Rebuttal Raw ChickenLinked To Paralysis in Dogs

REBUTTAL – Raw Chicken Linked to Paralysis in Dogs

By Animal Naturopath, Dr. Jeannie Thomason

I have taken this article as it was originally written and taken one paragraph at a time and put my own comments and questions in italics and green font below (all bolded words are also mine) in a rebuttal to this article.

Raw Chicken Linked to Paralysis in Dogs

Here is the article:

Chicken necks are a common treat for dogs, but pet owners are being warned they have been linked with a potentially fatal form of paralysis.

By Dr Nerissa Hannink, University of Melbourne

As pet ownership increases across the world, our furry (as well as feathered and scaly) friends have become firmly established members of the family.

Wanting the best for our pets, we often offer special treats, and chicken necks are a favourite in many families – often considered a ‘healthy’ option. (See below for nutritional values of a chicken neck with skin intact ) 

But vets are warning raw chicken, particularly chicken necks, can lead to a debilitating and potentially fatal form of paralysis in dogs.

A new study, led by the University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital, found the consumption of raw chicken meat (Raw chicken meat or raw chicken necks? Which is it?) increases the risk of dogs developing a paralysing condition called acute polyradiculoneuritis (APN) by more than 70 times.

Dr Matthias le Chevoir, chief investigator on the project, says the cause of APN in dogs has baffled the veterinary community for a long time. “It is a rare but very debilitating condition where the dog’s hind legs first become weak. It can then progress to affect the front legs, neck, head and face. Some dogs may die from the disease if their chest becomes paralysed,” he says.

(Here he says it is “rare” but then a couple of paragraphs down, he says “In his clinic alone they see 30 cases a year, I wish he stated what the affected 30 dogs a year have in common with each other. Were they all fed raw chicken? Had they all been vaccinated? Were they all exposed toxic chemicals in, on and/or around them? Were they all hunting dogs? Surely there had to have been a common thread in these “rare” cases every year)

“Most dogs eventually recover without treatment but it may take up to six months or more in some cases.
In our clinic alone we see around 30 cases per year and around three in ten cases would not recover. Watching your pet suffer is obviously very distressing and it can be difficult for owners to nurse their pet if the condition can gradually improve.”

I am not sure I understand what he is saying here about it being difficult for owners to nurse their pet if the condition can gradually IMPROVE. How is it difficult for the owners if the dog gradually improves with NO treatment?
Paralysis results from the dog’s immune system becoming unregulated and attacking its own nerve roots, progressively worsening over several days.

Dr le Chevoir says the bacteria Campylobacter is now considered (not proven, only considered or thought to be… no proof or evidence to prove it and why only NOW are they “considering” it as a triggering agent?) a triggering agent in up to 40 per cent of GBS patients.

The doctor is talking about human patients here, (human patients with GBS, not APN). GBS or Guillain Barre Syndrome is a type of an autoimmune disease that affects the peripheral nerves and causes weakness in the limbs and often other parts of the body. In my own research, I found that some 20 years ago, laboratories began to isolate campylobacter from stool specimens of PEOPLE who had reported to have had a campylobacter infection.

Campylobacter is group of bacteria that NORMALLY inhabit the intestines of animals. Most dogs (and cats) have no signs of illness when they’re infected with Campylobacter. A study done in 2009 found Campylobacter in the stool of 21% of healthy dogs.

Just like Salmonella inhabits the guts of healthy dogs, campylobacter does as well.
Of course, dogs (or cats) with weak, immature or compromised immune systems and are under stress will be more likely to carry more Campylobacter than normal and would be more prone to the campylobacter multiplying enough to make the dog sick.

“Our team at U-Vet Animal Hospital wanted to understand if consuming raw chicken could also be triggering APN in dogs…” Why would a veterinary hospital want to “understand” IF raw chicken could be triggering APN?

The team studied 27 dogs with symptoms of APN and 47 dogs without … OK, only 75 dogs in total studied? And who funded the study? A “team” from U-Vet Animal Hospital of course.

Faecal samples collected within seven days of the presentation of clinical signs (such as changes in voice, hind limb weakness or a choppy gait) showed the dogs with APN were 9.4 times more likely to have had a Campylobacter infection than the control group without the disease.

What about faecal samples from the dogs with NO symptoms? Did they ask if these dogs presenting with symptoms had been fed RAW chicken? If they did, there is no mention of it in this article. Of the 27 dogs with the symptoms, did 9.4 of those 27 dogs HAVE a Camphlobacter infection? They don’t state this. Or did they just decide that 9.4 of the 27 dogs were just MORE LIKELY to have a Campylobacter infection???

“The microbe Campylobacter is likely to be the reason for the dysregulation of the dogs’ immunity and the symptoms of paralysis,” lead author Dr Lorena Martinez-Antòn says.

So, is Campylobacter likely to be the reason the dog’s immune system was dysregulated OR IS a dysregulated immune system why the dog was weak enough to have naturally residing Campylobacter grow out of control? How many of those 9.4 out of 27 dogs had been vaccinated? How many of them had been on antibiotics, how many had been fed raw chicken? How many were on kibble diets??? In other words, which came first? The Campylobacter or the compromised, dysreglated immune system?

“These bacteriological results were consistent with the hypothesis that the uncooked chicken meat was the source of the Campylobacter and as a result, triggered APN.”

WHAT? Where did they state anywhere in this article or report that the 9.4 of the 27 dogs with symptoms had eaten uncooked chicken meat? Nothing of this kind is written about in this article or study. How could these results be consistent with the hypothesis? Am I the only one reading between the lines here?

In humans, scientists think Campylobacter, which is most commonly found in commercial poultry products, contains molecules similar in structure to part of the nerve cell. (They say that) This similarity confuses the immune system, which attacks the body’s own nerves, resulting in paralysis.

Really? How do they know the similarity of molecules are similar in structure to part of the nerve cell and that campylobacter is confusing the immune system? No studies, no proof, they only “THINK”. And they only THINK it in HUMANS; which we know to have totally different biology, physiology, etc. from dogs (and cats)

Dr Martinez-Antòn and Dr le Chevoir say there appears to be a growing trend for feeding dogs raw meat diets, which is concerning given the risks. WHAT risks? Risks that dogs and cats might get so healthy that there is no need to see a veterinarian and the sales of kibble will continue to drop??

“A significant association is also found between APN and smaller dog breeds. Based on our clinical experience this seems to be because smaller dogs are more likely to be fed smaller bones like chicken necks,” the doctors say in the research paper.“ We recommend owners choose regular dog food rather than chicken necks until we know more about this debilitating condition.”

Really? Where are the studies to prove that smaller dog breeds have been found to be more affected by APN than medium, large or giant breeds? APN is also called Coonhound Paralysis and was named that long before this article was released as these very symptoms first began manifesting in Coonhounds or other hunting dogs that had been vaccinated, kibble fed and in contact with raccoons. Study it out.

Nutrition Facts – Chicken Neck
Serving Size
1 neck
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamin A 8.8?g 1%
Vitamin A IU 29.2IU –
Vitamin B6 0.1mg 5%
Vitamin B12 0.1?g 3%
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 5.4mg 1%
Iron 0.4mg 6%
Magnesium 3.4mg 1%
Phosphorus 22.6mg 3%
Zinc 0.5mg 4%
Copper 0mg 2%
Manganese 0mg 1%
Selenium 2.7?g 4%
Retinol 8.8?g –
Thiamine 0mg 1%
Riboflavin 0mg 3%
Niacin 0.8mg 5%
Folate 1.6?g 1%
Water 14.2g –
Fatty acids
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) 0g –
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) 0g –
Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) 0g –
Total Omega 3 0g –
Amino acids
Tryptophan 0g –
Threonine 0.1g –
Isoleucine 0.2g –
Leucine 0.3g –
Lysine 0.3g –
Methionine 0.1g –
Cystine 0g –
Phenylalanine 0.1g –
Tyrosine 0.1g –
Valine 0.2g –
Arginine 0.2g –
Histidine 0.1g –
Alanine 0.2g –
Aspartic acid 0.3g –
Glutamic acid 0.5g –
Glycine 0.2g –
Proline 0.1g –
Serine 0.1g –

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