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Raw Chicken & Polyradiculoneuritis (APN) 

Polyradiculoneuritis is a 𝗿𝗮𝗿𝗲 condition that you'll find a few of our members have experienced but cannot definitely advise of a cause.

The study in concern was by the University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital and was called "𝗜𝗻𝘃𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗴𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗥𝗼𝗹𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗖𝗮𝗺𝗽𝘆𝗹𝗼𝗯𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗜𝗻𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝗦𝘂𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗔𝗰𝘂𝘁𝗲 𝗣𝗼𝗹𝘆𝗿𝗮𝗱𝗶𝗰𝘂𝗹𝗼𝗻𝗲𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘀 (𝗔𝗣𝗡) 𝗶𝗻 𝗗𝗼𝗴𝘀" and was published in 2018.

Uncooked Poultry

The bacterial pathogen Campylobacter spp. is what is believed to be involved in triggering APN which would be similar to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in humans. Campylobacter is now considered a triggering agent in up to 𝟰𝟬% of GBS patients VCA animal hospitals say that typical symptoms of Campylobacter include watery to mucoid diarrhea, straining, abdominal cramping or pain, lethargy, and fever. The diarrhea may last a week or more and often relapses suddenly after the dog appears to have recovered.

Many dogs appear unaffected by campylobacteriosis and the condition is often self-limiting, requiring no medical intervention.

Back to the study....the study involved 27 client-owned dogs suffering from 𝘀𝘂𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗱 APN and 47 healthy dogs, client-owned or owned by staff members.

They found that in cases in which the fecal sample was collected within 7 days from the onset of clinical signs, APN cases were 9.4 times more likely to be positive for Campylobacter spp. In addition, a significant association was detected between dogs affected by APN and the consumption of raw chicken (96% of APN cases; 26% of control dogs). The most common Campylobacter spp. identified as Campylobacter upsaliensis.

A 2002 study called "𝗖𝗮𝗺𝗽𝘆𝗹𝗼𝗯𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘂𝗽𝘀𝗮𝗹𝗶𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘀: 𝗔𝗻𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗣𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗴𝗲𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀" states that:
"C. upsaliensis is frequently found in both cats and dogs, 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗹𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗶𝗺𝗮𝗹𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘀𝗶𝗰𝗸 𝗼𝗿 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵𝘆 (prevalence, 5%–66% in cats vs. 5%–48% in dogs)."
VCA Animal Hospitals state as per the above that research has shown that Campylobacter can be isolated from both healthy and sick dogs. They go on to say that 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘀𝘂𝗴𝗴𝗲𝘀𝘁𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗿𝗴𝗮𝗻𝗶𝘀𝗺 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗮 𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗺𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝗰𝗮𝘂𝘀𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗱𝗼𝗴.

Authors of the study state that a significant association is also found between APN and smaller dog breeds. Based on their clinical experience this seems to be because smaller dogs are more likely to be fed smaller bones like chicken necks.

The study does address the fact that chicken consumption in Australia is high, they use this fact they say that the rate of APN could be higher, however, what they don't address is that statistically if chicken consumption is high in Australia then 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗳 𝗖𝗮𝗺𝗽𝘆𝗹𝗼𝗯𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗶𝗻 𝗯𝗼𝘁𝗵 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵𝘆 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝗻𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗹𝘁𝗵𝘆 𝗱𝗼𝗴𝘀 𝘄𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱𝗻'𝘁 𝗯𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗽𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴.

Fecal samples of dogs in the study were positive for Campylobacter spp. in 13 of 27 (48%) of the APN cases compared with 11 of 47 (23%) cases in the control group (healthy dogs).

Twenty-six (96.3%) of the APN cases were fed raw chicken (not surprising if chicken consumption in Australia is high), mainly chicken necks and wings. Owners of APN cases had 70.7 times higher odds of reporting that their dogs consumed raw chicken than owners of control dogs (P < 0.001). The only APN case that was not fed raw chicken had daily contact with live chickens.

No association between other risk factors and the disease was found apart from raw poultry in the diet - the study does not outline the other risk factors that were investigated.

Previous studies have shown that exposure to racoons was the most common risk factor for dogs to develop APN in North America - This is an interesting fact because the chicken was found not to be an issue here, is it because Australians have superhuman infectious chickens or that chicken consumption in Australia is no high that it is logically expected that Campylobacter will be found in stools.

Genetic factors triggering the disease need to be investigated further I.M.O just like DCM (Heart disease) in dogs that was incorrectly blamed on grain-free diets.

Research into raw-fed dogs would be a good idea to find out why the majority of the dogs are not being affected by the condition when they eat raw chicken.

This is a topic that needs a lot more research.
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