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Possible Dog Treatments the Cause of Cancer?


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Hi All,

Whilst working away in the week (hence my absence here), I read an interesting article in the latest Honey's Real Dog Food Newsletter (magazine?) about treatments and other things we give dogs potentially causing cancer. This included poor quality food, but what concerned me more was oral treatments for fleas, ticks, and other parasites as well as booster jabs. It also considered chemicals in the home, and I remember it mentioning chemicals that fragrance the air (which I don't use). What are your thoughts on this? It would break my heart to think I'm giving things to my dog which, over time, could shorten his life. Research was cited in this article so it didn't appear to be alarmist.

Unrelated, I was sad to read that world's oldest dog recently passed away :(

Regarding air fresheners, I was once in someone's home and they had one of the ones that plug into an electric socket. Above it was a little ornament shelf, and the paint on the underside had blistered and peeled directly above the air freshener. That's enough to convince me I don't want to be breathing that stuff.

But back to cancer, it's worrying that there's a suggestion boosters could contribute; but it's also important to balance that against the risk of not vaccinating. Parvovirus and Leptospirosis for example are nasty diseases, and can be fatal.

And, how far do you go. Most of us don't have the luxury of being able to walk only in completely pollution free areas, or avoid processed foods entirely (for example Timber scavenged a pizza slice on a walk, and if he found something similar he would without doubt do it again). Then of course there are the risks we don't even know about - for example when new links to carcinogens are found.

I'd never let someone smoke in my house, or give my dog alcohol, or feed him a poor diet, but of course there's still the chance he will be unlucky and get it anyway. Sometimes you just need to do what you can to mitigate the risk, and hope you have done enough.

Sorry, that turned into a bit of a ramble!
Personally I'd want to check out the references that are cited. Almost everything seems to cause cancer if you look hard enough. I've also checked citations for other 'facts' where the original research doesn't back the conclusions drawn in the article. Or the studies involved giving HUGE doses of substances to rats - far more than you'd even give a Great Dane.

We also need to look at the risks associated with not using their treatments - what is the risk of, say, a tick treatment as opposed to Lyme disease? It must be very easy to miss a tick if you have a big hairy black dog. And what are the risks of not vaccinating your dog?

Consider HRT - it's known to increase the risks of some cancers, but many women are prepared to accept that risk because the alternative for them is a rubbish quality of life. Cast your mind back to the scandal over Wakefield's claim that the MMR jab could cause autism - newspapers reporting that would have cited their sources, but the casual reader isn't going to read through the research and/or pick holes in the methodology and conclusions.

Sadly, it's often very difficult to uncover the truth. Studies are likely to have been funded/carried out by people in the pet pharmaceuticals industry, or by organisations that back 'natural' unproven remedies and preventatives, or been poor quality. It's also very difficult to carry out a reliable study on pets - you might find that there's less cancer in dogs who haven't been exposed to these 'chemicals' (a misleading term - everything is a chemical), but they are also more likely to have a good-quality diet and maybe, statistically, be better cared for in general. No one is going to say 'Sure, I'll use these treatments, and feed my dog the exact diet and give it the exact amount of exercise the study requires, and see what happens.'

Another important point is that healthier dogs may be more likely to get cancer because they live a longer life and don't die of other causes. A dog who dies of Lyme disease or leptospirosis is much less likely to develop cancer.

As for home fragrances - eeeugh, I just wouldn't anyway!

Sorry... this is a bit of a 'special interest' for me :oops: Yes, I agree we shouldn't disregard these claims, just as we shouldn't disregard the possibility that HRT can increase the risk of cancer. But we need to be really careful about what conclusions we draw and what actions we take. Many children have lost their lives to measles thanks to Wakefield's totally discredited claims about the MMR jab.
When I think back about our sid ...he was 12 weeks when we got him ...from working parents Jack Russell terrier...he had the best raw food ....exercise every day twice a day ..had the best vet care ...only had wormer twice yearly ...had his vaccination and one booster and then was titre tested ...we dont use airfreshners etc ...yet he was riddled with cancer at 9 years old ....why we dont know ...our vets had put to sleep a 2 year old collie the week before Sid who also had advanced cancer .....the vet didn't have an answer ...
I read an interesting article about the effects of hair dye and cancer links ....
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Everyone/thing has to die of something. Cancer is one of the biggest killers of - everyone/thing. We can only do our best, steer a path through those areas we know or suspect are bad, and try to give our loved ones the best life we can within the parameters of modern living. Also we have no control over inherited tendency to particular illness.
Just something interesting I remembered...

"Osteosarcoma Discovered in a 77-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Bone | Osteosarcoma Institute. New research has led to the first diagnosis of advanced bone cancer in a dinosaur. “The fact that osteosarcoma has been around since the age of the dinosaurs should tell us something."
I think these articles while well meaning and researched to heighten concerns.
I too would not want to do anything that endangers Hoo Bears health.

However many moons ago I worked in a vets as admin. To this day years later I never forget the cases of parvo I witnessed and it has remained vivid to this day. My old boy had his booster for 13 years. I stopped as he was on long term steriods and pointless for vacs when immunity is low.

So I mention my old boy who I lost after Xmas diagnosed with cancer 2 years prior and as 13years old we felt operations and chemo would be cruel and not for him but for us to have him with us longer. In fact we had two more wonderful years with our boy, that are full of wonderful memories.

But to finish I have still not felt I want to give Hoo Bear tablet type flea and tick treatment - somehow spot ons seems to sit better with me!. Plus his puppy vacs had lepto 2 and when I took him to my vet she mentioned his puppy vacs are not compatible with theres and would need redoing. As his puppy vacs were done at vets which is just 14 miles away if my vets still maintains this I will travel. I guess we balance out the rights and wrongs in many ways with the experience of loving our pets.
Thanks all for the thoughtful, and in some cases personal, replies. It's certainly interesting reading, I'll have to revisit this next weekend on my return from work.
@Alexandro can you please try to keep your responses relevant to the thread?

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