Feeding pets raw meat-based diets (RMBDs) is commonly practiced by many companion animal owners and has received increasing attention in recent years. It may be beneficial for the animals, but may also pose a health risk for both pets and their owners, as RMBDs may be contaminated by enteric pathogens-such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Yersinia-which are the most common zoonotic bacteria causing enteritis in humans. Little information exists on the prevalence of these pathogens in pet food, and thus one aim was to investigate the prevalence of Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Yersinia in commercial RMBDs from retail stores. Little evidence also exists on the significance of raw meat feeding on the shedding of Campylobacter, Salmonella, and enteropathogenic Yersinia in the feces of pets, and therefore, the second goal was to study the presence of these pathogens in dogs and cats fed RMBDs. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) only sporadically detected Campylobacter, Salmonella, and enteropathogenic Yersinia in RMBDs. These pathogens were not found by culturing, indicating a low contamination level in frozen RMBDs. They were also detected in the feces of dogs and cats, but the association with feeding RMBDs to them remained unclear.
Keywords: PCR; cats; dogs; raw food; zoonotic enteric pathogens.