Cancer Prevention Series – Pets
That is a very important question given the fact that most older dogs suffer from some type of cancer. And it is absolutely heartbreaking when this is diagnosed too late! There are some preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the chances of a beloved pet getting cancer. I will divide these in three sections:
1) Environmental Prevention:
– Tobacco Smoke: Just like what we discussed in previous posts for people, one of the most important environmental factors that can lead to certain types of cancer in pets is exposure to tobacco smoke! In dogs, it can lead to cancer of the lung and nose; and in cats, it has been associated with lymphoma and SCC (Squamous Cell Carcinoma). Since most of the pets are mainly indoors, this is really important, because they are directly exposed to the tobacco smoke if the owner(s) smoke in the house.
– Viruses: There are some viruses that can cause cancer. One of these is the Feline Leukemia Virus and there is a vaccine available that protects your kitty from getting it!
– Chemicals/pollutants: eliminate exposure to carcinogens such as pesticides, coal or kerosene heaters, herbicides (2,4-D), asbestos amongst others. This may be particularly important for owners of breeds that are susceptible to cancer!
2) Hormonal Prevention:
Estrogen is associated with the development of breast cancer in animals. In unspayed female dogs, mammary gland tumors are among the most common and around 50% are malignant. In unspayed female cats, mammary gland tumors are less common than in dogs, but 85% are malignant! To prevent breast cancer in animals it is recommended to spay dogs before their first heat cycle, and to spay cats before they turn 1 year old!!!
3) Nutritional Prevention:
– Restrict daily intake of food to maintain a lean body weight throughout life: If a pet is overweight, it could be at higher risk of getting cancer! This has been well documented in people. The fat cells in the body release certain inflammatory substances and hormones into the blood circulation, that can lead to a state of chronic inflammation. This can result in oxidative injury to DNA and could predispose obese pets to cancer!
– Supplement diet with vegetables at least 3 times per week: Increased consumption of green leafy vegetables and yellow-orange vegetables has been associated with a decreased risk of certain types of cancer in dogs. At Prevention Foods we offer an all natural broccoli seed extract that you can sprinkle on your pets food to easily provide a vegetable supplementation. Broccoli is well known for its role in potentially helping to prevent cancer!
We hope that your furry family members stay healthy!