Am Veterinary Med Assn ruling against Raw Pet Foods

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Re: Am Veterinary Med Assn ruling against Raw Pet Foods

Postby Timas Mom » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:00 pm

Misskiwi67 wrote:
Timas Mom wrote:While it is possible for pets to get salmonella from raw food, in all the years I have been feeding and selling raw I dont know of a single client who's pet got sick.

Probably because you are not a vet, so you don't get to determine what is real or not, everything is hearsay. I have 5 or 10 raw feeding clients, and I've seen 2 illnesses related to raw diets.

I've met half a dozen pets affected by the melamine recall, but I have hundreds (thousands?) of clients eating kibble. Luckily the blue buffalo vitamin D recall and the recent salmonella recall did not affect our area.

You also probably hear people who SAY their pet was poisoned, but they weren't. Any dog who got a stomach upset during the melamine recall was "poisoned" according to their owners, but melamine caused renal failure. Granted, the melamine recall was horrific and did kill hundreds of animals, but many more people made claims than were actually affected.

Actually untill recently I worked in vet offices. For over 6 years. So not all of us can be vets, but I was the one filling rx's, doing the home care instructions etc.....and the pets that were affected by recalls were CLIENTS OF THE CLINICS I WORKED IN!!!
Give me a break

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Re: Am Veterinary Med Assn ruling against Raw Pet Foods

Postby Timas Mom » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:39 pm

One of the Veterinary diet recall I witnessed serious health injuries during my stay in clinics....the awesome scientifically proven uber expensive pet food recommended by vets, and you know it great cause vets know it all!

February 2006. In an earlier recall unrelated to the 2007 melamine contamination recall, ROYAL CANIN USA recalled three of its Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine canned dog foods following 24 reported cases of hypercalcemia in Canada and eight cases in the United States from November 2005 through February 2006. Left untreated, hypercalcemia (excessive amounts of calcium levels in the blood) can lead to bone defects, cardiac changes (including abnormal heart rhythm, or arrhythmia), kidney hypertension and possible renal failure, and, at especially high levels, death.

The three affected Royal Canin Vet Diet formulas were:

Waltham Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Urinary SO
Waltham Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Calorie Control
Waltham Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Low Fat

2 clients cats were severely affected...and unrelated to the melamine recall

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Re: Am Veterinary Med Assn ruling against Raw Pet Foods

Postby snikles » Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:17 pm

El_EmDubya wrote:I don't know...maybe a little bacteria is good for you?

One of the many things that stuck from my nutrition course at UCSD was when the professor said "Please, please people let your kids eat dirt." We all laughed, but it has proved true when I look at my friends' children (and pets). Those that worry about germs are the unhealthiest, despite fighting a good fight with Lysol and bleach.

When I was working in Siberia, I purposely ate fermented foods as I was told that Americans immunities were so compromised by our focus on sanitation. I was living with the head of pediatrics at a large hospital while working for USAID and learned a lot about how Russian medicine differs from that practiced in the US. I guess when you have no budget for technology, you learn other means to make people well. Anyway, I credit her advice with keeping me healthy, and very productive, despite being exposed to many new germs.

Ever heard of "High Meat"?

Americans are so compromised by poor nutrition (anything that comes in packaging and or feedlots, IMHO) and a lack of probiotics to fight off the bad bugs. Maybe if we stopped using hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps, massive antibiotics for minor issues, and we went outside an got a tan (Vit D is an immunity booster), this wouldn't be an issue.

There is something to be said about letting nature work the way it should.

There are some bacterium that are good for you and necessary. There are some that are not so bad and exposure to them could help your immune system in the future. But please do not expose a young child to salmonella in order to stimulate their immune system or whatever. Salmonella can be deadly to young children, old people, and people with otherwise compromised immune systems.

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Re: Am Veterinary Med Assn ruling against Raw Pet Foods

Postby El_EmDubya » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:04 pm

snikles wrote:There are some bacterium that are good for you and necessary. There are some that are not so bad and exposure to them could help your immune system in the future. But please do not expose a young child to salmonella in order to stimulate their immune system or whatever. Salmonella can be deadly to young children, old people, and people with otherwise compromised immune systems.

LOL roflmao
REALLY? Do you REALLY think that's what I'm suggesting?

Please re-read this thread. My comments were only that the AVMA was over reacting to the unlikely event that a raw fed dog would transmit something to someone with an already weakened immune system. Plus, this strategy discourages (average) vets from adding to their toolbox and preventing many long-term health issues.

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Re: Am Veterinary Med Assn ruling against Raw Pet Foods

Postby Misskiwi67 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:43 pm

Timas Mom wrote:One of the Veterinary diet recall I witnessed serious health injuries during my stay in clinics....the awesome scientifically proven uber expensive pet food recommended by vets, and you know it great cause vets know it all!

We both have very different experiences to base our recommendations on. You are just as much a know-it-all as I am, so lets call the personal stuff equal and move back to a reasonable discussion.

When studies and personal experience show me that raw diets are safer (nothing is safe, raw diets are NOT safer), easier, and more nutritious (current studies show NONE of the published online diets meet published nutritional minimums/maximums), then there will be a shift in recommendations. Right now, none of these things are true, so raw diets are only recommended in rare cases, to those who have the time, energy and common sense (HUGELY lacking in current society) to make up for the general concerns with home-prepared diets.

People still have trouble figuring out how their dog got pregnant, you really think these same people can manage a raw diet? These people should be STRONGLY discouraged from feeding a raw diet. This recommendation is for the society members who are surprised when they get burned by hot coffee, cannot figure out that electric appliances should not be used around water, and that children should not be left unsupervised in kiddie pools.

AGAIN, these recommendations are guidelines for the general public, and do not do ANYTHING to prevent anyone from feeding a raw diet.

If you think the recommendation should be different, then I recommend you contact the AVMA in a reasonable and professional manner. I've already brought the concern about safe handling of dry diets to their attention via the vet forum for you, and there is a reasonable discussion ongoing there. The comments that have been left on the website are so outrageous that it has pretty much eliminated anyone wanting to have anything to do with public input in that arena.

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Re: Am Veterinary Med Assn ruling against Raw Pet Foods

Postby PBF lurker » Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:29 pm

A review of the AVMA's proposed policy against raw food on the ... t-raw-food

Regarding the AVMA Policy on Raw or Undercooked Animal-Source Protein in Cat and Dog Diets (by James K. Russell, Ph. D.)

The executive board of the American Veterinary Medical Association has recently proposed a policy statement on the provision of raw and undercooked diets to cats and dogs. Publication of the policy is pending general approval by the association.

The policy is generally sensible, but risks being misconstrued. Further, while it cites a number of scientific studies, they are of mixed quality and none fully settle the principal concern addressed by the policy—the safety regarding raw meat ingredients for consumption in companion animals and for food handlers (typically their owners). In response to public concern, the association explains that it is not in a position to effect a ban, not having any governmental authority. Nonetheless, policies of non-profit professional societies can be highly influential. In the medical community, it is understood that this influence is consequential, and expected that the process behind policy development be transparent. It cannot be ignored that the prepared dog food industry, with over $10 billion in annual revenues[i], has a stake in policies potentially affecting the prevalence of alternative diets. It does not seem too much to ask that any potential conflict of interest on the part of the authors with respect to the industry should be disclosed.

Here is the policy, in short:

- Never feed inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs
- Restrict cats' and dogs' access to carrion and animal carcasses (e.g. while hunting)
-Provide fresh, clean, nutritionally balanced and complete commercially prepared or home-cooked food to cats and dogs, and dispose of uneaten food at least daily
-Practice personal hygiene (e.g. handwashing) before and after feeding cats and dogs, providing treats, cleaning pet dishes, and disposing of uneaten food
Of course practicing good hygiene with our pets makes good sense, as does the provision of clean, nutritious food and the disposal of uneaten food. Access to carcasses is not a major issue for most pet owners. Given the topic of the policy, and its position, most attention will focus on the first statement:

"Never feed inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs".

Depending on how it is interpreted, this statement is at best unclear, and under a broad interpretation goes beyond the available evidence. Read most straightforwardly, it amounts to a recommendation to never feed raw meat and eggs to our carnivore pets. Such a recommendation is not well supported by the evidence. An alternative reading would permit raw meats and eggs that were "adequately treated". Whether adequate treatment is consistent with maintenance of food in a raw condition is unclear, and the policy does not speak to this point. Certainly, it is established human practice to carefully treat raw animal protein safely while retaining its rawness - this is true for instance of sushi, sashimi and steak tartare, not to mention salad. And, it is recognized that particular care is required when preparing raw foods for human consumption because of the heightened risk of bacterial contamination. Cooking is an easy and reliable method for protecting against bacterial contamination; however, it is not the only effective method.

Few of the studies cited in support of the policy include controls and several are little more than anecdotal. Most of the studies advocate good hygienic practices when preparing raw meat meals, as do statements from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A representative list of optimal hygienic measures would include[ii],[iii],[iv],[v],[vi]:

- use of only meats inspected (e.g. by USDA) and found suitable for human consumption
- hand washing after handling raw foods
- regular washing or disinfection with a mild bleach solution of bowls, food preparation surfaces and implements
- avoidance of cross-contamination by use of separate preparation surfaces for separate ingredients
- proper storage of raw ingredients in the refrigerator or, for extended periods, the freezer
- disposal of unconsumed meal portions
-avoidance of exposure of young children, the elderly or the ill to raw food ingredients

Unfortunately, not one of the studies cited in support of the policy has included any steps to ensure these good practices are maintained in the study participants. Food sources are characterized only to the level of species (beef, chicken, turkey, ...), if at all. Inspection status regarding fitness for human consumption is not stated in a single study. Descriptions of methods are restricted to the methods of handling for fecal samples with no mention of food preparation methods or hygienic measures in homes or manufacturing facilities. Furthermore, no study cited in support of the AVMA policy included any control samples from commercially available meals prepared by standard methods (cooking, extrusion). Even the authors of the most extensive and methodologically sound of these studies[ii] acknowledged, "There is currently inadequate information regarding the safety of raw diets in terms of both animal and human disease." One study[vii] cited in support of the recently stated policy of Pet Partners to preclude animals fed raw diets from participation in animal therapy programs that involve hospital visitation did include limited canned and extruded products as controls. The finding suggested higher incidence of bacterial contamination in commercially available raw diets than in these more standard commercially available diets, but notably contamination was found in diets of all types. While it was one of the most rigorous studies in this area, it was not sufficiently powered statistically to prove this point to a scientific standard. As the authors noted in the study, "a limited number of samples of the dry and canned diets were included as controls, and this did not allow for statistical analyses or comparisons. Further investigation is warranted to make quantitative comparisons of the degree of bacterial contamination among those types of commercial diets." The broad finding of contamination in all diets reflect, in part the coarseness of the methods for detecting bacteria. In practice, the bacteria of greatest concern for human health are Escherichia coli O157:H7, one of hundreds of variants of E. coli, and a handful of serovars of Salmonella enterica enterica, out of thousands of serovars. This study and others have tested only for the presence or absence of E. coli-like bacteria or Salmonella species—not for species specific variants that are risk factors for clinical disease. Salmonella is an important but particularly common bacterial food contaminant, the basis for recent recalls of commercial dog food[viii], as well as of eggs, spinach and alfalfa sprouts, among other human foods. Because they are relevant human pathogens, several of the studies cited by the AVMA and Pet Partners policies also tested for Camplylobacter spp., Clostridium spp. and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)ii,[ix]. No relationship of any of these specifically pathogenic varieties of species and the use of raw food diets was found.

It is understandable that scientific research has yet to provide all the necessary answers for this somewhat contentious issue, which has emerged relatively recently. To be fair, scientific evidence for the benefits of raw food diets is limited as well, but it is important to recognize that this is the state of our understanding. Declarative policies should not close the door on practices without good evidence solely because they are relatively unfamiliar. It is not constructive to indiscriminately cite parades of bacteriological and parasiticological horrors to a public audience ill-prepared to evaluate them. For instance, one study cited in support of the AVMA policy described essentially every known pathogen of dogs, without any assessment of clinical or for that matter canine relevance.[x] Describing the risk of feeding everything from muskrat to walrus to pets is really more confusing than helpful, and discussion of anthrax, botulism and tuberculosis is little short of alarmist.

Good studies of practical raw meat diets representative of use by pet owners, prepared and presented with good, well-documented methods and including appropriate controls remain to be done. It is too early, on the basis of present evidence, to conclude that raw food diets properly handled are particularly risky, and to be fair it is too early to conclude that they are not. Good studies are called for.

There is legitimate basis for concern regarding bacterial contamination of raw meat and eggs. In the interim, it makes sense to practice good hygienic methods, use well-inspected ingredients, handle them carefully, and avoid contact of raw foods and food preparation materials by the very young, the very old and the ill. The evidence is not conclusive, but particular caution being warranted under the circumstances, the decision of Pet Partners to avoid raw diets in therapy animals working in hospitals seems sensible until more conclusive evidence is available.

Apart from the particular care due the infirm, it is reasonable to keep in mind that "no confirmed cases of human salmonellosis have been associated with these diets"[xi]

As for the AVMA policy, it is only reasonable if the first statement "Never feed inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs" is permissive of an interpretation that careful hygienic methods constitute adequate treatment. A blanket ban of raw food no matter how prepared and handled is unwarranted by the scientific evidence.

A recent review[xii] of the evidence surrounding raw food diets on the basis of standards of evidence conventionally used in medicine concluded: "Although there is a lack of large cohort studies to evaluate risk or benefit of raw meat diets fed to pets, there is enough evidence to compel veterinarians to discuss human health implications of these diets with owners." This is sensible advice. The evidence does not currently warrant a policy that may be interpreted as tantamount to a ban. All those interested in the safety and efficacy of raw food diets for pets should keep their minds open, and support the further research that will be required for better understanding of the risks and benefits of raw foods.

James K. Russell, Ph. D.[1]

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