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Eating raw chicken linked to potentially fatal dog paralysis — study

/ 07:35 PM February 06, 2018
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Pet lovers know that their animal friends have special diets, and have a list of food such as chocolate to keep away from their hungry dogs.

However, chicken necks, a treat usually given to small dogs because of the soft meat and smaller bones, are now being tagged as potentially dangerous for pooches.

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Researchers from the University of Melbourne U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital discovered that raw chicken, especially chicken necks, increases the risk of acute polyradiculoneuritis (APN) by more than 70 times. 

APN affects the dog’s nervous system and can cause nerve damage. “It is a rare but very debilitating condition where the dog’s hind legs first become weak and then may progress to affect the front legs, neck, head and face,” said Dr. Matthias le Chevoir, chief investigator of the study.

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“Most dogs eventually recover without treatment but it may take up to six months or more in some cases,” he said, mentioning that paralysis in the chest can cause dogs to die.

The cause behind the disorder has been unknown until the university’s scientists found the link after studying 27 dogs with symptoms of APN and 47 dogs with none.

They centered on raw chicken meat consumption after some researchers in the team observed that dogs in other countries were not on a raw meat diet.

According to lead author Dr. Lorena Martinez-Anton, the team examined the dogs’ fecal matter seven days since symptoms of APN appeared.

Those with APN were 9.4 times more likely to have had a Campylobacter infection than the control group. There was also an association between the disease and smaller dogs since they are more likely to be given chicken necks.

The bacteria is found in “undercooked chicken, unpasteurized milk and contaminated water.” It also triggers Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in humans, an autoimmune disorder that attacks nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and eventually paralysis.

“We would recommend that owners choose regular dog food rather than chicken necks until we know more about this debilitating condition.” JB

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TOPICS: acute polyradiculoneuritis, Disease, dogs, paralysis, raw chicken
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