Pet Cancer. The Role Pet Nutritional Supplements Play in the Treatment and Management Of Pet Cancer Therapy for Dogs and Cats. Statistics run by the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University (CSU), document the fact that cancer is the number one cause of death in pets. Over 50% of dogs and cats age 10 and older die from cancer. 90% of Golden Retrievers diagnosed with cancer die, regardless of the therapy given. Recent studies indicate that nearly 80 % of dog and cat owners with pets diagnosed with cancer use some type of complementary and/or alternative medical (CAM) therapy, with pet nutritional supplements ranking first.
The goal in treating pet cancer in all cases is complete and permanent remission. Unfortunately, for the vast majority, complete remission of cancer in dogs and cats is never achieved regardless of which modality, or combination of traditional and/or alternative is instituted. A recently published study showed that traditional chemotherapy results over the last 15 years have increased long term survival rates for less than 3% of pet cancer cases. In this veterinarians experience, pet cancer patients receiving both conventional and alternative therapies as well as those receiving nutritional or dietary therapy alone, seem to experience better survival rates, longer durations of remission and enhanced quality of life versus pets treated with traditional chemotherapy and/or radiation protocols alone.
It is important to understand that different types of pet cancer require different strategies for treatment. In addition, certain therapeutic protocols have been documented to facilitate synergy which has proven to be beneficial for pet cancer patients. Because research and published data relative to pet cancer therapies in Veterinary Medicine, are lacking, practitioners, for the most part, must rely on human and lab animals studies as well as clinical observation, when approaching the small animal cancer patient. Although mainstream veterinarians remain reluctant to embrace natural pet cancer therapies, suffice it to say that the evidence in support of pet nutritional therapies is currently strong enough to recommend their use in most pet cancer cases in this author’s opinion.
Today, pet nutritional therapy’s most promising role is as a mechanism to help prevent pet cancer in dogs and cats. Interventional studies in humans and animals to determine the treatment value of these “adjuvant therapies” are currently ongoing; funded by grants from the National Cancer Institute.