Presence of Shiga toxin-producing pathogens in raw pet foods ‘may currently be underestimated’

Zurich, Switzerland – After collecting samples from various complete and balanced diets of raw meat-based pet foods produced in Switzerland and Germany, a group of Swiss researchers have found genes that produce Shiga toxin. coli bacteria (STEC) in more than half of the products tested, which can cause many adverse health symptoms to humans.

The study was conducted by Andrea Trier, Roger Stefan, Mark J.A. Stevens, Nicole Cernella, and Magdalena Noesch-Enderbeinen (Trier et al.). An article summarizing the study was published in the 2021 issue of Microorganisms To raise awareness of the health and safety risks associated with feeding raw pet food.

STEC is a zoonotic bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhea, hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) in humans, the last of which can be life-threatening, according to the report.

While STEC-related diseases appear to be rare in pets, the article stated that dogs and cats can act as carriers of pathogens and pet owners can be exposed either during feeding, handling, or interactions with pet or pet waste.

In the study, researchers collected 59 raw meat-based diets from 10 manufacturers across Switzerland and Germany between September 2018 and May 2020. The diets contained either lean muscle or pure organic meat, mixed muscle and organic meat, or meat supplemented with plant-based ingredients. The proteins included beef (represented in 17 samples), poultry (15), horse (8), lamb (6), rabbit (4), venison (4) and fish (5).

Of the 59 samples collected, 59% (35 products) tested positive for the presence of Shiga toxin genes. stx1 Wow stx2, according to the report. This was found by real-time PCR testing. STECs representing 28 different strains were found in 41% of those 59 samples. Approximately 29% of those strains carried stx2a or stx2d The gene, “which is associated with STECs with high pathogenic potential,” the researchers wrote.

In addition to, stx Genes were found in diets based on raw meat collected from nine of the ten manufacturers included in the sample.

Twenty different serotypes have been identified, including STEC O26:H11, O91:H10, O91:H14, O145:H28, O146:H21, and O146:H28, which fall within the most common non-O157-associated human serogroups. STEC Diseases Worldwide,” Treier et al. mentioned in the article. “Given the low infective dose and potential severity of disease manifestations, the incidence of STEC in RMBDs [raw meat-based diets] It poses a significant health risk to people who handle raw pet food and to people in close contact with pets fed RMBDs, and is a public health concern.”

The study found that there was an “overall prevalence” of 41% for STEC contamination, much higher than that of raw pet meals manufactured in the US, which is 4% according to another study published in Pathogens and foodborne diseases in September 2014. The prevalence of STEC in Swiss and German pet foods in this study also exceeded the prevalence reported among raw meat dog foods produced in the UK, which is 14% according to an August 2017 report in Public Health England Publications.

“However, comparative data is still scarce, and the discrepancy between the results of different studies may be due to differences in testing methodologies,” Treier et al. mentioned in the article. “However, the current study provides evidence that the incidence of STEC in RMBDs may currently be underestimated.”

Read the full article: “High production of Shiga toxin Escherichia coli in a raw meat-based diet for pets”.

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