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TB in Raw Food

Tuberculosis found in 13 cats fed raw food.

You may see in the press this week about cases of cat Tuberculosis that may be linked to feeding raw food. We have not seen any cases but the following information has been released regarding the problem.

The issue came to light when six cats were taken to separate vet practices across England with clinical signs of TB.

Some 13 cats from across the UK are thought to have been affected so far. Experts stress that

the risk to people is very low, however.

Tests confirmed the animals were infected with bacteria that usually cause TB in cattle, called

Mycobacterium bovis. This bacteria can also infect other animals including rodents and deer.

An additional seven cats living in the same households were also found to be infected but did

not have symptoms of disease.

All of the affected animals were exclusively indoor pets and had no contact with any wildlife

that could have passed on the disease.

Vets at the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies carried out

an investigation to identify the source of infection.

They found the only common factor was that they had all eaten the Wild Venison variety of a

commercial brand of pet food, called Natural Instinct.

The team did not test food samples so they cannot confirm that it was the source of the


The company voluntarily recalled the product in December 2018 and has advised people who

may still have stocks to return unused items for a full refund.

Symptoms of TB in cats include swollen belly, persistent cough and enlarged lymph nodes.

There have been rare cases of people catching TB from their cats, though experts say the risk

is very low. 

Professor Danièlle Gunn-Moore, of the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of

Veterinary Studies, said: “We found circumstantial evidence that these cases of TB in cats

were linked to a particular brand of raw food diet. Not all animals that are infected with the

bacteria will develop disease but we would encourage owners with concerns about their pets

to get them checked by their local vet.”

A spokesperson from Natural Instinct said: “Everything we do at Natural Instinct is done so

with the best interests of our customers and their pets in mind. We can assure our customers

that Natural Instinct followed, and continues to follow, every food standard, hygiene

regulation and best practice required to produce raw pet food in the commercial marketplace.

“As a responsible manufacturer, we are regularly inspected by the Animal and Plant Health

Authority (APHA). We have complied with all of the necessary requirements, and

consequently APHA have confirmed they are satisfied all standards have been met by us.

“Even though we no longer manufacture and sell the Venison cat product, we are continuing

to work with Food Standards Agency as part of the investigation into the Venison

About the author

Fenton Vets

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