JOURNAL ARTICLE

Owners' attitudes and practices regarding nutrition of dogs diagnosed with cancer presenting at a referral oncology service in Ontario, Canada

S Rajagopaul, J M Parr, J P Woods, D L Pearl, J B Coe, A Verbrugghe
Journal of Small Animal Practice 2016, 57 (9): 484-90
27357412

OBJECTIVES: To investigate owner attitudes and dietary practices following cancer diagnosis in a dog.

METHODS: A retrospective cross-sectional survey of 75 dog owners presenting with their dogs to a tertiary referral oncology service through a demographic questionnaire and in-person or telephone interviews regarding the dog's nutrition.

RESULTS: Conventional diets (71%) were most commonly fed as a single diet to canine cancer patients followed by homemade cooked (7%) and homemade raw (4%). Several owners (18%) provided combinations of these diets. Owners reported some distrust towards conventional diets (51%). Appetite loss occurred in 35% of dogs and diet changes reported for 25% of dogs in the study involved exclusion of a conventional (63%) and/or inclusion of a homemade (54%) component. 90% of owners noted the diet change was associated with the cancer diagnosis. Supplements were given by 39% of owners. 85% of owners highly valued veterinary nutritional advice.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Following a cancer diagnosis, dog owners appear to change their approach to managing their dog's nutrition. Given the value owners place on veterinary nutritional advice, veterinarians have a key role in guiding nutritional management of the canine cancer patient.

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