Since my post about Delta Society and raw diets, I’ve had multiple questions or comments about the research behind it.

Here’s one question:

"Please site the research that "clearly show…" that raw-fed animals shed bacteria at a higher rate."

Here’s the answer:

Lefebvre et al, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2009

  • Study following therapy dogs over the course of a year. Diet history was recorded. Raw-fed dogs were 17 times as likely to be shedding multidrug-resistant E. coli compared to non-raw-fed dogs, and more likely to be shedding Salmonella.

Leonard et al, Zoonoses and Public Health, 2010

  • Study of healthy dogs in households. Dogs fed a commercial or homemade raw diet were greater than 5 times as likely to be shedding Salmonella than other dogs.

Lefebvre et al, Zoonoses and Public Health, 2008

  • Study investigating therapy dogs in Ontario and Alberta. Raw-fed dogs were 23 times as likely to be shedding Salmonella and 17 times as likely to be shedding multidrug resistant E. coli.

Lenz et al, Canadian Veterinary Journal, 2009

  • Campylobacter jejuni was found in the feces on 2.6% of raw-fed dogs and Salmonella was found in 14% of raw-fed dogs. Neither was found in any dogs not fed raw meat.

That’s pretty clear to me.

  • Carolyn Borkowski

    Merely listing 4 or 5 studies does not a shut door case make. Please provide a link to the actual studies themselves AND the funding behind the studies. Anyone with half a brain knows that ANY argument can supposedly be made, given enough funding behind it.

  • Scott Weese

    Why is it that raw proponents like to criticize the peer-reviewed scientific literature yet have no evidence to back up their claims?

    Anyway, scrutiny of the literature is a good thing, and for one, I can tell you that none of those studies were funded by the pet food industry or any other commercial source. I can’t post the papers because of copyright rules, but anyone can see the details and abstracts via PubMed ( Some of these may be available free online, while others would have to be purchased.

  • Carlynn Ricks

    OK, so if we ban raw food-fed dogs, why don’t we also adopt all the other recommendations in the papers that Dianne Bell cited in her letter?
    – new mat or towel, etc. between patients for dogs visiting clients in beds
    -teams should be observed at least once in the HCF setting before final approval
    -annual vet eval
    -screening for MRSA, VRE, etc
    -a 90 (rather than the Delta-required 30) day period from the last raw feeding to the Delta visit

    Am I the only one who sees a connection between Delta’s newest sponsor, Purina, and this decision, which would affect not only Pet Partners but also every dog in the household? That’s potentially a lot of kibble.

  • K.B

    “Why is it that raw proponents like to criticize the peer-reviewed scientific literature yet have no evidence to back up their claims? ”

    Because there is no one funding studies to prove the safety and effectiveness of raw-fed diets? Because the focus of each of those studies you’ve cited was to find problems with raw-fed dogs? Because “raw-fed” is a collective name for a variety of diets, using meats from a variety of sources? Because, hey, it’s easier to ban raw-fed dogs than to figure out how to get the pathogens out of our food supply in the first place? (And before you say that’s impossible, explain why chicken eggs in Europe don’t need to be refrigerated).

    And there is another option to buying the papers – actually, two options. One – write to the author of the study and request a reprint (last paper I published, we still got reprints, even in this digital age). Two – head to your local university or college, and see if you can’t get it through their library.