American Veterinary Medical Association Policy Discourages a Raw Food DietPublished July 25, 2012
The pending policy presented by the AVMA Council on Public Health and Veterinary Medicine is designed to "discourage the feeding to dogs and cats of animal source protein that has not first been subjected to eliminate pathogens because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans."
In response to the vociferation created by the announcement, on July 18, the AVMA issued the following statement which in part reads: “We’ve been seeing a lot of misinformation about the proposed AVMA policy on raw or undercooked animal-source protein diets for pets that will be discussed and voted on at the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) meeting in San Diego in August, so we feel the need to clear things up.
First of all, this proposed policy would be an AVMA policy if approved, not state or federal law. The AVMA cannot, and will not, regulate what pet owners choose to feed their pets. If you already feed raw food to your pet, that’s your choice. This proposed policy is about mitigating public health risks, not about restricting or banning any products.”
While feeding raw diets to pets remains highly controversial by practitioners, proponents of raw animal-protein diets claim that if the food is prepared safely and hygienically, pets fed an ideal raw diet have fewer health issues, medical conditions have been radically improved with lives saved using prudent care. On the other hand, many veterinarians claim the risk of bacterial contamination found in raw meat such as salmonella and Campylobacter outweigh the benefits to pets.
This said, in the highly informative article, The "Dangers" of a Raw Diet, by Jean Hofve, DVM, holistic veterinarian and expert in the field of animal nutrition, Hofve delineates some of the pitfalls of feeding a raw food diet. Her concern in feeding a raw diet to cats and dogs is two-pronged; bacterial contamination and whether the diet is sufficiently sound from a nutritional perspective.
But if prepared judiciously, a raw food diet offers extraordinary health benefits for our furry companions. Dr. Hofve writes, “To provide a homemade diet correctly takes a real commitment on the part of the guardian. It’s a bit more complicated, and bit more expensive, especially for large dogs. However, in the long run you’ll be rewarded with a happier, healthier pet, and fewer vet bills!”
In this writer’s opinion, since many pet guardians often consider the AVMA’s policies to be guiding principles, without further research on the benefits of feeding pets a well-rounded raw food diet, it would be indeed a shame to throw the baby out with the bathwater if the vote on the proposed policy on raw or undercooked animal-protein source diets for pets is passed.
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