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Many cancers are terminal, and although they can be treated with conventional veterinary treatments, including removal of tumours, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, they will mostly not be cured, and it is at this time we look at giving our pets the best quality of life they have left.

We've know that over the past decade or so, more and more that fresh food feeding from an early age not only helps to protect from cancers, but also helps fight it, if we change what a cancer patient eats, we can change how their illness affects them in a much larger way than we know.

A cancer stricken dog will use carbohydrates, fats and protein in a very different way than a healthy dog.

Veterinarians studying canine cancer have long known that the disease alters a dog’s metabolism. The cancer-stricken dog will utilize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in very different ways than his healthy counterparts.

Cancer patients can also develop cancer cachexia, (The main symptoms are: severe weight loss, including loss of fat and muscle mass. loss of appetite.(Cancer Research UK))  cancer cachexia is a condition in which an animal will lose weight even though they are eating well or normally, dogs that develop cancer cachexia can often respond poorly to treatment and their live span with the cancer tends to be shortened even more.

Cancer Can Alter the Dogs Metabolic Systems.

As well as the cancer itself, one of the biggest changes that can occur in the pets body is  how our pets metabolise their food. Carbohydrate metabolism is one of the changes that occurs in cancer cachexia. Cancer cells metabolize glucose from carbohydrates through a process called anaerobic glycolysis, which forms lactate as a byproduct. The dog’s body must then expend energy to convert that lactate into a usable form. The end result? The tumour gains energy and grows from carbohydrates, while the dog suffers a dramatic energy loss.

Sadly this can have a devastating effect in dogs with undiagnosed cancer, the first thing we dog owners do if our dogs starts to lose weight is to increase his food intake immediately, if we are feeding highly processed dried food that are all mostly loaded with carbohydrates,  sadly the dog doesn't benefit from the increase in food, only the cancer cells who are now enjoying a banquet.

As well as the carbohydrate metabolic change an alteration with protein also happens, protein degradation exceeds protein synthesis, this results in a loss of protein in the dog’s body, muscle mass is stripped away and the weight loss continues. This protein loss results in decreased cell mediated and humoral immunity, gastrointestinal function, and wound healing.

When you start to understand these changes in the metabolic processes, it can help you create a diet that will give the dog maximum assistance as its overall health will improve and a healthily fed dog with cancer can also tolerate the veterinary interventions, such as surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, and will have an increase in immune responsiveness.

Dr. Ogilvie, believes most of the weight loss in cancer cachexia is due to the depletion of body fat, which, just like protein, gets broken down at an increased rate in the cancer patient, but, unlike carbohydrates and protein, an increase in dietary fat does not seem to benefit canine cancer tumours. Fortunately, the dog’s ability to use fat as an energy source is unimpeded.

The consequence of these metabolic changes, they appear to be permanent. Once a dog has cancer, the metabolic processes remain altered even if he goes into remission, so once a diet has been changed to a cancer fighting diet, it is in the dogs best health interest to keep it on a similar diet for the rest of its life.

Conventional veterinarians may beg to differ, but holistic practitioners of all kinds are quite comfortable with the numerous studies that link common chemical pesticides and fertilizers to cancer, as well as reproductive and neurological damage. Giving a dog as clean a diet as possible can only help, the last thing the canine cancer patient’s body needs is to deal with the pesticides, antibiotics, and extra bacteria that tend to be in nonorganic meat. You don’t want their bodies to have to focus on clearing out toxins as well as fighting the cancer.

Fresh, clean, high-quality meat is both appetizing and highly bioavailable.

Cooking the diet for your dog in the early stages of cancer helps your dog eat more and keep up their weight.

So, what is the best diet for a cancer patient, formulating a diet that reduces the effects of cachexia and keeping the dog as healthy as possible whilst being treated for cancer and beyond into remission. A fresh food diet, which is already known to increase health and help stave off cancers is the best way forward, high quality proteins, (meat, poultry and fish) organic, free range, naturally grazed where possible, very low carbohydrates, less sugary vegetables and more greens and fresh berries, which are all cancer fighting foods in themselves, healthy fresh omega filled fats, add in fresh herbs and spices, organ meat and you can give your dog the best possible chance of getting through this illness.

As the metabolic changes that happen in a dog with cancer are permanent and non reversible, even if his cancer goes into remission, feeding this new healthier diet may be necessary for the remainder of the dog’s life.

Many cancer patients lose their appetite, either due to their treatments or illness; these dogs must be tempted to eat, a lot.

Note: Veterinarians have a variety of pharmaceutical appetite stimulants that may be helpful for keeping an inappetent dog eating. The goal is to prevent anorexia and weight loss at all costs.

Changing Your Dog’s Diet To Help Fight Cancer

Suggestions For Preparing The Best Cancer Diet For Your Dog

1. All ingredients should be fresh, highly bioavailable, easily digested, and highly palatable, with a good taste and smell.

2. Organic foods, raw or cooked.

4. Fish-oil nutrients.

Rich in omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids, which have been linked to tumour inhibition and strengthening the immune system, fish oil may be more readily absorbed by the dog’s body than a close cousin, flaxseed oil.

5. Vitamin C.

Your dog can produce its own vitamin C, but adding a good source of Vitamin C into your dogs diet whilst fighting cancer can add to its antioxidant properties, this vitamin can easily be given in pill form but always better in natural form if you are able too. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals as the natural by-product of normal cell processes. In addition, antioxidants must be supplemented whenever omega-3 supplements are given.

6. Fresh vegetables.

Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and dark-green, leafy vegetables like spinach are healthy for any dog, but especially for cancer patients, diets high in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, watercress, bok choy, among others – have been associated with lower risk for lung, stomach, and colorectal cancers in humans. According to Cancer Research UK, broccoli, in particular, is the source of many phytochemicals that are thought to stimulate the production of anticancer enzymes.

In addition, the fiber that vegetables provide is essential to maintain normal bowel health, which, in turn, is key to overall health. Pureeing the vegetables and mixing them into food may improve acceptance

for some dogs, while others will be content to crunch them raw or lightly steamed.

7. Digestive enzymes.

Holistic practitioners often recommend these to help support the dog’s digestive abilities, especially during the transition to a new diet.

8. Garlic.

Your dog can produce its own vitamin C, but adding a good source of Vitamin C into your dogs diet whilst fighting cancer can add to its antioxidant properties, this vitamin can easily be given in pill form but always better in natural form if you are able too. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals as the natural by-product of normal cell processes. In addition, antioxidants must be supplemented whenever omega-3 supplements are given.

What is the scariest thing your vet can say to you? I think 'Cancer' sits right there at the top, and in our current world, our dogs have the highest rate of any living creature on our planet, for animals that don't smoke, work down coal mines or strip asbestos from buildings we have to seriously worry why? I'm going out on a limb here and saying it's our fault, human cancer is rising, so is our dogs, bad food, over vaccination, flea/worm/tick/mite treatments, environmental problems like floor cleaners, pesticides... the list is be a long one.

The series “The Truth About PET Cancer,” A program to uncover how bad our pets cancer rate was found these very worrying rates.

  • “You look back 50 years ago, where some will say that the cancer rate may have been one in 100 dogs. Today, according to PhDs, the dog has the highest rate of cancer of any mammal on the planet. Literally, from last year, them saying one in two, to this year, one in 1.65 dogs will succumb to cancer… and one in three cats.”
  • “There is an epidemic of cancer. There’s a lot more cancer.”
  • “In my experience, we are seeing cancer in younger and younger animals.”

 

We only used to worry about it in our elder pets, but now much younger and younger dogs are getting cancer and more terminal cases of dogs under 18 months of age is far more the norm than we care to admit. Back in 1997, 23 years ago, a study carried out by Morris Animal Foundation, found cancer claimed the lives of one of four dogs who participated in the study, while 45 percent of dogs who lived to be 10 or older died of cancer, 23 years later, we wonder what the real statistics are now, frightening higher.

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