them are doing exactly that. This is a tough situation and will surely come to a head at some stage, one way or the other. When the corporate-owned vet clinic business model is dispensing as many of these to each client as possible, I can only see it going one way but sincerely hope I’m wrong.
Hence, I urge all feeders to really think about who they are paying for advice. If your vet doesn’t support you, speak with your feet. It’s a powerful weapon. Support good vets. Here’s a handy search tool for finding a good natural vet close to you in the UK.
As dry food sales plummet and raw food sales explode, let’s see how long they hold this line for. The answer – as long as it remains profitable to do so. This is the world we live in.
We would like to add some balance to the thread that has been circulating regarding raw diets. It is vital to remember to critically evaluate what you are told, especially by a company promoting its products. Always ask for and critically evaluate any evidence provided to back up any claim made, especially with nutrition and supplementary foodstuffs. Please see article pasted at bottom of this email for further information.
Raw food diets are controversial due to significant risks posed to the health of the animals, their owners, as well as veterinary staff treating animals fed raw diets – the overwhelming scientific evidence is that this practice increases risk of transmission of life threatening infectious agents to the animals themselves, to in-contact animals and most importantly to high-risk humans who may handle the food or come into contact with the animal or its environment. High risk humans include children, the elderly, anyone on immune-suppressive treatment, and pregnant women. It also increases the risk of antibiotic resistance developing.
Because of these risks the practice of feeding raw has been condemned by bodies that have considered the evidence including the Food and Drug Administration, The American Animal Hospital Association, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Australian Veterinary Association, and The Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association. Please also read the WSAVA statement on raw feeding pasted below.
Raw meats can carry pathogenic infectious agents including bacteria, protozoa, nematodes and viruses which cause disease in pets and people.
Some of these infections have caused death, serious life-threatening or life-changing disease in dogs, cats and humans and some are zoonoses being transmissible between species. Humans have become infected from handling raw meats, handling animals that have been fed raw meats or contact with contaminated environment/objects.
Infected animals may show no clinical signs and appear outwardly healthy, but they can be shedding serious pathogens. E.g. Salmonella can be shed within 24 hours following ingestion by dogs.
Many of the pathogens in raw meat survive and persist for a long time in the environment, may be isolated from the mouth as well as faeces of pets and from feeding bowls that they use. Some can be very difficult to eliminate from the environment eg salmonella.
The risks may be summarised as:
Infection being given to the pet being fed the raw food
Infection being passed to other animals in contact with the infected pet or its contaminated environment
Infection being transmitted to the owner through handling raw meat
Infection being transmitted to the owner or other people through contact with the infected pet, infected owner or contaminated environment
Infectious zoonotic agents that should be considered include:
Avian influenza – cats fed infected poultry
High risk groups of people are :
Children under 5 years age
People / animals with immunosuppression
Due to immunosuppressive disease
Due to immunosuppressive therapeutic agents
As we have a duty of care to our staff at Medivet, barrier nursing precautions should be considered whenever handling animals fed raw diets.
We are in the process of placing this information onto the intranet for future reference – I will send the link once this has been completed.
Dr Gareth Richardson BVSc CertSAS MRCVS
RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Small Animal Surgery
Head of Clinical Standards
01702 478 834