Raw chicken and paralysis – fact or myth?

A recent study researched by veterinarians at the University of Melbourne has found that the consumption of raw chicken meat increases the risk of dogs developing a paralysing condition called acute polyradiculoneuritis (APN). Read the article on the Melbourne Uni website…

The study found that the bacterial results in the affected and control dog populations were consistent with the hypothesis that the uncooked chicken meat was the source of Campylobacter and as a result, triggered APN.

Campylobacteriosis is a common gastrointestinal disease in people and dogs caused by bacteria called Campylobacter. In people in Australia, Campylobacter is one of the most common causes of bacterial gastroenteritis and is frequently associated with eating contaminated poultry.

Freezing inactivates the bacteria but doesn’t kill it, just renders it inactive while frozen. When thawed it will still harbour the same harmful bacteria. Freezing for long times at cold temperatures has been shown to reduce the campylobacter by up to 90%.

Cooking the meat to the recommended temperature is the only way to ensure that the meat is free from bacteria.

In the article published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine in Jan 2018, the author declared that there is no conflict of interest. In other words pet food companies have not sponsored this study. The Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine is the official publication of the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

The article doesn’t say is that feeding raw chicken necks to dogs will cause paralysis in every case. All the article really says is that there has been a link demonstrated between raw feeding of chicken to dogs, and the development of APN.

Based on that results the authors recommend owners choose regular dog food rather than chicken necks until we know more about this debilitating condition.

Feeding of raw food to dogs is OK but owners should be aware of the link between raw chicken and paralysis.

2018-08-24T03:14:21+00:00

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