Monday, April 23, 2012

Nutrition for Pets with Cancer Lap of Love

Nutrition for Pets with Cancer
Marguerite E. Voorhees DVM PhD DOM

There is significant quality research today to show that pets with cancer can benefit significantly from a nutritional plan that supports health while inhibiting the growth and spread of cancerous cells.

For my patients with cancer I work to help caregivers make healthful upgrades to their pet’s nutrition, but I discourage sudden or dramatic changes.  Changes that are too sudden can overwhelm the animal and make them weak or cause vomiting, loss of appetite, or diarrhea.  These can become more or less serious consequences, depending on the stage of the cancer and the particular complications. 

It is very important that the pet continue to eat and maintain weight, so changes are made gradually in a series of upgrades through a hierarchy of levels of nutrition that run from kibbled or canned (better) high to low carbohydrate commercial foods to homemade cooked foods and even to raw foods depending on signs and symptoms and what the animal is willing to accept and capable of digesting.

Most commonly, I recommend conversion as soon as possible from a commercial diet to a homemade cooked diet with high protein, moderate fat, and low carbohydrate levels.  Caregivers are guided to select and prepare wholesome ingredients in appropriate proportions usually in the form of a stew.   A crockpot can make this super easy.  Homemade cooked diets are generally very palatable, digestible, nourishing, and therapeutic.   

Many clients enjoy preparing fresh home cooked meals for their pets as a way to express their caring which adds all the more nourishment to the food.  
Depending on the tolerance of the cancer patient for nutritional supplements these may be added in gradually and may include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, antioxidants, and beneficial spices and herbs. 

A well-designed plan for improved nutrition for your pet with cancer should be formulated under the guidance of a veterinary professional.    If you are interested in improving the diet of your pet with cancer, please be sure to ask your veterinarian for help. 

Lap of Love also has a wonderful Pet Nutrition Specialist, Jodi Ziskin,  that performs phone consultations to clients interested in learning how to home cook for their pets:  CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO!

Blog by:
Dr. Marguerite Voorhees
Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice
Dr. Marguerite helps families in the Sarasota and North Fort Myers area.

Blog posted by Mary Gardner, DVM
Photos of Neo - Dr. Gardner's doberman who had cancer and was on a home cooked meal

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