Feline Study Proves Link Between Raw Diets, Salmonella

Two cats from the same household died of Salmonella gastroenteritis and septicemia, infections contracted from raw-meat-based diets, according to a study published in the November/December issue of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association.

The study, conducted by University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine researchers, is the first to prove a link between raw-meat-based diets and the potentially fatal Salmonella infection in domestic cats.

Raw-meat-based diets have become increasingly popular among pet owners who believe the diets will improve the health of their pets, despite the “growing body of information showing that these diets pose a health risk not only for the pets that consume them but also to their owners,” said Link Welborn, DVM, AAHA president.

The two cats, one 14-years-old and the other 10-weeks-old, were seen by staff members at the Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine nine months apart. The older, male cat died from the Salmonella infection while the kitten, another male shorthair exotic cat, was euthanized at the owner’s request. The kitten had received one feline panleukopenia vaccination.

“Cats fed raw beef contaminated with Salmonella are at risk for development of Salmonellosis and may constitute a zoonotic disease risk due to shedding of infectious organisms,” according to the study, titled “Septicemic Salmonellosis in Two Cats Fed a Raw-Meat Diet.”

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