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Features January 2015 Issue

Fish Oil for Dogs with Cancer?

Itís understandable that people would like there to be a dietary component to treating and even curing cancer. We love our dogs and want to be able to do something for them in their time of need. But the incontrovertible fact is that cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of two. And in some breeds, such as golden retrievers, the rate of death attributable to cancer is greater than 50 percent (albeit generally late in life). ďWe donít want pet owners to lose hope,Ē says Cailin Heinze, VMD, DACVN, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist at Tufts. But food is not medicine. Itís food. ďThereís no evidence right now that weíre going to fix anything with diet. Itís so hard when people whose dogs have cancer come to us and feel like the Nutrition Clinic is going to be able to make the difference in how long their pet lives. However, we can help make sure that pet owners are feeding a diet that is as optimized as possible using the knowledge that we do have, whether this be a commercial diet, a home-cooked diet, or a combination.Ē Veterinary nutrition researchers are always looking for the ways in which dietary patterns impact disease, but they simply havenít uncovered anything yet that will change the course of cancerís impact.

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