The practise of feeding raw and homemade diets to cats and dogs has been written about before- by others along with yours truly (Reviewing Raw Diets, Raw Raw Raw ‘Yer Boat). Regardless of how you (or I) may feel about this practice, raw and homemade food diets are a rising share of the pet food market and it’s good to have information about what’s occurring in one’s own neck of the woods, i.e. regionally.
This research from the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) was recently presented at the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (AAVN) conference in Phoenix, AZ. Data from the questionnaire, together with considerable input from AVC’s infection control team, led to the creation of a raw food feeding policy for the hospital in order to keep patients, students and staff safe.
Research that targets regional practices and associated risks may not be sexy (i.e. attract much funding), but this type of program evaluation effort is priceless (and practical) as it helps us do things on the local level, such as:
1) Reducing (and ideally eliminating) entry of raw food into the veterinary hospital
2) Preventing infectious disease transmission of pathogens (bacteria and parasites) from pets eating raw food diets and shedding these pathogens to other hospital patients (i.e. dogs and cats), and hospital staff (i.e. humans) who come into contact with these pets.
3) Establish risk awareness and trace-back in case of outbreaks
Reduction of disease risk for our pets and fellow humans is something I think we all want. And while I am a proponent of doing whatever ‘floats ‘yer boat’ for your pet nutritionally, (provided you’ve taken steps to reduce risks and provide balanced and complete nutrition), one of the biggest reasons we performed this study was to connect with the folks who know their cats and dogs best, so we can work together to optimize their care.
As always, our sincere thanks to the dedicated pet-owners who voluntarily provided information to help us understand client choices for pets and identify areas where we can communicate and educate in order to work as a TEAM in optimizing pet health.