As if another reason was needed, a recent study from Australia (Martinez-Anton et al. 2018 J Vet Internal Med) found a strong association between dogs that consume raw chicken meat and a serious neurological condition known as acute polyradiculoneuritis (APN). APN is comparable to Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) in humans. The main objective of the study was to look at the association between APN and Campylobacter spp. infection, but knowing that this bacterium is commonly found in raw chicken, they also looked at consumption of raw chicken as a risk factor. Owners of dogs with APN were 71 times more likely to report feeding raw chicken to their dogs compared to controls. Of the 27 dogs in the study with APN, 96% (all but 1) were fed raw chicken, compared to 26% of control dogs.
And of course, anytime we’re talking about feeding a raw diet to a dog, we also need to consider the risk to the people who handle the food as well. According to the CDC, about 1 in every 1,000 reported Campylobacter illnesses in people leads to GBS, and as many as 40% of GBS cases in the United States are thought to be triggered by Campylobacter infection.
Just one more reason to avoid feeding raw chicken to pets, and some extra motivation to pay close attention to safe food handling practices at home.