VCA Animal Hospitals

Can a supplement help prevent cancer in my dog?

Published: Oct 04, 2012

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Just as the incidence of cancer has become more common in humans, cancer in dogs is also occurring more often. In fact, according to WebMD Pets, cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10. And, reports that the disease is responsible for about half of all canine deaths.

Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to cancer, especially purebreds such as Golden Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Boxers.

Pet health experts say dog spaying is one of the best ways to prevent your pet from developing certain hormone-dependent forms of the disease. However, many vets also suggest vitamins and nutritional supplements to boost your dog's immune system and can help reduce his likelihood of developing cancer.

According to, supplements including omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA), selenium, bioflavonoids, bromelain, amino acids (such as arginine and glutamine) and vitamins A, B, C, D and E may be beneficial in cancer prevention.

Scientists are also studying other supplements such as curcumin and artemisinin to determine if they can help ward off the disease.

According to, in 2008, Americans spent $1.4 billion on supplements for animals. While many veterinarians support the use of supplements in dogs, they also caution owners to be careful when choosing and purchasing these products for their animals.

Vets say choosing supplements that carry a label from the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) is important in maintaining your pet's safety. The NASC is a non-profit trade organization comprised of companies providing health and nutritional supplements that comply with a set of guidelines for good manufacturing practices.

"Some clients want to purchase supplements from wholesale stores, but there is little regulation and you don't know what's in it," veterinarian Dr. Carmine Bausone told the website. "It is better to purchase supplements created for animals when that is the patient they are intended for. I carry everything I prescribe to patients or suggest they purchase the supplement carrying the NASC label. Some supplements, especially Chinese herbs, may carry high levels of lead, mercury or other toxins, depending on where they are grown."

Those who want to utilize pet supplements for their cancer-fighting properties should speak with a veterinarian to determine which substances are likely to be the most beneficial for their pet. He or she may also suggest dietary changes and can help develop a personalized supplement plan.


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.