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Old 01-10-2013, 03:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Info for those feeding raw (and for your vets)

First, some background. Last Sat. Jonah (age 3) became picky with his food and was sedate (he's normally heck on wheels so this was worrisome). He WAS still eating, though, so I watched him through the weekend. Sometimes he would eat a mouse or other raw food; sometimes not (then I would offer him some smelly canned food, which he sometimes ate and sometimes didn't). He got no better and no worse. On Mon. I took him in. He got bloodwork done, which was unremarkable other than an elevated CPK (from struggling and freaking out during the blood draw) and elevated neutrophils (suggesting an infection). His temp was also up slightly. It wasn't until the next day that I got the bloodwork results back and he was still no better and no worse.

My vet consulted an internal med specialist who suggested, when she heard that I feed raw mice, toxoplasmosis because "mice carry toxo." My vet communicated this to me. I felt this was unlikely, but agreed to the toxo test if the lab still had enough blood and went home to do research.

My research turned up the following:

(1) While WILD mice might transmit toxo, it’s very unlikely for domestic mice living in enclosed conditions like the purpose-bred mice I buy, to do so. Ettinger (Textbook of Vet. Int. Med) and the Cornell Book of Cats concur that felids are the only animals who transmit toxo oocysts in their feces. If another animal, such as mouse, sheep, bird, etc. ingests the oocysts, that animal will then become a carrier (usually asymptomatic). If a cat ingests an affected mouse, the cat can get toxo. But the mouse must first ingest the cat feces in order to become a carrier—very unlikely to happen in a closed colony situation such as the breeder from whom I buy.

So while the barn cats [my cats Conrad and Erik, who were barn cats until they moved inside in May] might have gotten toxo from wild mice and brought it in with them, the purpose-bred mice I feed are a very unlikely vector.


(2) Toxoplasmosis is pretty easily killed by freezing for little as 24 hours in a domestic freezer. Commercial freezers used by the raw feeder suppliers are even colder. Commercial raw feeder suppliers freeze right away and the mice are shipped frozen.

http://www.ncagr.gov/vet/FactSheets/Toxoplasmosis.htm

I really wasn't surprised when my vet, whom I otherwise love, jumped immediately to blaming raw feeding (b/c vets love to do that), but I also wasn't completely prepared. So I wanted to provide this info to you guys in case it's ever needed. Vets really know next to nothing on this topic, but as we know, that doesn't stop them from opining on it. The key is gentle education--I sent the info above to my vet and it was well-received.


The GREAT news is that it's almost certainly not toxo, and Jonah now seems fine. By yesterday evening he had a normal temp, was happy and active, was eating normally, and was scratching his post, grooming, and being a general PITA. So it was probably a virus of some kind that I brought home with me (I'm a barefoot trimmer, so I'm in a lot of barns with a lot of cats). Whew! The little brat now has me HAPPY that he's obnoxious and annoying!

Last edited by marie73; 01-10-2013 at 09:58 PM. Reason: font
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yeah, vets tend to blame diet as a cause for a lot of ailments that have nothing to do with food. My vet blamed "bad meat" for Ritz' Gastroenteritis and prescribed antibiotics and anti-nausea meds. (I don't think it was bad meat of course; rather, perhaps a bug that didn't agree with her.)
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes--it's rare that a vet will blame commercial food for ANYTHING, when in fact it's can be the cause of obesity, diabetes, urinary tract disorders, etc. etc. in cats. But mention raw and they're all over it! I feel that this was actually a good "teachable moment," and hopefully it will show her that I am not a fool and that what I'm doing isn't insane.

Last edited by marie73; 01-10-2013 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My vets have never criticized the fact I feed a mix of feed and have never tried to persuade me to buy a commercial feed although they stock them. They know the mix includes raw - both with the cats and the dog - and don't give me any hassle at all. IN fact I normally get complimented on their condition.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I can only imagine what the army vet would tell me if I said I was feeding whole prey..... She jumped on me when I said I fed honest kitchen dehydrated raw and said I should be feeding Iams.... Hahahaha took everything I had not to laugh right in front of her.... But yet all she could talk about was how gorgeous and soft skeeters coat was.... Yea lady THAT would not come from a thing like IAMS.... vets here amaze me... I can't wait until I move to Cali at the end of the month... I found an all cat vet who promotes raw... I can't WAIT to get in there! it's called All About Cats Health and Wellness Center... Looks nice and defiantly nothing I've ever seen before... It will be nice to speak to someone who's went out of there way to further educate themselves


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Old 01-10-2013, 07:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I too get complimented on all my animal's body condition every time I bring them in. It's like all they see is fat pets. My vet even said, 'it's nice to see cats that aren't overweight for once' I thanked him and said 'yeah, we try'. Made me sad for the other cats. Thanks for the info
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Yes--my vet compliments my critters too and has never said anything to dissuade me from feeding raw. BUT the second something happened (Jonah's illness) that's where she went--even vets who are seemingly supportive of raw do this in my experience unless they are truly on the bandwagon (i.e., do not sell commercial food, recommend raw to clients, etc).
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My previous vet remarked how silky Ritz fur was, I said, yeah, thanks to raw. A few minutes later I asked him how Ritz' teeth looked (she had a dental cleaning by same vet about a year ago) and he said, great, perfect. I said, must be all that raw bone I'm feeding her. Proof is in the pudding [pee jello], so to speak. My current vet, the one who blamed bad meat for Ritz' latest episode of vomiting, also is knowledgeable enough about raw to note her pH and protein levels are high for Raw feeding. He has the greatest bedside manner with Ritz, which is why for now I'm not switching vets. There is a holistic vet about an hour from where I live who supports raw feeding. I may take Ritz to her to fine tune what I fed Ritz. Ritz continues to be hungry even though she is borderline overweight (11 pounds) and eats round 4.7 oz of meat (plus liver/kidney/bone).
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My cats are always complimented when I take them in; on the silkiness of the coat, their teeth, the brightness of the eyes, their temperament, and their overall conditioning. They always ask what do I feed them. My vet practice respects that I feed raw, but some of the vets are not so much on board. They don't actually say anything, but your can still tell. I know I am lucky the practice is not preachy and pretty supportive. Before I came to them, I went to a couple of other horrid vets. I wasn't even feeding raw then. I could just imagine what the reaction would've been.
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