ENCINITAS — North County pet lovers joined veterinary oncologists Gregory K. Ogilvie, DVM, and David Proulx, DVM, for a lecture about animal cancer prevention and treatment at the Encinitas Library Aug. 6.
As members of the Angel Care Cancer Center, both doctors underscored the hospital’s ultimate goal: combining medical treatment with compassionate care to optimize the animal-patient’s quality of life.
Oglivie acknowledged that the word “cancer” often evokes dire feelings of hopelessness and fear. Some owners become so distraught by a pet’s illness that they immediately turn to euthanasia before weighing alternate possibilities.
The first step to quality care is to dispel false myths about cancer’s chokehold on life. “Most people are unaware that the most common cancers found in pets and humans are also the most treatable.”
While a panacea has yet to revolutionize the medical field, a few essential measures are “vital to the healing process,” insisted Ogilvie. First, nutrition, diet and exercise are key. Proux shared several studies revealing the outstanding affects of omega-3 fatty acids (especially those found in fish oils and DHA from algae) as well as antioxidants from vitamins.
Such supplements heighten patients’ immune systems — in both pets and humans — and simultaneously enhance the effectiveness of radiation therapy while reducing the rate of recurrence. In addition to creating a healthy environment, Oglivie added that, “pet owners ought to educate themselves on animal breeds with genetic predispositions to cancer so that they can mentally prepare for the worst in light of a negative diagnosis.”
Yet unfortunately for many, not every owner successfully dodges the silver bullet. The doctors spent the latter half of the lecture expanding upon modern technology and methods used to treat cancer. In addition to radiation therapy (thus far the most common and effective approach), Proux explained that immunotherapy has become more widely acknowledged for its impressive results.
Used in both humans and pets, the treatment involves injecting patients with virus antigens that stimulate the immune system and mobilize the body’s natural defenses to attack and replace cancerous cells with healthy tissue. At the end of the night, words of encouragement and realistic solutions resonated through the audience, transforming grief into newfound hope.
For more information about cancer prevention and treatment in pets, Proux asked attendees to visit their local veterinarian and explore the Angel Care Cancer Center at cvsangelcare.com.