Landmark Study Confirms Cancer is Top Cause for Dog Death

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

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Landmark Study Confirms Cancer is Top Cause of Dog Death

A study done in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine backs up the fact that canine cancer is now the number one cause of death in dogs.

Data from 74,556 dogs over 20 years (1984-2004) were analyzed. This data was archived for the National Cancer Foundation’s Veterinary Medical Database, and then surveyed.  27 veterinary hospitals across the country contributed.

There is no single cause for this.  Certainly there are breed (genetic) issues at play.  It could be that age of death is a factor.  However, there is more to this picture.

Diet, lifestyle, and environmental issues are likely culprits.  In immigrants coming into the US, their cancer rates end up matching that of the Americans.  This combines with other research tells us that diet, lifestyle, and environmental issues are major culprits of cancer.

Here is an excerpt from the National Cancer Institute’s SEER program: “Between 1975 and 2003, a number of studies were published…Their conclusions have been remarkably uniform. The studies found that cancer incidence patterns among first-generation immigrants were nearly identical to those of their native country, but through subsequent generations, these patterns evolved to resemble those found in the United States. ”

This tells us that we should pay much more attention to diet, environmental issues, and lifestyle in our dogs.  To learn much more about how to reduce your dog’s risk factors, see The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.


Dr D


About the Author: Demian Dressler, DVM

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.

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