The CVMA discourages the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens because of the rick of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans. Cooking or pasteurization through the application of heat until the protein reaches an internal temperature adequate to destroy pathogenic organisms has been the traditional method used to eliminate pathogens in animal-source protein, although the CVMA recognizes that newer technologies and other methods such as irradiation are constantly being developed and implemented.
Animal-source proteins of concern include beef, pork, poultry, fish, and other meat from domesticated or wild animals as well as milk* and eggs. Several studies1-6 reported in peer-reviewed scientific journals have demonstrated that raw or undercooked animal-source protein may be contaminated with a variety of pathogenic organisms, including Salmonella spp, Campylobacter spp, Clostridium spp, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and enterotoxigenic Staphyloccoccus aureus. Cats and dogs may develop food borne illness after being fed animal-source protein contaminated with these organisms if adequate steps are not taken to eliminate pathogens; secondary transmission of these pathogens to humans (eg, pet owners) has also been reported.1-4 Cats and dogs can develop subclinical infections with these organisms but still pose a risk to livestock, other non-human animals, and humans, especially children, older persons, and immune compromised individuals.
To mitigate public health risks associated with feeding inadequately treated animal-source protein to cats and dogs, the CVMA recommends the following:
*The recommendation not to feed unpasteurized milk to animals does not preclude the feeding of unpasteurized same-species milk to un-weaned juvenile animals.