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Therapy dogs and raw diets – a prudent mix?. Sandi Lefebvre, DVM University of Guelph. Formula. 1. Introduction to raw diets. 2. Review of the evidence. Review of the evidence. 3. Study of therapy dogs & raw. 4. Conclusions. Background. B – biologically A – appropriate

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therapy dogs and raw diets a prudent mix

Therapy dogs and raw diets – a prudent mix?

Sandi Lefebvre, DVM

University of Guelph

formula
Formula

1

Introduction to raw diets

2

Review of the evidence

Review of the evidence

3

Study of therapy dogs & raw

4

Conclusions

background
Background
  • B – biologically
  • A – appropriate
  • R – raw
  • F – food
evidence against barf
Evidence against BARF

Risks of food being contaminated

  • Nonspecific types of E. coli in up to 64% samples
  • Salmonella spp in 6 – 80%

(Joffe & Schlesinger 2002, Weese et al 2005, Strohmeyer et al 2006)

Risks of raw-eaters shedding Salmonella

  • 30-93% of stools from dogs fed non-commercial raw diets(Joffe & Schlesinger 2002, Morley et al 2006)
  • In feces of 44% research beagles that ate 1 contaminated commercial raw meal vs 0% fed1 uncontaminated meal (Finley et al 2007)

Risks of dogs transmitting Salmonella?

context for the present study
Context for the present study

Question: What are the incidence rates of specific pathogens in therapy dogs and do these rates vary by level of exposure to healthcare facilities?

  • Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA)
  • Extend-spectrum -lactamase (ESBL) E. coli
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE)
  • Salmonella spp

Found both in healthcare facilities & raw meat and poultry

slide6

Strategy: Follow dogs over 1 year, test every 2 months

  • Data on confounders:
  • Types of places visited
  • Consumption of raw animal foods
  • Consumption of natural pet treats
  • Antimicrobial exposure
  • Age
  • Breed
  • Drinking from toilets
  • Coprophagia
results

Total dogs:

196

  • Non-raw feeders (n=156)
  • 1 (0.6%) VRE
  • 8 (5.1%) MRSA
  • 40 (25.6%) C. diff
  • 12 (7.7%) Sal
  • 32 (20.1%) E. coli
Results
  • Raw feeders (n = 40)
  • 0 (0%) VRE
  • 1 (2.5%) MRSA
  • 5 (12.5%) C. diff
  • 19 (47.5%) Sal
  • 31 (77.5%) E. coli
results8

Total dogs:

196

  • Non-raw feeders (n=156)
  • 1 (0.6%) VRE
  • 8 (5.1%) MRSA
  • 40 (25.6%) C. diff
  • 12 (7.7%) Sal
  • 32 (20.1%) E. coli

OR ~ 1.0

Results
  • Raw feeders (n = 40)
  • 0 (0%) VRE
  • 1 (2.5%) MRSA
  • 5 (12.5%) C. diff
  • 19 (47.5%) Sal
  • 31 (77.5%) E. coli
results9

Total dogs:

196

  • Non-raw feeders (n=156)
  • 1 (0.6%) VRE
  • 8 (5.1%) MRSA
  • 40 (25.6%) C. diff
  • 12 (7.7%) Sal
  • 32 (20.1%) E. coli

OR 0.47, 95% CI 0.01-3.73

Results
  • Raw feeders (n = 40)
  • 0 (0%) VRE
  • 1 (2.5%) MRSA
  • 5 (12.5%) C. diff
  • 19 (47.5%) Sal
  • 31 (77.5%) E. coli
results10

Total dogs:

196

  • Non-raw feeders (n=156)
  • 1 (0.6%) VRE
  • 8 (5.1%) MRSA
  • 40 (25.6%) C. diff
  • 12 (7.7%) Sal
  • 32 (20.1%) E. coli
Results
  • Raw feeders (n = 40)
  • 0 (0%) VRE
  • 1 (2.5%) MRSA
  • 5 (12.5%) C. diff
  • 19 (47.5%) Sal
  • 31 (77.5%) E. coli

OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.12-1.17

results11

Total dogs:

196

  • Non-raw feeders (n=156)
  • 1 (0.6%) VRE
  • 8 (5.1%) MRSA
  • 40 (25.6%) C. diff
  • 12 (7.7%) Sal
  • 32 (20.1%) E. coli

OR 10.9, 95% CI 4.2-28.0

Results
  • Raw feeders (n = 40)
  • 0 (0%) VRE
  • 1 (2.5%) MRSA
  • 5 (12.5%) C. diff
  • 19 (47.5%) Sal
  • 31 (77.5%) E. coli
results12

Total dogs:

196

  • Non-raw feeders (n=156)
  • 1 (0.6%) VRE
  • 8 (5.1%) MRSA
  • 40 (25.6%) C. diff
  • 12 (7.7%) Sal
  • 32 (20.1%) E. coli
Results
  • Raw feeders (n = 40)
  • 0 (0%) VRE
  • 1 (2.5%) MRSA
  • 5 (12.5%) C. diff
  • 19 (47.5%) Sal
  • 31 (77.5%) E. coli

OR 13.3, 95% CI 5.4-34.6

specific to salmonella spp
Specific to Salmonella spp…

Raw feeders shed Salmonella spp for prolonged periods

  • 7 dogs tested positive twice in a row
  • 2 dogs tested positive 3x
  • 1 dog tested positive 4x

Important to note: the stools of all Salmonella+ dogs were normal

slide14

Raw diet

Non-raw diet

Identities of Salmonella serotypes (n=47)

(One of) most common Salmonella serotype in Canadians with lab-confirmed salmonellosis

Number of positive specimens

conclusion
Conclusion
  • Dogs that consume raw diets are considerably more likely to carry Salmonella than dogs that do not
  • These dogs also appear to be considerably more likely to carry ESBL E. coli
  • Just because dogs are shedding doesn’t mean people are going to get sick…
  • Therapy dogs that consume raw diets should be barred from interacting with people in healthcare settings
acknowledgments
Acknowledgments

Nicol Janecko and her crew at the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety

Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses

My committee: David Waltner-Toews

Scott Weese

Richard Reid-Smith

Andrew Peregrine