Pet Cancer. According to the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University (CSU), 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 implemented. Recent studies indicate that nearly 80 % of owners with pets diagnosed with cancer use some type of complementary and/or alternative medical (CAM) therapy, with nutritional supplements ranking first.
The goal in treating neoplasia in all cases is complete and permanent remission. Unfortunately, for the vast majority, complete remission 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 author’s experience, pet cancer patients receiving both conventional and alternative therapies as well as those receiving nutritional therapy alone, seem to experience better survival rates, longer durations of remission and enhanced quality of life versus those utilizing traditional chemotherapy and/or radiation protocols alone.
It is important to understand that different types of 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 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 cancer therapies, suffice it to say that the evidence in support of nutritional therapies is currently strong enough to recommend their use in most pet cancer cases in this author’s opinion.
Today, nutritional therapy’s most promising role is as a mechanism to help prevent cancer. 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.
Dr.Carol Osborne, DVM