There is one food poisoning bacteria which causes the most food poisoning in Australia and most people have not heard of it – Campylobacter jejuni. It’s typical symptom is diarrohea. The sources include; undercooked chicken, unpasteurised milk products and contaminated water.
It is such an issue that, along with Salmonella, it is the focus of all food safety sections of the Health Departments across the country. The Health Ministers across the country agreed some time ago that, as a country, we have to focus on reducing the number of cases of Campylibacter and Salmonella, and so actions are now underway to do this.
Food poisoning from Campylobacter may not just be a case of hanging around the toilet for hours, as with other types of food poisoning it can have long term and serious implications. Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) causes muscle weakness and may require ventilation if chest muscles are affected, and Campy is now being considered as one of it’s triggers.
It seems that this condition is not only something which can happen in humans, dogs are at risk of developing acute polyradiculoneuritis (APN), which is the canine equivalent of GBS.
So why is all this an issue now?
According to a new study done by the University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital, first published on Pursuit, the increasing consumption of raw chicken meat by our fur babies is increasing the risk of APN by more than 70 times.
Of particular concern is the increasing number of chicken necks being eaten by the furkids.
Dr Matthias le Chevoir, chief investigator on the project,said; “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.Most dogs eventually recover without treatment but it may take up to six months or more in some cases.”
In this study, 27 dogs with APN symptoms and 47 without were studied and their owners interviewed about the diets, and behaviours. Faecal samples were collected and it was found that the APN dogs were 9.4 times more likely to have a Campy infection than the dogs without the disease.
Obviously it was only a small sample in this study and much more work needs to be done, but at this stage it looks like we need to be careful feeding our fur babies raw diets, including chicken, particularly our small furkids.