By Jasmine Kazlauskas
Pet owners have been hit with new warnings advising them not to feed their animals uncooked meat – after a dog was paralysed and killed by RAW CHICKEN.
Devastated animal lover Amanda Shinton was left heartbroken after her beloved pooch Jade was left paralysed from the neck down just hours after she gave her a raw chicken neck in August 2012.
The vet-recommended snack caused the eight-year-old Maltese Yorkie Cross to suffer acute polyradiculoneuritis (APN) – a nerve disorder – which left her unable to walk.
Jade then died in March 2015 after choking on a chicken bone – with vets telling Amanda her pooch was unable to save herself because the APN had left her with permanently weakened muscles.
Amanda, 43, is now speaking out to warn other pet owners as new research released this week revealed eating raw chicken meat – especially chicken necks – increased dogs’ risk of developing APN by more than 70 times.
Analyst Amanda, from Melbourne, Australia, said: “I had always given my dogs chicken necks as a snack to clean their teeth because I was told by vets that it was good for smaller dogs. I didn’t think anything of it.
“But one day just a few hours after my three dogs had eaten their treats, Jade started to go lame and couldn’t walk on her back legs.
“I was dumbfounded. I took her straight to the vet to find out what was wrong but they said she was probably just bruised.
“But the next day, she was totally paralysed. She couldn’t walk at all. She had to be examined by lots of different vets and some of them suggested she could have cancer. No one had any idea.
“When they said it was from the raw chicken. I couldn’t believe it.
“She was an otherwise healthy dog until she got paralysis from the chicken neck. I couldn’t believe that this could ever happen.
“There was immense guilt because I had fed her the raw chicken and then had to see her go through it all.
“I will never feed any of my animals raw chicken ever again. It’s not worth the risk.”
Amanda was forced to syringe-feed Jade water and carry her around in a backpack because her legs stopped working after developing APN.
After six weeks of intensive therapy the pooch learned how to walk again before suffering another paralysis attack six months later which left her incapacitated for another two weeks.
Eventually Jade learned to walk again but was left permanently weakened by the APN – before tragically dying in March 2015.
Amanda said: “In 2015 Jade got a small chicken bone stuck in her throat, and choked to death.
“The vets said it was because her muscles were so weak, and she didn’t have the strength to bring it back up and clear her airway.
“They told me most dogs would have been able to save themselves but the APN had left her too weak to survive it.
“I was inconsolable. My heart was broken and I was devastated to lose her.”
APN is a very rare and debilitating condition where the dog’s hind legs first become very week.
It can then progress to affect the front legs, neck, head and face and some dogs can die from the disease if their chest becomes paralysed – with three in 10 never recovering.
Dr Matthias le Chevoir from the University of Melbourne’s U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital said the direct cause of APN in dogs had baffled the veterinary community for a long time.
He and lead research paper author Dr Lorena Martinez-Antòn discovered the connection between raw chicken and APN was due to the microbe Campylobacter, found in the meat.
If this infects dogs it confuses their immune system, attacking the body’s own nerves and causing paralysis.
In their research paper, the pair state: “Our team was really pleased to have discovered that consuming raw chicken necks is an important risk factor for developing APN.
“A significant association is also found between APN and smaller dog breeds.
“We recommend owners choose regular dog food rather than chicken necks until we know more about this debilitating condition.”
Dr le Chevoir, who was chief investigator on the project, added: “Watching your pet suffer is obviously very distressing.
“There appears to be a growing trend for feeding dogs raw meat diets, which is concerning given the risks.”