7 On Your Side: The Raw Deal - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


7 On Your Side: The Raw Deal

Janine Adams is elbow-deep in ground meat, organic spinach, and chicken. But no, she's not making dinner for herself. It's for her pets!

"They eat it right up. They enjoy the crunching of the bones and the tearing apart of the food and they feel healthy, they feel good," says Janine after a round of feeding.

She is part of a breed of pet owners who swear uncooked meats and veggies keep their four-legged friends fit. Kate Solisti-Mattelon is the author of 'The Holistic Animal Handbook.' She says a growing number of pets are seeing the benefits.

"Everything from cleaner breath, teeth, the biggest thing is, is really the digestion. They're digesting, absorbing, and utilizing their food so much better," says Solisti-Mattelon.

But the American Animal Hospital Association says the raw rage is downright dangerous. "We have a lot of concerns for not only the pet in the family that might be eating raw foods, but the other family members or people that the animal might come in contact with," says Dr. Merri Crimi with the American Animal Hospital Association.

Concerns because raw meat is often laden with bacteria, that can be passed from pet to people. Veterinarian Dr. Doyle Starnes has practiced in Tyler for 35 years and agrees. "That's the other thing I worry about is there's certain disease problems when you're dealing with raw meat that you can get into.

Even if it's just salmonella out of chickens or something like that, that could cause some real gastric upsets in them as well as other diseases that could be passed on in raw meat," saus the Tyler veterinarian. Dr. Shane Stiver studied cats who died after eating raw meat. The cause of death was salmonella.

He warns the same germs can easily spread through everyday activities. "People petting or grooming these cats, stroking the animal, may be exposed. People who clean litter boxes or wash their cat's water or food bowls, or their dogs water and food bowls, are at risk of being exposed, " says Dr. Stiver with the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. Holistic vet Robert Silver sees the concern saying,

"There's always some degree of risk." He's been putting pets on raw food diets for years...including his own dog. "In 15 years of recommending raw meat homemade diets for their animals, I have not seen a single case of salmonellosis or ecoli in any of my patients," says Dr. Silver. As for good 'ole pet food, Dr. Starnes says you can never go wrong! "We treat a lot of cats and we have a lot of diabetic cats.. And I have been able to get a lot of these diabetic cats off insulin injections just strictly by regulating their food source... And giving them food that's low in carbohydrates."

Janine says she has no plans to go back to plain old dog food anytime soon, after seeing the health benefits to her pets.

Christine Nelson, KLTV 7 news. cnelson@kltv.com
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