An holistic approach for cancer prevention in companion animals
Cancer. The big C. It’s become so much more common in our pets over the past 20 years or so. It’s something that we all dread when it comes to our pets! The good news is that there is a hell of a lot that you can do to help prevent cancer. An holistic approach to your pet’s whole life from the day you get them can make cancer much, much less likely.
However, no matter how old your pet is, or what you’ve done or not done, there is no time like the present to make the changes I’m suggesting in this blog.
What can you do to make it less likely in your beautiful furry friends? Or preferably prevent it altogether?
I’m going to break this down into a series of sub-sections, in no particular order. They are all important!
Selecting a breed that has strong, healthy genetics, with a low coefficient of Inbreeding (COI) is an important first step. If you;re looking at purebred dogs, ask the breeder what the COI is for the litter, and for the parents, and ask how many generations of data they used to calculate it. (Hint: they should be going back at least 8-10 generations, 20 is ideal.)
The COI should be below 5% – anything more than this, and you’re going to be running head-on into health issues, both subclinical (lack of vitality etc.) and overt. The sad fact of the matter is that the average COI for nearly all pure-bred dogs is above 5% and only 4 breeds in an extensive list are less than 10%! Jack Russel Terriers are one of the healthiest breeds, genetically speaking.
Crossbred mutts are generally more genetically healthy. Designer dogs (oodles etc) are generally not, as because of the severe prejudice in pure breeding circles against cross-breeding, it’s often the case that the poorest genetics from both breeds are crossed.
Avoid very inbred breeds like bull terriers, basenjis, dobermans, boxers etc (and this is by no means an exhaustive list – see link #2 at the bottom of this article for a heads up on which breeds to avoid). The COI for way more than half of all purebreeds is larger than 25%. Very bad!
If you have a purebreed with a high COI- then all the rest of what I’m suggesting becomes even more important…
Avoid all processed foods (especially kibble) like it’s the awful slow poison for your pets that it is. Awful cheap ingedients, meat and bone meals that have been proicessed at very high temperatures, very high levels of starch. I could write a whole book about why processed food is the worst thing you can do for your pets’s health, vitality and longevity.
I suggest feeding a fresh whole foods diet – raw (preferably) or home-cooked. Organic if you can afford it. You can’t go wrong with the BARF diet- there are stacks of recipes out there.
Add in supplements like blueberries or green tea steeped in cold water for antioxidants. There are a stack of other supplements, I recommend that you use whole plant or animals supplements, not synthetics.
Minimise (or avoid) vaccination
Vaccinations can be a lifesaver- and they can also tip dogs with poor genetics over the edge very quickly. I suggest that you talk to a vet (I am available to help with this) about what to do in your situation, as the risks of each disease need to be assessed. Puppy vaccination schedules can also be adapted, but again I can’t give advice without know a lot about your unique context.
The bottom line is that many, many pets are terribly over-vaccinated, and I believe that this significantly increases the risk of cancer. Always titer test your dogs before re-vaccinating! And if you do need to vaccinate, support your dogs through it with homeopathy, supplements etc.
Many of the long-acting flea/tick prevention chemicals are poisonous, and a significant number of dogs are injured or killed by them every year. I would never give my animal any of the isoxazalines to my animals- Bravecto, Nexgard, Simparica, Credelio, Revolution plus).
For tick prevention, when I lived int a paralysis tick area, I used an old school, organophosphate tick collate- the Killtix one. And checked my animals all over every day. At least with this chemical, if there is toxicity, there is an antidote.
I also never give any flea treatment unless I see a flea. I don’t ever give them month in/month out.
You can treat your yard with nematodes, and using diatemacioues earth can work too. Sometimes the only thing that will get rid of them is to use an insecticide. I rarely use Comfortis with my animals (and yes, this can cause harm too, though I believe it is safer: none are without risk!).
With healthy adult animals in a household without little kids with poor hygiene skills (like mine), I would only gut worm my animals every 1-3 years (if that). With kids in the house, every three months is a good idea. I recommend Drontal.
You need to remove as much toxic load as you can form your pets life
- No plastic bowls, no plastic toys
- Remove all artificial fragrances from your home – no air fresheners! All the air fresheners, including nearly all scented candles, have artificials in them. These are endocrine disruptors and are linked to increased incidence of cancers. You need to read labels of all household, laundry and perfumes etc – anything with the ingredients ‘parfum’ or ‘fragrance’ needs to go in the bin. Drier wafers are particularly bad
- Reduce exposure to EMF radiation from wireless routers etc.
- Reduce exposure to artificial light, especially light from screens after dark – and make sure your pets get as much exposure as possible to raw (unfiltered, not inside windows etc) sunlight as possible.
This is where you come in – you need to keep your stress levels low! And if you have a dog who stresses, there is a lot that can be done to help them naturally- contact me if you need help!
Only give when absolutely necessary. But don’t be crazy about it- because when your pet needs them, they really need them! And get onto a good holistic vet. If you don’t have one nearby, then have your regular vet AND a holistic vet you work with by video or phone.
Ok- that’s a pretty good run-through of what to do to prevent cancer – or at least reduce the risk.
I’ll be back next week to talk about holistic treatment of cancer!
Links for deeper research…
COI of different pure breeds (scary reading!!!)