Dear Daisy Dog
Sue, my 12-year-old spayed Weimaraner, has cancer. I have decided against surgery – my veterinarian feels it’s too invasive, given the tumor’s location – as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Do you have any dietary suggestions?
Studies in canine cancer patients have shown that some diets increase life span and improve quality of life.
From these studies, veterinary cancer specialists offer the following recommendations:
Withhold simple sugars, which promote tumor growth in several ways.
Feed a diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat. Cancer causes protein deficiency, so consider supplementing certain amino acids, the building blocks of protein, like arginine, glutamine and cysteine.
Give fish oil or 3V Caps, which contain the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Studies show that these fatty acids slow the growth of many types of tumors in dogs.
The dose of DHA/EPA for a typical Weimaraner is about two grams per day.
High doses of antioxidants such as vitamins E and C seem to block the effects of DHA and EPA, so don’t give antioxidant supplements.
Conjugated linoleic acid, another fatty acid, slows tumor growth in rats. Studies are underway in dogs, because researchers think it might act like DHA.
A prescription diet known as n/d is formulated for cancer patients. It is high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrates, with omega-3 fatty acids and arginine added.
3V Caps are available through your veterinarian and other sources of pet supplies, and fish oil and the other products mentioned are sold in vitamin and health food stores.