We're learning that serious consequences can result from a raw food diet.
A University of Melbourne study now reveals that raw chicken, particularly chicken necks, can cause a potentially fatal paralysis in dogs.
In fact, the consumption of raw chicken can increase the risk of developing acute polyradiculoneuritis (APN) in dogs by 70 percent. APN is colloquially known in the U.S. as Coonhound paralysis because campylobacter is carried by raccoon saliva, but most dogs do not acquire the disease from raccoons nowadays.
APN is similar to Guillain-Barré syndrome in humans. In a four-legged animal, the campylobacter bacteria (commonly found in uncooked chicken, raw meat, and raw and unpasteurized milk) attacks the spine and muscles, paralyzing nerves in the legs, back, neck and face. APN can be fatal if the chest is also paralyzed.
APN onset may progress over a 7 to 10 day period until a dog is bed-bound. He may require hospitalization, as oxygen treatment and/or tube feeding may be needed. APN may last up to six months or more and requires a major commitment to home care, including hand or tube feeding, frequently turning the dog from side to side, treating bed sores, voluntary movement exercise and, of course, a lot of love and encouragement.
APN may also recur.
In addition to finding the link between chicken wings and APN in dogs, The University of Melbourne's U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital's researchers found that:
“A significant association is also found between APN and smaller dog breeds. Based on our clinical experience this seems to be because smaller dogs are more likely to be fed smaller bones like chicken necks,” the doctors said in the research paper.
In conclusion, they wrote in their study:
“We would recommend that owners choose regular dog food rather than chicken necks until we know more about this debilitating condition.”
Note: Campylobacter can also be found in raw meat, as well as raw and unpasteurized milk. You should not feed anything raw! (Yes, this is my educated opinion.)