Have you noticed how many people are being diagnosed with cancer? The same thing is happening in the domesticated animal kingdom. Malignancies are being found in dogs at an unprecedented rate.
If your pet lives to the age of 10, he or she has a 1 in 2 chance of developing cancer. Head, neck and bone tumors are very common, as is lymphoma. Breast cancer or mammary tumors are also on the rise.
What’s causing all of these tumors? Why are we seeing an increase? Is there something in the environment?
Why aren’t we hearing more about this from mainstream veterinary sources? What’s going on?
Why Do Dogs Get Cancer?
When a dog is found to have cancer, oftentimes, the owners are faced with a dilemma. Should they put their dog through chemo and radiation, two of the treatments that are often recommended? Will this give your dog some extra time? And, if so, how will you afford these treatments?
You should also know that chemo for dogs is not without controversy. Some holistic health experts believe that dogs should have access to non-toxic alternative treatments. However, there’s very little research being conducted into these potentially effective approaches.
Should My Dog Have Chemotherapy?
As with human cancer, much of the studies are designed to get new pharmaceutical drugs onto the market. Also, you should know that cancer drugs are bio-active. This means they can affect humans living in the house. They are excreted in the urine. So you would need to be especially careful when cleaning up accidents.
Personally, I would be extremely careful if I was pregnant. Actually, to be completely honest, I wouldn’t consider chemo drugs for dogs if I were pregnant. If my dog had cancer, I’d only be looking at natural remedies.
Here are some good questions to consider if you’re on the fence about using chemotherapy on your dog. How likely is it that the treatment will work? Will it lead to a cure? What are the side effects? How much will it cost?
Likelihood of Cancer in Dogs
The Holistic Dog Blog is dedicated to dogs and their owners. I want to raise these questions because so many people are now facing them. (Actually, our own dog just turned 16 and was recently diagnosed with probably cancer. We decided against doing a biopsy. We don’t want to put him through that. Also, we want to put all of our resources into natural treatments.
So far so good. Our dogs tumor is on his lower eyelid. This part of his body has always been his weak spot. Even as a young dog, he had a nasty case of cherry eye. This was surgically removed. But, years later, a probably tumor has returned in that same spot. Given his age, we’re definitely treating it with natural remedies.
Canine Cancer Epidemic
Anyone who owns a dog should be aware that canine cancer has reached epidemic levels.
Most importantly, there may be ways of preventing cancer in dogs. I believe there are, and I’ll likely be discussing them in future posts.
I keep hearing more and more about cancer in dogs. Maybe it’s just my imagination. But it appears that many dogs are getting it and that dogs are now dying at relatively young ages.
Please be aware, though, that this is just a guess. I’m not an animal healthcare expert. I’m just a dog Mom trying to do her best with a very elderly dog.
Why Are So Many Dogs Getting Cancer?
This is just a theory. It’s just my theory. I cannot claim to know why dogs are getting cancer. But you should know about a study done in France. It’s a controversial study and it received widespread publicity. Because its findings are so alarming.
The study was conducted at the University of Caen. The scientist who did this research was named Dr. Gilless-Eric Seralini. From what I understand, he forged ahead with this research at great personal cost.
Does Genetically Modified Food Cause Cancer in Dogs?
He found that laboratory rats fed a diet of genetically modified food developed enormous mammary tumors. This is the canine equivalent of breast cancer. Pictures of these rats have circulated on the Internet. They are very concerning. Dr. Seralini believes that similar American research didn’t have a long-enough follow-up period. So the cancers weren’t discovered.
Genetically modified food is now sold throughout America. Humans eat it. So do dogs. If your dog eats corn-based kibble, chances are it’s genetically modified.
How To Avoid GMOs in Dog Food
Of course, more research is needed. More studies are needed to confirm Dr. Seralini’s findings. We also don’t know if dogs are as susceptible to genetically modified foods as this strain of rats appeared to be.
But I know what I’m doing. No more genetically modified food for our dog. We did try to keep his diet relatively GMO free. But I think a few GMOs might have slipped through. Our elderly dog is on a grain food diet. We try to feed him a lot of organic people food. But we supplemented with a new brand of grain-free canned dog food. (Now he eats organic people food and USDA-certified organic canned dog food. Because it’s really hard cooking all of his meals from scratch.)
Which Dog Breeds Get Cancer?
Another potential factor to consider is breeding. There’s been a lot of over breeding. (We don’t see many mutts anymore.) This can lead to genetic problems and weaknesses. Some breeds, such as Golden retrievers, are exceptionally prone to cancer. So are Bernese mountain dogs, Boxers and Cocker spaniels. (Our 16-year-old dog is a Cocker spaniel.)
Nowadays, Golden retrievers are wildly popular. They are beautiful and have a nice temperament. So they make good family dogs. The popularity of this breed may also account for higher cancer rates in dogs.