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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Dog Cancer

Updated: December 18th, 2018

I received a question about the use of safflower oil for a type of lyphosarcoma (lymphoma) in dogs.  The group of active ingredients in safflower oil is called the Conjugated Linoleic Acids (CLA). There are other things in safflower oil too that have effects, but this is a biggy.

So should we be giving this stuff to dogs with cancer?

Well, let’s first take a look at what the deal with CLA is. There are really several forms of it with different chemical structures and scientific names.  They have different effects, but in supplements and in the diet they are present together typically.

You find CLA in butter and milk fat, and also in meat and eggs.  There is way more CLA in grass fed animals than grain fed.

Why do we care?

Well, safflower oil, which has a lot of linoleic acid in it, did produce a non-toxic remission in 6 out of eight dogs with a form of lymphosarcoma of the skin (here’s the abstract).  Small study but whatever, seemed to work. So that’s interesting.

Both the common forms of CLA decreased rat mammary cancer in the lab.  One form of CLA also decreased stomach tumors caused by a carcinogen in rodents.

One of the two main forms of  CLA killed mammary, colon, colorectal, stomach, prostate, and hepatoma (liver) cancer cell lines.  This was in the lab (in vitro).

However, the other form actually increased mammary and intestine cancer caused by genetics in rodents.

Check it out here.

So we have a lot to think about here.  First, do we even want to use safflower oil or CLA  as supplements at all?  Is safflower oil good, or maybe pure CLA…or is there some other form that is better?

Second, are there things we need to worry about with these active compounds?

Lastly, should we do something to block unwanted effects?

Stay tuned to find out!!

Best to all,

Dr Dressler


Leave a Comment

  1. Bo on September 19, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Don’t you think that instead of trying to find a way to cure cancer in our dogs, we need to spend most of our time trying to prevent it? (i.e., chemical lawn applications, educating people on dog food quality, educating people on chemicals on fruits and veg that they feed their dogs). There isn’t really any good reason other than natural selection that any dog would have cancer – especially at the rate which dogs today get cancer…I may be wrong, but this state of affairs for dogs doesn’t seem natural to me.

    Kindest regards,

  2. Mary Grace on July 21, 2010 at 5:27 am

    I see that you could give your dog Safflower oil to help with Lymphoma. Does anyone know how much to give daily and in what form. My doy is 73 lbs.

  3. judy gaetje on September 20, 2009 at 7:27 am

    with the lutimax they come in lozenge form at 100mg…. how do you give this to dogs????/ mine will not eat much of anything out of the ordinary right now…… and mixing with food is really not happening… he walks away …..any suggetions…..

    with the lutimax that comes in lozenge form… how do you give this to dogs… my dog won’t eat anything out of the ordinary right now and mixing with food is not happening……. they are 100mg and you need 600mg per day???? any suggestions?

  4. Jean Burkhardt on October 15, 2008 at 11:31 am

    I am VERY interested in anything I can find about trying to either 1-Prevent-or 2- Cure-or 3-Treat dogs with cancers. I have lost at least 5 dogs over the last 15 years from some type of cancer-the last being my Dobie mix Patty from lymphoma.
    Thank you so much for the articles!

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