Many of you may have read about the recent link between feeding dogs raw chicken necks and the little understood neurological disease called Acute Polyradiculoneuritis (APN) in dogs which is similar to the Guillian- Barre syndrome (GBS) in people.

Both conditions are caused by the immune system attacking nerves in the peripheral nervous system leading to ascending paralysis. The condition is idiopathic which means we don’t really know what the cause is.

Campylobacter bacteria is now considered to be the triggering agent in up to 40% of GBS cases. Campylobacter may be present in uncooked chicken, unpasteurised milk products and contaminated water. Recent studies showed that up to 70% of chicken products harboured campylobacter bacteria.

Campylobacter has now been loosely linked to APN in dogs.

We all know to cook our chicken meat well, as it can have significant numbers of bacteria. For many years though vets have recommended feeding our pets raw chicken bones for the maintenance of good oral health.

Should we still be feeding our dogs raw chicken bones or any raw meats for that matter?

Feeding our pets raw foods is hugely popular in Australia. Much more so than other countries. So do we stop doing this?

We all know cooking chicken bones makes them brittle, less digestible and more likely to splinter into sharp & dangerous fragments. So cooking chicken bones isn’t the answer.

Freezing chicken kills over 90% of any contaminant bacteria on chicken meat including Campylobacter.

Interestingly this is the recommendation vets at FHVH have been suggesting for years.

It is also of interest that we have never seen a case of polyradiculoneuropathy in any of our patients, ever. Yet we see many cases of severe periodontal disease every week that cause infection, pain & premature tooth loss in our dogs & cats. Many of these patients need major dental work & need to have teeth extracted due to this severe periodontal disease.

We recommend that if you feed chicken meat without any bones, cook it well. If you feed chicken bones then freeze them for a 2 week period before  feeding them to your dog or cat. Take them straight out of the freezer & give them to your pet frozen. No thawing.

If you have any questions please discuss this important issue with us next time you come in.