Trichinosis Prevention in Dogs, Cats – Domestic and Wild Game Diet, no need to fear the Raw Diet
Trichinosis prevention in dogs, cats – domestic and wild game diet is a simple matter of understanding which meat to use, avoid, and best preparation methods for incorporating into a raw diet or gently cooked diet.
Trichinosis – What Is It?
Trichinosis is a disease found in wild carnivores, wild omnivores, wild and domestic herbivores, and domestic pigs.
Trichinosis is a food-borne infection that may be transmitted by consuming raw or under cooked meat from animals that are infected with Trichinella – a nematode intestinal roundworm commonly found in wild animals. When the flesh of an infected animal contains live trichinella larvae that embed in cysts, the cysts can pass through your dog’s, cat’s intestinal tract to invade other tissues, such as your dog’s, cat’s muscle tissue. The nematodes can cause damage to the tissue, resulting in minor and major symptoms of trichinosis. If only a few cysts are consumed, infection may not occur. The likelihood of infection, and severity of infection increases with the number of trichinosis cysts consumed. Your dog or cat cannot infect you with trichinosis.
Trichinella may be present in domestic pigs, domestic horses, wild animals (wild ‘game’) such as brown and black bear, boar, other wild carnivores, omnivores including small rodents, herbivores such as deer, small rodents, and wild fowl, and marine animals such as polar bears, seals, walruses.
How to Avoid Trichinosis via Trichinella Infection When Feeding Your Dog, Cat Raw Meat
Domestic pigs can carry the trichinosis infection, however the cysts can be killed by freezing pork in cuts of 6” (15.24 cm) thick, or less for 20 days, at 5 F, -15 C. If you are purchasing pork from a grocery store, butcher or local farmer you can ask them if this freezing process was done.
This same freezing technique is NOT reliable for wild game meats as the trichinella present in wild game tend to be cold-hardy. The NCBI provides a chart reporting the resistance of trichinella cysts to freezing – you can view that chart here.
If you are going to be feeding your dog or cat raw, wild game meat (from wild carnivores, omnivores or herbivores), make sure you are sourcing the wild game from a reputable supplier, or area known to have a low rate of trichinella.
How to Avoid Trichinella in Cooked Meat
Make sure you cook wild game meats, and pork as per the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. Microwaving, or smoking meat will NOT kill the cysts that cause trichinosis infection.