Chicken Wings

First published April 1996 in:

The Canine Journal
The Royal NSW Canine Council
PO Box 632
St Marys NSW 2760 Australia

P & D Hopwood (Viewpoint, Canine Journal February 1996) sounded a warning to others after their spaniel choked on a raw chicken wing. Natural grief will always lead to justifiable soul searching in an urgent attempt to avoid similar disasters. After offering my sympathies may I be permitted to counsel caution and the need for a broad view.

Many years ago when I was vet in attendance at a safari park one of the lions died suddenly. Post mortem examination revealed cause of death to be bowel perforation by a sharp sawn section of ox vertebra. Another tigress was sick for a number of days . At exploratory laparotomy raw bones were found impacting the bowel. Whilst dramatic outcomes can occur when wild animals consume natural food we nonetheless concluded that it was the unnatural aspects of the feeding, sawing the bone , which created the problems. At the time we were most perturbed but were not tempted to commence the feeding of artificial foods to large carnivores.

Curiously I adopted the opposite point of view with regard to the dietary requirements of small domestic carnivores. I advised my clients that the safe convenient way to feed their pets was out of the can. I was comfortable in the belief that I had played safe with my recommendations. There could be no choke fatalities or broken teeth or bowel obstructions and as far as I was aware there were no serious drawbacks. I recoil at the thought of how misguided I then was. Because my patients did not complain and because I practised in the conventional manner I was unaware that my patients' vast array of ills and the diseases of old age were in fact mostly the result of unnatural feeding.

Discussion with other members of the Raw Meaty Bone Lobby of concerned veterinarians and our own researches enable me to say these things with confidence. Kittens and puppies commenced early on a natural diet learn how to tackle their food and in our experience seldom require veterinary attention. As if hit by a thunder bolt we came to realise that many animals we had presumed to be suffering from old age were in fact suffering an AIDS like syndrome. Happily we found that the patients could be greatly improved and rushed the information to a local veterinary journal. The findings were refused publication but now vets and dog owners can find our results published in the December 1995 British Journal of Small Animal Practice.

Our dietary induced AIDS patients have to date all shown speedy return to good health. This we attribute to the dietary advice as provided in the JSAP:

'From day one after surgery the animals were fed a raw meaty bone diet with occasional supplemental table scraps. The small dogs and cats received chicken wings, rabbit legs and whole raw fish whilst the larger dogs received lamb brisket, kangaroo tails, etc. The size of pieces was important as a regulator of chewing function. Pieces too small would permit swallowing whole with the risk of obstruction. Large bones without meat have lesser nutrient value whilst risking the wear or breakage of teeth.'

As veterinarians and dog owners we have a duty to the few to ensure that they do not choke in dramatic circumstances. Our duty to the many is that they should not slide imperceptibly into protracted, debilitating dietary induced AIDS.