Whenever a fur family member is diagnosed with cancer, the initial reaction pet guardians may experience is a sense of foreboding. Since traditional cancer treatments are risky, often accompanied by adverse side effects, and even with extended rounds of conventional therapies; a “cure” is rarely guaranteed.
Today, over 50% of dogs over the age of 10 are annually diagnosed with cancer. Additionally, the frequency of cancer diagnosed in cats and younger animals is rapidly escalating. Therefore it is up to conscientious pet guardians to learn about the risk factors that are inherent in the development of cancer; what guardians can do to help defend against it, and what positive actions guardians can take if and when their pets are diagnosed with cancer.
What are some of the triggers for cancer development?
Multiple factors are responsible for cancer to develop. Some of them are caused by genetics; the animal’s age, polluted environments and ecological determinants; many of which are beyond our control. Other elements that may contribute to the development of cancer are toxic chemicals used in the home, inadequate nutrition, over-vaccination (especially with adjuvanted killed vaccines that play havoc with the immune system, chronic inflammation, pharmaceuticals, genetic mutations, obesity and stress.
Inbreeding (the mating of two closely related animals to achieve a desirable effect) may also present a cancer risk. To accomplish their goal, breeders of purebred animals may use inbreeding in their breeding program. Inbreeding can cause an increased prevalence of genetic disorders and diseases, along with a genetic propensity for a diminished function of the immune system.
Today, the predominant cancer treatments are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Although these treatments may help to eradicate cancer, these therapies generally cause unbearable side effects and damage healthy tissue. And even though a pet’s life may be extended, these treatments may not completely cure cancer, and they can seriously interfere with a pet’s quality of life.
What are the traditional treatments for cancer?
In her article, “Cancer Prevention and Treatment” Holistic veterinarian and nutritional expert, Jean Hofve, DVM, writes “Recent research suggests that cancer is primarily a chronic inflammatory disease. And indeed, many of the factors involved in the development of cancer do cause chronic, low-grade inflammation. Such inflammation not only kills cells directly but also deposits toxic inflammatory by-products and other “sludge” in the extracellular matrix that surrounds the cells. This toxic build-up reduces the flow of oxygen, nutrients, and wastes between cells and blood, and creating a fertile environment for abnormal cells that can thrive in such damaged environments. Preventing and resolving inflammation and clearing the matrix are the primary goals of any program to prevent or treat cancer.”
Although on the surface these two things may seem to be opposites, much like Ying/Yang, they are strongly tied together.
Cancer Prevention and Nutrition:
FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital strongly stresses the importance of a high quality, species-appropriate diet and excellent nutrition – these are some of the most powerful building blocks in reaching optimum pet health; helping to keep cancer at bay.
While not all types of cancers have been studied by researchers, what they discovered is that several types of cancers thrive on a variety of sugars found in carbohydrates, high fructose fruits and starchy vegetables. Interestingly, cancer cells cannot feed on high-quality fats.
Researchers found that feeding pets a low carbohydrate, high protein diet which includes high-quality fats is an essential step in preventing cancer. By avoiding the ordinary high carbohydrate-based dry foods and switching pets to a meat-based diet that is more whole-food based offers pets nutrition that is highly desirable.
Processed grains, starchy vegetables such as peas, white potatoes, corns and beans, and fructose-containing fruits are the most detrimental carbohydrates. Since starch is necessary for the processing requirements of dry foods, it’s wise to avoid feeding kibble. Feeding veggies that contain high-level antioxidants and an abundance of fiber is a better choice. This said to be sure that a high protein diet appropriate for your pet; before making dietary changes, consulting with your veterinarian is essential.
Providing pets with a healthy home-prepared diet made from fresh, organic whole foods is an ideal cancer-preventative method. At the same time, for guardians who don’t have the time or are unable to prepare a home-made diet for their pets, there are commercially prepared diets for your pets. The Funky Mutt Market carries Rick’s Dog Deli, Stella & Chewy’s and Premium Raw. If for any reason a home-cooked diet is not appropriate, they also carry Fromm’s dry and wet food.
FloridaWild Vet Hospital knows nutrition is the foundation for excellent health and because of this, they provide a nutritional consult as part of your initial visit to the hospital! If you haven’t already, make an appointment with them today to learn about what the perfect food for your pet is.
In honor of September’s Cancer Prevention and Nutrition Month, FloridaWild Vet Hospital is offering this fabulous deal: $10 off an ozone therapy package.
By: Jo Singer, MSW, CSW, LCSW (Ret.)