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New Hope For Pet Cancer Victims

According to Denver-based Morris Animal Foundation, thousands of America's 55 million dogs will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year. Cancer is the number one disease that kills dogs and cats in the United States.

Just as in humans, early detection is crucial. With a metabolic rate that is faster than most humans, cancer can spread quickly in dogs and cats.

News About Animals

From Columbus, Georgia, WRBL-TV reporter Gene Rodriguez has the story of two dogs, Bart and Luka, and their experience with cancer. Luka works with arson investigators with the Columbus Fire Department. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and recently had surgery. In Bart's case, his owner has discovered a lump on his paw and his veterinarian, Dr. James Thorsen, performed a biopsy; the test results are pending.

A major study of canine cancer is being conducted at Colorado State University's (CSU) College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Studies. According CSU veterinarian Dr. Gregory Ogilvie, without treatment a dog may only live several days to a few months. With proper care, a special diet, surgery and/or chemotherapy, a dog's life can be extended up to three years, possibly more.

Dr. Ogilvie says that cancer is the most curable of all chronic diseases in pets. This particular study evaluates the value of a specific diet for the treatment of cancer in dogs.

A dog's diet can contribute to the growth and progression of cancer tumors. Certain types of food can be more debilitating than the cancer itself. Weight loss in canine cancer patients often occurs despite adequate nutrition and before signs of cancer occur. The problem is that many pet owners do not know the proper amounts and types of food to feed their pets.

Ogilvie's research is focused on what he calls a "cancer diet". He has identified the types of foods that make cancerous tumors grow and deplete a dog's energy. The diet is composed of small amounts of complex carbohydrates, minimal quantities of rapidly absorbed simple sugars, high quality but modest amounts of digestible proteins, and certain types of fats.

Currently there are no commercial diets of formula available that meets the criteria of this "cancer diet".

While there is no diet cure for cancer, Dr. Ogilvie feels that the "cancer diet" in combination with chemotherapy can help eliminate all clinical evidence of the cancer and slow the progression of the tumor in some cases. The treatment will not cure cancer, but it can improve the quality of life by nine months to more than three years as long as dogs continue to receive diet therapy.

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