Effects of Dietary Protein and Other Nutritional Factors on Canine Cancer

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Hasler, Diana Elizabeth
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Cancer is a major cause of illness and death in both human and canine populations. Many cancers can be prevented by consuming a proper diet. This study worked on preliminary aspects of the Morris Animal Foundation’s Canine Lifetime Health Project, or CLHP, which will follow 3,000 Golden Retrievers throughout their lifetime to determine nutritional, genetic, and environmental risk factors of cancer development. The present study set out to validate the nutritional section of the CLHP’s questionnaire using a daily food intake diary for four consecutive days. Diaries were distributed to owners of 25 dogs—22 of them were returned. The frequency of consumption of commercial dog foods and home-prepared foods were examined. Every subject consumed commercial dry foods on a regular basis, while only four consumed canned food during the four-day period. No dogs ate home-prepared foods as a main source of nutrients on a daily basis. The main source of protein in the predominantly dry commercial dog food intake was white meat. The frequency and types of home-prepared foods fed to the dogs were also analyzed. The main ingredients in commercial foods and home-prepared foods consumed were compared with that of the dogs in the Golden Retriever National Health Survey, or GRNHS. The outcomes of both studies were very similar. The weights of individual dogs were compared to food intake in terms of type of food and volume, as well as to their breeds’ average weights. Many insights were obtained from this preliminary study that may be beneficial to the CLHP in terms of nutrition—especially the different types of protein fed to dogs on a regular basis. For example, dogs that consume red meat as their primary source of protein as opposed to white meat or plant material are expected to have higher rates of cancer. It will also be very important to observe energy balance in terms of food intake and physical activity, as obesity has detrimental effects on health in both dogs and humans.
iv, 33 p.
Kalamazoo College
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