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The Raw Meat Diet? by Stan Rawlinson

There are more fads and ideas when it comes to our pets than you can shake a stick at. A new idea, method, technique, study, comes along almost everyday.

One minute we are working on the pack theory and basing all out ideas and behavioural modifications on the Wolf, "dogs’ distant ancestor" and how it interacts with the rest of the pack. Then Copinger comes along and tells us that its not as simple as that - "Who ever said it was simple"?

After studying feral and village dogs he turned the Alpha theory on its head, stating it more a democracy than an autocracy. We have clicker training, natural diets, harnesses, haltis, training discs, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, operant conditioning, and collars that squirt noxious liquids. All supposedly to let us live in harmony with our pets.

Most are excellent, several are overused, some are batty and a few are downright dangerous, rarely are they fatal with the exception of the Raw Meat Diet.

In my practice I see lots of puppies, I also get to see the Breeder’s feeding recommendations and these follow fads like there is no tomorrow. However the recommendation to feed Raw Meat including chicken wings, beef, lamb pork and tripe is positively life threatening The additives, antibiotics, preservatives, and toxicity in raw meats are terrifying. We all know about Salmonella in chicken but who has heard of Neosporosis Caninum? Or Anthelmintics?

With regard to raw Tripe. Cattle are now routinely wormed with fairly potent concentration of Anthelmintics, usually Fenbendazol. This is administered via a Bolus which sits in the stomach and breaks down over selected periods of time into regulated doses.

I wonder what the concentration of the Anthelmintic in the "tripe" is if the animal is slaughtered shortly after a release of the dose from the bolus. I certainly feel that the concentration may be too much for small dogs and puppies to cope with.

Raw Chicken is another area of concern. The amount of antibiotics pumped into them could surely have a culminative affect when fed to dogs over a period of time. Possibly creating a situation whereby our pets become immune to the antibiotics from our vets, resulting in enormous problems in post operative or even preoperative treatments.

I have recently seen a rise in the recommendation to feed both puppies and adult dogs on human grade lean raw mince. The thinking is that if it is good enough for human consumption then it is good enough for dogs. Neosporosis Caninum, a parasite that affects the brain and then works its way through the spinal cord, muscles and major organs is a fairly recent discovery, up until 1988 it was misdiagnosed as Toxoplasma gondii.

It is almost always fatal and if your pet survives it will leave it blind, brain damaged, and paralysed. A recent case resulted from feeding some fresh raw mince bought from a leading UK supermarket. The owner, an experienced dog breeder, watched Billy, a 16 months old pedigree Boxer, deteriorate from a happy and healthy family pet to a disoriented, blind and paralysed wreck in just one week.

Dogs Trust vet director said: "It’s a pretty horrible parasite. The simple way to avoid it is to cook the meat – never feed it to your animals raw. Most people do not realise that it is extremely dangerous, you must always cook the meat you or your animals eat."

The Boxer’s owner is now determined to get the law on food labelling changed – and has already spoken to her MP. She said: "I really think it is something that needs to be addressed. There needs to be something obvious to warn people not to feed raw meat to their pets, to prevent more tragedies like this. In reply a supermarket spokeswoman said: "Our meat is only meant for human consumption and should always be cooked. We label our products very clearly for humans.

We have done a lot of research into what it says on the label and we are happy that they say everything that is needed."
Tell that to Bill.

Apart from the life threatening elements of feeding raw meat there is also the behavioural element, overdosing on protein affects behaviour similar to constantly feeding oats to a horse then expecting a quiet and sedate ride.

My recommendation! Stick to a quality dry food not the latest fad and you can’t go far wrong.