Pork – Not So Scary When I was young it was drilled into my head that you never ever ever eat pork even slightly rare – if you did than the trichinosis worms would get you! I’m sure than many of you were told the same thing – it became part of the common knowledge – raw pork is bad. Unfortunately, that thought process carries on today with raw feeders everywhere. Many do feed pork but I can’t tell you how often experienced raw feeders will balk at feeding raw pork and will tell me Pork isn’t what it used to be – its better and safer than ever before! “absolutely NOT”! Who’s right? Is it dangerous? There are actually two concerns where pork is concerned. Most people concentrate on trichinosis because its the one they have heard of, the one that they remember. The other is pseudorabies and while many people aren’t aware of it, we will deal with that one next. Trichinosis used to be a problem in the US. Caused by a worm that encysts in the muscle meat of pork, it is transferred by ingesting infected meat. Thankfully, through an eradication program, it has ceased to be a danger to humans OR other animals. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that cases of human trichinellosis have declined to below 25 annually over the past several years. Only a few of these cases have been traced and associated with consumption of pork. A USDA, National Animal Health Monitoring System national swine survey conducted in 1995 reported the infection rate in United States swine to be 0.013%. Modern swine management systems have virtually eliminated trichinae as a problem in domestic pigs.” (www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/trichinae/) Further, freezing, as well as cooking, kills the parasite. While we, as raw feeders, aren’t exactly going to cook for our dogs, freezing is typical and normal operating procedure for most of us. At A Place For Paws, all of our products are frozen prior to sale and our freezer is set at 10 degrees below zero. According to the USDA, trichinae were killed instantly at -10 degrees F (-23.3 C). Pseudorabies isn’t as well known as trichinosis. This is perhaps because it does not affect humans. It does, though, affect dogs and cats. Fortunately, like trichinosis, pseudorabies is something that we really don’t have to worry about. According to the USDA, “Currently, all 50 States are considered free of PRV in commercial production swine herds. Commercial swine herds are defined as those herds which have adequate measures in place to prevent contact and potential infection from feral and transitional production swine which are known potential carriers of the PRV virus.” Further, “No commercial production herds have been found to be infected with PRV since early 2003. Sporadic infections have been found in transitional production herds, those swine which are captured feral swine, or have the potential to come in contact with feral swine. Any infected transitional herds have been promptly depopulated when Our Pork mix is a great source of variety for your dog (or cat) and is a great food for your animal who suffers from kidney issues found, and intense epidemiological investigations have been conducted to ascertain that no viral spread to commercial production swine has occurred.” (www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_dis_spec/swine/) It is unclear as to whether freezing can or will kill the pseudorabies virus, but the chance that your dog or cat will contract the disease if you are feeding commercially raised domesticated pork from the United States is nearly non-existent. So essentially the old thoughts on pork simply no longer fit in this world. Such drastic measures have been taken over the years as to virtually eradicate such problems from our commercial hog population. The benefits of pork outweigh the minute chance that it could harm our pets. Its a great lean meat to feed and helps to add much needed highly available variety to the diets of many dogs and cats. We market a special Pork blend that is a superb protein for dogs with kidney issues as it has Eggshellent Calcium rather than bone and is low in high phosphorus organ meats. So while our distant memories may tell us that undercooked and raw pork is bad bad and bad, its important that we take that educated leap into the future and realize that pork isn’t what it used to be – its better, safer, cleaner and a perfect food to feed to our pets.