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

The Inflammatory Diet and Cancer

Updated: October 9th, 2018

It turns out that modern changes in our dog’s diets may have a link to cancer development.

It is now known that cancer needs inflammation to start, and to get worse.  Inflammation is the process where body parts get red, swollen and painful.  If we get an injury, inflammation happens as the first step in healing.

However, inflammation can happen microscopically, on a small scale.  When this happens, nothing is visible to the naked eye.

Microscopic inflammation stimulates cancers.  In an inflamed area, lots of damaging molecules called free radicals are formed. These are capable of harming DNA.

Genes are the body’s master plan, and are built into the DNA.  Genes control all of your dog’s health processes.

If genes that are responsible for cell growth and death are injured by free radicals, they can lose the ability to control how fast or slow these cells divide.  If cell division starts getting out of control, cancer can result, since cancer is essentially uncontrolled proliferation of unhealthy body cells.

Chemical signals are released during inflammation.  These signals are able to stimulate cancer cell growth directly.

Inflammation also increases a tumor’s ability to supply itself with new blood vessels for fuel.  It also increases cancer spread, and finally interferes with a normal immune response that might have cleared the cancer cells from the body otherwise.

There is new interest in attacking inflammation with pharmaceuticals.  But let’s look at what our dogs eat today and the link between diet and inflammation.

One of the hallmarks of most dog foods is that they contain substances like corn oil, vegetable oil, and beef fat products.  These fatty substances contain an abundance of a group of  oil  molecules called omega-6 fatty acids (omega-6 PUFA’s).

These oils and fats are known to increase inflammation in the body. But, we don’t see it, since it is happening microscopically.

However, there is another piece to this puzzle.  Omega-6 fatty acids only produce inflammation if the diet contains low levels of omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3’s are found in fish oil, krill oil, some berries, and certain plant oils (hemp, flax, perilla and others).

It turns out that our dog’s ancestors (in the Paleolithic area) ate a diet that had about the same amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

So, to offset excessive omega-6 fatty acids in modern diets, we need to start paying attention to what our dogs eat.  Lean meats are better than fatty ones.  Less processed foods usually contain less omega-6 fatty acids too, since they usually have less animal fat, vegetable oil and corn oil.

Supplementing with fish oil and krill oil can increase the amount of omega-3’s in your dog’s diet too.

Mother nature has also provided us with substances that decrease inflammation in the body.  These are included in the Apocaps formula.


Dr D

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