Everybody loves sugar.
Late night snacks, movies, late afternoon….kids and grown-ups alike….and dogs like their carbs in dog food and in dog treats, which of course are changed in the body to sugars…
Cancer in dogs loves sugar too. Especially sugar. Cancers tend to gobble sugar way more than fat or protein. Cancer definitely has a sweet tooth.
It is an odd thing in some ways. Fat has more calories than sugar on the basis of weight (a gram of sugar has fewer calories than a gram of fat, roughly 4 cal versus 9 cal). It seems strange at first that cancer would like to use a lower calorie food for fuel.
Turns out that one of the most reliable changes that happens in the dog body, usually before any signs of actual cancer, is that the metabolism of sugar starts to change. The blood sugar starts to go up. This favors the growth of the developing cancer. The cancer sends messages to the body to kick up sugar release into the bloodstream. Once in the blood, the circulation delivers the cancer cells their favorite meal. Read more.
As a matter of fact, sugar use is a reliable indicator of the progression of cancer. New technologies are being developed (positron emission tomography) that can see how the chemo is working by looking at the sugar levels in the blood. Here’s the abstract.
Cancers start more easily in the presence of sugar in the bloodstream. That means high blood sugar is present first, then cancer develops. Some examples in human literature include cancers of the pancreas, liver, colon, rectum, cerix, esophagus, and the bile duct. Check it out.
So here we have links both between sugar before cancer starts, and sugar after it starts.
Take home message: limit carbohydrate intake in your dogs, whether cancer free or cancer patients. Some of the newer pet foods producers are aware of this concept and have integrated it into their pet food design.
Best to all,
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.