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fed raw whole chicken, but the clinical consequence of differences in the feline intestinal microbiota is still unknown6.
Raw food diets naturally cover the pets nutrient needs and are safe
Comparing nutrient content in 95 bone and raw food rations for adult dogs with recommended allowances, 60% had one or more nutritional imbalance. These imbalances included low calcium and vitamin D content, low iodine, copper, zink and/or vitamin A content and some included excess calcium7. Further there are published case reports on malnutrition and growth disturbances in puppies fed BARF diets8 as well as development of nutritional thyrotoxicosis following consumption of all-meat commercial dog food containing remnants of thyroid tissue9.
Raw food feeding significantly increases the risk of
the pet harbouring zoonotic infectious agents such as Salmonella sp. and Campylobacter jejuni1,10. Often pets are asymptomatic carriers but there are reports on fatal salmonellosis in cats related to infected raw food and there are indications that human clinical salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis are sometimes linked to pets and feeding them contaminated food.
Raw food feeding is primarily marketed through claims that are still unproven. It is possible to feed a balanced diet to the pet based on raw food, but often diets based on homemade receipts are nutritionally unbalanced. Furthermore feeding raw meat increases the risk of pathogenic bacterial contamination and there are currently no evidence supporting the superiority of feeding the meat raw compared with cooking or frying it before serving.
1. Freeman LM, Chandler ML, Hamper BA & Weeth LP. Current knowledge about the risks and benefits of raw meat-based diets for dogs and cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2013;11:1549-1558
2. Axelsson E, Ratnakumar A, ArendtM-L, Maqbool K, Webster MT, Perloski
M, Liberg O, Arnemo JM, Hedhammar Å & Lindblad-Toh K. The genomic signature of dog domestication reveals adaptation to a starch-rich diet. Nature 2013;495:360-364
3. Singh S, Gamlath S & Wakeling L. Nutritional aspects of food extrusion: a review. Int J Food Sci Technol 2007; 42:916-929
4. Hendriks WH, Emmens MM Trass B & Pluske JR. Heat processing changes the protein quality of canned cat foods as measured by a rat bioassay. J Anim Sci 1999;77-669-676
5. Tran QD, Hendriks WH & van der Poel AFB. Effects of extrusion processing on nutrients in dry pet food. J Sci Food Agric 2008;88:1487-1493
6. Kerr KR, Dowd SE & Swanson KS. Faecal microbiota of domestic cats fed raw whole chicken v. an extruded chicken-based diet. J Nutr Sci 2014;3,e22
7. Dillitzer N, Becker N, Kienzle E. Intake of minerals, trace elements and vitamins in bone and raw food rations in adult dogs. Br J Nutr 2011;106:S53-S56
8. Mack JK & Kienzle E. Inadequate nutrient supply in “BARF” feeding plans for a litter of bernese mountain dog-puppies. A case report. Tierärztl Prax 2016;44:341-347
9. Broome MR, Peterson ME, Kemppainen RJ, Parker VJ & Richter KP. Exogenous thyrotoxicosis in dogs attributable to consumption of all-meat commercial dog food or treats containing excessive thyroid hormone: 14 cases (2008-2013). J Am Vet Med Assoc 2015;246:105-111
10. Shlesinger DP & Joffe DJ. Raw food diets in companion animals: A critical review. Can Vet J 2011;52:50-54
An Urban Experience

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