Animed Anti-Cancer Plan
This page has been written to offer help and advice for when your pet has been diagnosed with cancer or if you have found a tumour on your cat or dog which you are suspicious of. Cancer is one of the most feared conditions that affect us and our pets, but what is less well-known is that it is also one of the most treatable conditions that we are involved with.
Surgical excision of tumours is the preferred method of treatment in most instances, and we recommend that all tumours are sent for histopathology so that we can give an accurate diagnosis and therefore prognosis. Having said this, there are things which can be done no matter what type of growth the pet is diagnosed with, which will improve the chances of a complete cure and greatly improve your cat or dog's quality of life and postoperative recovery. The following information is relevant whether or not your pet is receiving chemotherapy..
Pets that are 20% or more above their ideal bodyweight are 50% more at risk from recurrence of tumours, and overweight pets are more likely to be affected with certain types of cancer in the first place. Anaesthesia of overweight pets presents increased risks due to pressure on the heart and lungs, not to mention the fact that it makes the operation itself more difficult! If your pet is overweight, we can work out a simple, safe and effective plan to help reach target weight in a healthy way. It is very important not to just reduce the amount of the normal diet given, since this may lead to nutritional deficiencies, decreasing your pet's resistance to the cancer.
Change of diet
It has been known for a long time in both humans and animals that cancer feeds on sugar. Therefore it is very important to avoid certain carbohydrates. A clear recommendation is to eliminate rice, wheat and other cereals, pasta, bread and sugar-containing treats (which clients should not be giving anyway!). This means that a standard dog or cat food diet may not be the most suitable for your pet at this time. If you are in any doubt with regard to the carbohydrate content of your pet's diet, the ingredients will be listed on the bag or can, usually with the greatest first.
Please ask if you are in any doubt at all. If cereal is the first on the list, this food will be unsuitable. It has also been very recently shown that some cooked starchy foods contain carcinogens. It is therefore recommended that the diet is changed to avoid any risk, or aggravation of the existing condition.
Certain amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) have anti cancer properties. Arginine is the one which research has shown to be most effective. Prescription diets rich in arginine are available. Please ask for details
Antioxidants and phytochemicals are currently receiving much media attention, and rightly so. The importance of these elements in the cancer patient's diet cannot be overemphasised. Antioxidants neutralise free radicals, which are known to cause and perpetuate certain types of cancer. Many commercial feeds have added antioxidants, but these are usually synthetic and therefore largely ineffective in the cancer patient.
It is always better that your pet obtains nutrients from whole food sources. Fresh raw vegetables are a good source of phytochemicals which the body can recognise. Phytochemicals are substances found in plants which are recognised to have huge health benefits for animals and people. So far about 12,000 have been isolated, so it is impossible to get them all from a pill unless the pills themselves have been made from fresh raw plants, unheated during processing. The best vegetables to feed are raw broccoli, spinach, kale, courgette, tomatoes and cabbage. Root vegetables such as swede, turnip, parsnip and carrot, although a valuable source of antioxidants, are high in sugar so are not initially recommended. The raw vegetables should replace the carbohydrate in the diet for maximum benefit.
Essential fatty acids, particularly the omega-3 fatty acids, drastically reduce the growth of cancer cells by preventing them from dividing. The best source of well-balanced essential fatty acids is flax oil. If supplementing your pet's diet with flax oil, it must be the first cold pressed type, unheated and sold, refrigerated, in dark glass bottles. Always store flax oil in your fridge, and ask for details of how much to give. Do not be afraid to give essential fats to an overweight pet. Provided that they are raw and unprocessed, and given in the recommended amounts, you will not cause weight gain.
A food supplement called Pet Plus is available which delivers high levels of essential fatty acids, antioxidants and phytochemicals, made from raw plant ingredients. It also contains wheatgrass, which is a powerful cancer fighter. It is available from our hospital and for all pets not currently taking this product, it is strongly recommended that they go onto it immediately. Combined with the other dietary changes you implement, it will give your pet the best possible chance of fighting the disease.
Clean water to drink
All cancer patients should receive clean, unchlorinated water to drink. Tap water in this area contains high levels of chlorine and should be avoided. Use filtered water wherever possible. Milk is out, it is unnecessary and can feed cancer.
In summary, in addition to surgery, a lot can be done to help your pet and protect him/her in the future. By following the above guidelines, which are all medically proven and backed up by extensive research, you can dramatically improve your pet's chances of recovery and greatly improve quality of life.