Recent research done at the University of Melbourne, has confirmed a link between feeding dogs raw chicken meat, and a disease called polyradiculoneuritis, also known as APN. It is very similar to Guillain Barre Syndrome in humans, which is often triggered by the bacteria campylobacter, sometimes present in undercooked or raw chicken. Polyradiculoneuritis is a rare, but debilitating nerve disorder, that begins as hind limb weakness. It may progress to affect the front legs, chest and head. Recovery can be long, sometimes months, and difficult, with a lot of nursing required. Some dogs may die if their chest is paralysed.

Due to this information, we are recommending to all our clients not to feed any form of raw chicken, especially raw chicken necks. Cooked boneless chicken is okay.

We know that a substantial number of pet owners prefer to feed a raw diet and often use chicken. Some of our patients will only eat chicken, and a change would be difficult, but it is important to know the risks. If you feed raw chicken then there is always a chance of the bacteria being present. The risk of your dog developing APN is increased if

  1. You feed raw chicken every night
  2. The chicken you feed is not absolutely fresh and uncontaminated.
  3. The chicken you feed has not been stored in a deep freezer.

In the past we have suggested raw chicken as part of a bland diet when patients have gastrointestinal upsets, and raw chicken necks for small dogs to prevent dental disease. We will be recommending cooked chicken meat only, raw beef cut into cubes, and raw lamb or raw beef bones for dental health, from now on. Don’t feed chicken bones, and don’t feed cooked bones of any type.

If you have any questions regarding what to feed your dog, then please call us on 3284 5133.

The Team at Peninsula Veterinary Surgery.