Raw chicken and APN in dogs: what are the risks?

We have received many enquiries from our customers recently following up some research from Melbourne University regarding potential risks of feeding raw chicken to dogs.

Feeding raw chicken has been linked as a risk factor for the development of a very rare neurological condition in dogs called APN (acute polyradiculoneuritis).  This is a very rare condition where the nerves of dogs are affected, giving them a tick paralysis type of condition.  Whilst most dogs recover after stint in hospital, a small percentage die.

The cause of the condition is immune mediated, meaning caused by an over reaction of the immune system where by the dogs own immune system attacks the dogs own nerves. The trigger(s) of the condition are unknown. A similar condition in humans has been linked to, among other things, the bacteria campylobacter, which is commonly found in raw chicken.

The recent study conducted by University of Melbourne researchers looked to see if there was an association between APN and campylobacter in dogs, and found that there was. A high percentage of the dogs presenting with the paralysis were found to have the bacteria campylobacter in their faeces. The researchers also found that the dogs were more likely to have campylobacter in their faeces if they had been fed raw chicken. It is not yet known how the bacteria cause the effect or what other factors are involved. Not all exposed dogs are affected.

At Frontier Pets we take our commitment to your dog’s health and wellbeing very seriously.

Based on this new research we are currently conducting tests to verify our raw, freeze-dried chicken is free of this particular bacteria. We believe it is and will keep you posted.

In the meantime I encourage you not to be frightened by what is a very rare disease and to continue to feed your dog Frontier Food for superior nutrition and all the associated health benefits.

Wonderfully healthy food and a healthy, low chemical lifestyle will reduce the risk of immune system over reaction, which is at the heart of this disease.

Dr Kathy Cornack, Consultant vet for Frontier Pets.