When Mose was first diagnosed with cancer I went into shock…grief and shock. My husband and I cried all night and every time I looked at my dog my heart broke. The next day I was angry…and determined to do whatever I could to stave off the progression of the growing tumor. I researched anti cancer treatments and asked Facebook support groups for suggestions. Food and diet were first on the list. So I immediately put Mose on an anti cancer diet.
I found the website dogcancerblog.com which provides a ton of tips, ideas, facts and programs to fight cancer. They sent me a free download with their philosophy on the proper diet for all dogs, but most especially those with cancer. The diet is an excerpt from their book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. I have implemented many of their suggestions along with learnings from other experts. This post is the first of a series leading to the diet I have implemented for Mose.
We have always fed Mosey what I thought was a healthy diet. A high quality, organic dry food along with “treats” made from wholesome ingredients. He also always got “bites” from our meals. He loved bread dipped in extra virgin olive oil. I am a food blogger and use organic/sustainable, local ingredients in our meals so I was ok with him eating what we ate. Meat, fowl and seafood is grass-fed, organic and grain free and/or wild caught. So I felt pretty comfortable with the diet we fed him all his life. Imagine my dismay when the first thing I read regarding an anti cancer diet was to go grain free.
From the Dog Cancer Diet:
“You’ll see very few grains in the ingredient list. There are also no added sugars. Most grains and sugars are absent because they are not part of a dog’s natural diet. Perhaps more important, most grains can feed cancer. Let me explain. Grains and sugars are packed with starches and simple carbohydrates, otherwise known as simple sugars. Cancer cells love simple sugars. They feast on simple sugars. They grow stronger and faster on a diet of simple sugars. In other words, cancer is a junk food junkie.
Very few dog lovers actually feed their dog pure sugar, but many feed their dog simple carbohydrates without realizing it.
Most forms of corn and wheat break down very easily into simple sugars. If you look at the ingredient list on most commercial dog foods, corn and/or wheat are often first on the list.
Cancer is a junk food junkie. Cancer thrives on a diet full of sugar. Cutting out any foods that are sugary – or that break down easily into simple sugars – is very important. Most forms of corn and wheat break down into simple sugars, and these are often major ingredients in some commercial pet foods and treats.
Even dog lovers who feed their dog homemade food often include carbohydrate-rich potatoes, peas, corn and carrots in their meals. The body breaks these vegetables down very quickly into simple sugars.Because simple sugars feed cancer, I advise you to avoid carbohydrates and sugars in your dog’s diet. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, can be a good source of energy for your dog’s body while she fights cancer. Oatmeal and brown rice are both good sources of energy. There is even some evidence that the polysaccharides in their bran are cancer-fighters!”
So we have eliminated all grains from Mosey’s diet. I shudder to think that I used to make him homemade treats from organic white, wheat and corn flour sweetened with honey. I thought because I used organic ingredients I was doing a good thing. I am trying so hard to stop feeling guilty. The excuse of “I just didn’t know” rings hollow. I now feed him a mix of dry and canned food from a very high quality grain free brand called Taste of the Wild. Their philosophy is to create meal blends delivering the proper mix of protein, fruits & vegetables and natural antioxidants similar to what canines would eat in the wild. Mosey needs a combination of dry and canned food because an all soft diet causes very loose stools. (his whole life…not a result from the cancer) This mixture is supplemented with poached chicken or fish, steamed cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale or swiss chard (I will discuss reasons why in a separate post) and flax-seed oil stirred into a 1/4 cup cottage cheese.
The cottage cheese and flax-seed oil blend comes from another source…The Budwig Diet officially known as the
Dr Johanna Budwig Anti-Tumor Diet
The philosophy for this diet comes from Dr Budwig’s belief that mixing cottage cheese with flaxseed oil (called quark) can stop or reverse cancer.
“One of the keys in the Budwig diet is consuming foods that offer nutrients that help cells absorb oxygen. Dr. Otto Warburg received the Nobel Prize in 1931 for discovering that when cells can no longer absorb oxygen, cancer can develop. Dr. Budwig built on that knowledge and was the first to develop a diet and protocol that restores cells to
At the heart of the Budwig diet is organic, cold pressed, liquid flax-seed oil blended with cottage cheese or “quark.” Dr. Budwig discovered that when these two foods are blended together, the sulfurated protein components in the cheese, such as cysteine, bond with the oil, making it more water-soluble and easier to digest and metabolize.
Consequently, more of the essential fatty acids and electrons in the highly unsaturated flax-seed oil reach the cells and have a healing effect on the cell membrane where carcinogens attach themselves. The membrane of each cell is made up of lipids. Flax seed oil can improve this important outer cell lining that is crucial to cell function and division.” (from canine cancer.com)
The good news is he absolutely loves this diet. Is it doing any good? I hope and pray that it is. There is so much more to an anti cancer diet. Future posts will discuss raw foods, protein, supplements, properly cooking meat and vegetables, proper weight for pets with cancer, ideas for dogs who won’t eat and holistic options. Please note, I am not a Dr or in any way an expert. I review any changes I want to implement to Mose’s diet with our local vet and our oncologist. In many cases we are learning together. Please discuss any changes you want to make to your dog’s diet with your vet prior to making the changes. Different drugs will react differently with food and supplements so be careful!
Diane and Mose
Many of you know Mosey and I went to the Flint Animal Cancer Center for radiation therapy. He was not a candidate for Stereotactic radiosurgery so we opted for a palliative version. (read more here) but the kindness, professionalism and talent of the team there will never be forgotten. I saw this article today and felt it was worth sharing:
by Coleman Cornelius
A family of devoted dog-lovers concerned about cancer has continued a legacy of commitment by pledging $10 million to the Colorado State University Flint Animal Cancer Center, where the momentous gift will nearly double operational funds in support of renowned work to conquer cancer in both animals and people.
Nan and Brett Stuart, Carnation Milk Co. heirs who live in Longmont, Colo., have donated $10 million to the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, the worlds largest center focused on treatment and research of cancer in pet animals. They are shown with a bronze sculpture of their father, Hadley Stuart, and center founder Dr. Steve Withrow.
The gift comes from the Hadley and Marion Stuart Foundation, led by siblings Nan and Brett Stuart of Longmont, Colo., and is the single largest contribution in the history of CSU’s Flint Animal Cancer Center. The donation also will complete the funding of two endowed academic chairs.
With their $10 million donation to the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, Nan and Brett Stuart continue the legacy of their father, Hadley Stuart, who is depicted in a sculpture at the center.
Since 1983, when E. Hadley Stuart first brought one of his golden retrievers to CSU for cancer care, the Stuart family has provided a total of about $22 million for the Animal Cancer Center’s research and clinical treatment of naturally occurring canine cancers. The center has grown to house the world’s largest group of scientists studying cancer in pets, and much of its work suggests new approaches in human cancer treatment.
“This new gift reflects Hadley Stuart’s legacy and the close 30-year relationship we have so greatly appreciated between the Stuart family and the CSU veterinary cancer program,” said Dr. Rodney Page, a medical oncologist and director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center. “This gift will truly sustain our work, and we cannot sufficiently express our gratitude to the Stuart family.”
Dr. Stephen Withrow, an acclaimed surgical oncologist and center founder, often calls the CSU Animal Cancer Center the “House that Hadley Built,” a nod to the seminal support provided by the late Hadley Stuart and his family foundation. Withrow, a University Distinguished Professor, is transitioning to retirement.
The Hadley and Marion Stuart Foundation was established by heirs to the founder of Carnation Milk Products Co., a family dairy turned industry-leading food company best-known for its condensed milk. The company’s concern about animal well-being was embodied in the promise of “milk from contented cows.” Nestle S.A. acquired Carnation Co. in 1985.
Nan Stuart supports the Cancer Center’s ‘translational’ work, which sheds light on cancer in pets and people.
For Hadley Stuart’s descendants, concern about animal well-being has largely focused on supporting cancer treatment in dogs and the scientific quest for a cancer cure. Cancer is a leading cause of death in both dogs and people, with many similarities between species.
“This level of support sets the cancer center on a sustainable path as a leading innovator in translational cancer research and patient care,” Page said, referring to discoveries in animal cancer that translate to human medicine. “It creates possibilities for pursuing exciting opportunities in cancer care and cancer research in perpetuity.”
The $10 million gift also will add to endowments for the Stephen J. Withrow Presidential Chair in Oncology, which is held by Page, and the Stuart Chair in Oncology, which is held by Withrow. Academic chairs are mechanisms for funding the research laboratories and emerging discovery efforts of eminent faculty members.
During a recent visit to CSU, benefactor Nan Stuart said she and her brother were motivated to donate $10 million to continue their father’s interest in veterinary training, cancer treatment and leading-edge research at the Flint Animal Cancer Center.
Her own interest is personal: One of her beloved golden retrievers, Keester, suffers from brachial neurofibrosarcoma, a malignant nerve sheath tumor off the spinal cord. A CSU team, known to Stuart as “Team Keester,” developed a new radiation protocol and rehabilitation plan that reduces pain for the 8-year-old dog.
This treatment has been essential because Keester and Stuart’s other golden retrievers are active, award-winning service dogs that are highly trained to perform emergency rescues from swift water and ice. Stuart’s dogs have helped to train thousands of emergency responders through Code 3 Associates of Longmont, a nonprofit Stuart founded to provide professional animal disaster response and training.
If Keester were completely sedentary, her quality of life would plummet, Stuart said. The Stuart family – whose golden retrievers “are as important to us as food and water” – has had three other dogs treated at the Flint Animal Cancer Center for hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive tumor of the blood vessels, Nan Stuart said. It has provided the family an inside look at the center’s work.
“Our cancer team is the most fantastic group of people imaginable. It’s phenomenal,” Stuart said.
Like her father before her, Stuart said, she wholeheartedly believes in the CSU center’s mission to treat cancer in pets while also pursuing scientific discoveries that hold promise for curing cancer in all species.
For instance, Withrow developed a limb-sparing surgical technique to treat osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of long bones in dogs. This technique revolutionized osteosarcoma treatment in dogs and has been widely adopted at human cancer centers, significantly increasing the likelihood that children diagnosed with osteosarcoma will be cured. The work demonstrates how canine cancer research has a far-reaching influence on human medicine.
“The best cancer work,” Stuart said, “is right here.”
About the Flint Animal Cancer Center
- Opened in 2002, the center houses the world’s largest group of scientists studying cancer in pets, with more than 100 faculty clinicians, staff members and veterinary students.
- The center books about 6,000 appointments per year and provides an additional 3,000 consultations by phone and email.
- It has trained more surgical, medical and radiation oncologists than any other veterinary institution.
- Demonstrating the relevancy of its work to human cancer, the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center has attracted funding from the National Cancer Institute for more than 30 consecutive years. The center collaborates with the NCI and University of Colorado Cancer Center, among others.
For more information, click here.
Diane and Mose
Mosey has had such a tough time the past two weeks. We came home from the unsuccessful trip to Ft. Collins and he was doing really well. Happy, energetic, huge appetite. Then a week ago Tuesday he woke up listless and not interested in food. He finally ate but was quiet all day. Wednesday he seemed fine…gobbled up his food and wanted to go on a walk. That afternoon he started vomiting and this continued all night. The following morning he was listless with such a sad look on his face that I really felt he was saying goodbye.
I have joined so many support groups for people dealing with cancer in their pets. Every post says the same thing. “You will know when it is time. Your pet will give you a look and you will just know” The problem is…I don’t. Last Thursday, when he was so sick, I thought “this is it”. I phoned the vet who asked us to immediately bring him to the hospital . She said that her first priority was to make him comfortable. Once that happened we would make the call. (I cannot seem to say the words…”put him to sleep” “euthanasia.” I just keep saying things like “his time” or “time to say goodbye” but you know what I really mean.) Anyway, they put him on IVs for fluids and anti-nausea drugs. The vet phoned me in the afternoon and said that they had given him some baby food and chicken which he ate and had kept down. She said that if he continued to improve I could take him home that night.
I brought him home around 5:30 pm and kept him on a bland diet and anti-nausea drugs for the next few days. He looked totally fine…back to a big appetite, energy, happy dog. Monday was a warm, beautiful day so we brought Mosey to the park. He ran around chasing tennis balls and looking like his normal self. I was so very happy. But…in this horrible roller coaster of canine cancer…the happiness was short lived. Mosey woke up Tuesday with low energy. He hesitated before he ate, then finished his breakfast but slept all day. Yesterday was the same. Today, Thursday, he has no interest in food, no energy and just looks so sad. I fear this is the end…this is the “he will tell you” bit that I was fearfully waiting for…but I am just not sure. He will eat bits of chicken..as much as I hand feed him. He perked up for a bit when we went to view the progress on an addition we are having built. (He loves the attention he gets from the construction guys). He is still drinking water. The vet told me he will have good days and bad. Are these “bad” days with good ones to follow? Or is this the end? I honestly don’t know and am so afraid of making the wrong call.
They say that a day too early is better than a day too late and I don’t want Mosey to be in any pain. But what if there is no pain but his quality of life is gone? If he no longer enjoys food…or playing…or walks…or chasing his favorite tennis ball? Is that a life? Am I keeping him here for me…or for him?
I don’t know the answer today. But I need to figure it out really fast. I have decided to give it the rest of the day and , if he shows no improvement by tomorrow morning, take him to the vet for a second opinion. It is possible we may be saying goodbye tomorrow. Please pray for us and keep us in your thoughts. Pray that Mosey is pain free and that his journey is peaceful. Pray that I have the courage to do what is right. God…I hate cancer!
Diane & Mosey
Diane & Mose
January 19, 2014