Chicken has radiotherapy to fight tumour

CHICKENS are probably more closely associated with the culinary arts than pioneering surgery - but one lucky fowl is set to change all that.Eve, the Sussex Buff, is believed to be the first hen to undergo radiotherapy for a tumour in her leg.

CHICKENS are probably more closely associated with the culinary arts than pioneering surgery - but one lucky fowl is set to change all that.

Eve, the Sussex Buff, is believed to be the first hen to undergo radiotherapy for a tumour in her leg. And what is more remarkable for Eve is that she is already a one-drumstick bird after losing the other to an infection.

The extraordinary treatment is all thanks to owners Elaine and Chris Denney, who believe the first class care their pet is receiving at the Animal Health Trust in Kentford, near Newmarket, is worth every penny.

The couple and their treasured chicken travelled from their home in Worcester yesterday for a appointment with Dr Sue Murphy, head of oncology at the trust.

Dr Murphy and her team are more used to dealing with valuable race horses but Eve's treatment will be no less rigorous.

Mrs Denney, an accountant who also runs a smallholding in her spare time, said: “She had a bit of infection after the tumour reduction surgery but she is quite bright today and they hope she will respond well to the radiotherapy treatment.

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“She is just a pet to us. It doesn't matter if she has four legs, two, or in this case one. She jumps round the garden and responds to her name just like a cat or dog.

“We would do this for any of our 15 chickens but we do have soft spot for Eve. She is so bright and breezy - I think she can pull through.”

Last week Eve visited the trust for a consultation prior to yesterday's radiotherapy work. The work on the chicken is expected to help inform studies on rare bird species and how avian tissue responds to cancer treatment.

Dr Murphy said: “We believe this will be the first treatment a chicken has ever received for a squamous cell carcinoma - so it will be pioneering.

“We administered the radioactive strontium onto the tumour using a probe, which we placed on the tumour for two minutes.

“The tissue will die over the next few days and hopefully the healthy tissue will grow back.

“Everyone thinks it is a bit crazy but it is a pet and must be given the same respect as a dog or a cat.”

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