August 16, 2018

Raw Chicken Necks are Linked to APN Paralysis in Dogs

According to a study conducted at the University of Melbourne, raw chicken necks have been linked to a potentially fatal form of paralysis. The illness is called acute polyradiculoneuritis (APN), which shares similarities with Guillain-Barre syndrome in humans. The bacteria in question is Campylobacter.

Dog Chicken Necks APN

Scientists studied 27 client-owned dogs suffering from suspected APN and 47 healthy dogs. The researchers collected fecal samples from each dog and performed direct culture, DNA extraction, and polymerase chain retain to look for Campylobacter.

The research revealed that dogs with APN were 9.4 times more likely to be positive for Campylobacter species compared to dogs in the control group. And a significant association was found between dogs affected by APN and the consumption of raw chicken. In 96% of APN cases, the dogs had been given raw chicken before they got sick. Twenty-six percent of dogs in the control group ate raw chicken.

APN is the most frequently identified acute generalized peripheral neuropathy in dogs around the world. Initial signs develop in the pelvic limbs, with a rapid progression to paralysis in all four legs. The bacteria deregulates the dog’s immune system, which attacks its own nerve roots.

Dr. Matthais le Chevoir, chief investigator on the project, said that the cause of APN has baffled veterinarians for a long time. He said in a statement, “It is a rare but very debilitating condition where the dog’s hind legs first become weak. It can then progress to affect the front legs, neck, head and face. Some dogs may die from the disease if their chest becomes paralysed.”

Most Campylobacter cases in people are associated with raw or undercooked poultry, as well as unpasteurized milk and contaminated water. Chickens are a natural reservoir of Campylobacter bacteria. The researchers are concerned about the growing trend of feeding dogs raw meat diets. And the study’s authors recommend that pet owners choose regular dog food instead of chicken necks.

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