Modern medicine is a developing science. Things are changing and expanding all the time. With all of the new information being produced and the fact that it can now be accessed like never before, change is more rapid than it used to be. This knowledge explosion is predictable, and has been identified in computer hardware development as Moore’s Law, where the transistor number on circuit boards doubles every 18 months. Of course now Moore’s Law may be breaking down, but you get the idea.
Yet in spite of exploding information, we still face significant challenges in dog cancer. There are forces at play which stifle the growth of information that could be useful in treating dog cancer, and cancer in general. Some of these include the fact that research has leaned towards reduction (looking at small things instead of larger body systems), peer pressure among researchers to stay within what is accepted (the old ideas) or face ridicule and perhaps career loss, and the tendency of the scientific method to move by branching off existing ideas rather than leap sideways.
One of my personal favorites, or more truthfully areas of ongoing frustration in conventional veterinary care, is the continued oversight of diet in dealing with dog cancer.
Everybody knows that diet impacts physiology, health, and disease. One does not need a fancy degree to be aware of this fact. Evidence is all around us and can be appreciated by having eyeballs, ears, and a brain. Even if the general public did not know this truth (which they do), veterinary medicine in general does not ignore diet…but only for disease other than cancer. We have a variety of prescription diets available to us as medical professionals. We have home-made diet recipes we can provide our clients that are adjusted to fit the new needs of the diseased body.
We have diets to help treat obesity, to maintain a lean body condition, to dissolve urinary stones, to maintain crystal-free urine, to treat food allergies, to aid in management of vomiting and diarrhea, to assist in dealing with liver disease, to lower blood toxins in kidney disease, to help with pancreatitis, to support cardiac patients, to decrease inflammation from arthritis and other orthopedic problems, and even to help the brain in dealing with aging changes. We have diets for large, medium, and small breed dogs. We have diets for sensitive tummy and skin..and so on.
So most conventional vets think diet when they are dealing with chronic disease. Except for this one glaring, enormous oversight: dog cancer. The disease that is the number one cause of canine death, with 1 in 3 dogs contracting it of any age. If your dog is over 10, she has a 50% chance of getting cancer. There are 6 million dog cancer cases annually, according to the Animal Cancer Foundation.
There even was a prescription diet formulated for cancer that just never really caught on.
So, you can help. Ask your vet about diet if you have a dog and you are coping with dog cancer. If your vet does not know, give him a copy of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide or download the free pdf at the top of this page.