For years, veterinarians have been recommending pets chew raw chicken necks to reduce the incidence of dental disease. An article recently released by researchers at Melbourne University Veterinary School suggests that this may not be a good idea. Recent research suggests that feeding chicken necks can lead to a rare but potentially fatal type of canine paralysis. The study found that the consumption of raw chicken meat increased the risk of developing the paralysing condition of Acute PolyradiculoNeuritis (APN) by 70 times.
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. Some dogs may die from the disease if their chest becomes paralysed. Most dogs eventually recover without treatment but may take up to 6 months or more in some cases. It can be difficult for owners to nurse their pet until the condition gradually improves
APN is the canine counterpart of Guillian-Barre syndrome (GBS) in humans. The bacteria Campylobacter was considered a trigger agent in up to 40 percent of GBS patients, which is present in under-cooked chicken, unpasteurised milk products and contaminated water.
Considering the numbers of dogs that get fed raw chicken wings to keep teeth clean it is surprising that we don't see more of the disease. Probably not all chicken is contaminated and there probably other factors also involved. But based on these recent findings we recommend that raw chicken meat is no longer fed to dogs.
This will of course lead to more dental problems and we need to think of other tings that can replace the chicken necks. Dental chew bones and treats, some include agents to reduce plaque, need to be fed as a substitute. And if your pet is prone to weight problems, include the calories of these products when feeding your pet. We can discuss this with you if you have any questions
Information courtsey of U-Vet News Alert