KetoPet Sanctuary has tested using a ketogenic diet as therapy in dogs with cancer. Part 3 looks at practical applications of ketosis for dogs at home.
KetoPet Sanctuary (KPS) has demonstrated the utility of a canine diet that induces a state of nutritional ketosis. When strictly adhered to and monitored, a ketogenic diet (KetoDiet) has been shown to increase the efficacy of standard of care and adjunctive treatments, thus prolonging survival and quality of life in canine cancer patients. While the stringently-controlled conditions at KPS cannot be replicated in a home environment, nutritional ketosis can be achieved and monitored by committed dog owners. In combination with integrative therapies, results that align with those at KPS can often be achieved.
Empowering the dog parent
Ketosis is a nutritionally-induced metabolic state in which the body preferentially uses ketone bodies as energy. Ketosis is achieved by fasting, caloric control, and/or control of macronutrient ratios (high fat/adequate protein/low carbohydrate). In the overwhelming fight for survival during cancer, diet is an accessible tool available to all pet owners. No one can fully control the cause or outcome, but dog parents can control what they put in their pets’ mouths, which can provide them with a sense of empowerment in the care of their canines.
Nutritional ketosis and chronic disease
Modern dogs are burdened with a variety of physiological and metabolic challenges due to the dramatic difference between the nutritive profiles of rendered, high glycemic-response kibbles and any possible, accessible nutrient profile found in nature.1 High-heat processed feeds (kibble and canned) are contaminated with heavy metals,2 excessive levels of minerals,3,4 fat soluble vitamins,5 anti-nutrients,6 carbohydrate levels that inhibit ketosis,7 advanced glycation end products (AGEs)8 and pathogens.9 A shift to fresh low-carbohydrate food decreases exposure to these toxins and metabolically-damaging macronutrient ratios.
With and without additional therapies, nutritional ketosis has resulted in recovery from chronic skin issues, ear infections, odors (mouth and stool), chronic pancreatitis/hyperlipidemia, ocular discharge, chronic bladder stones, UTIs, obesity, arthritis and food allergies (as confirmed with allergy testing), as well as increased energy and mobility.
Dr. Barbara Royal reports an 80% success rate in many of these conditions. However, treatment plans that depend solely on a metabolic component have not been found to be significantly successful in the treatment of cancer. Rather, ketosis has been shown to improve the efficacy of standard of care and integrative oncology therapies while also providing protective benefits to healthy cells.
Dr. Royal has experienced resolution of recurring mast cell skin tumors, hemangiosarcomas, bladder cancers and osteosarcomas in cancer patients that have dramatically exceeded their expected expiration dates, as well as shrinking and stabilizing of lymphoma (perhaps the most notably responsive cancer at KPS) with nearly two years of no progression when chemo wasn’t tolerated. She has also experienced resolution of severe vaccine-induced intractable seizures (uncontrolled by general practice, critical care and neurology veterinarians) after implementing a KetoDiet.
When properly executed and monitored, inducing metabolic ketosis and applying adjunctive integrative therapies with standard of care treatments can result in increased longevity and quality of life when compared to standard of care alone. The positive clinical responses veterinarians have seen, and the intriguing research on ketogenic diets for cancer in human literature, warrant additional investigation into this non-toxic and relatively inexpensive holistic therapy for canine cancer patients. In addition, open-minded veterinarians are trying other adjuvant metabolic therapies (see sidebar). If you are seeking to incorporate integrative therapies with the metabolic component of nutritional ketosis into your treatment plan, these are the tools to research and consider.
Ultimately, the most important factors for success are knowledge, effort and compliance. As with us, the health of our canine companions can be transformed by the food they are fed. The transition from cereal (kibble) or canned diets to fresh feeding (a KetoDiet) can initially seem daunting. In short order, however, it will become habit and seem simple. The KetoDiet can improve a dog’s health on its own, or in conjunction with other therapies, in the treatment of cancer, making the benefits wide-ranging and priceless. Additional resources on how to implement a KetoDiet for canines can be found in Parts 1 and Part 2 of this article, the KetoPet website, and the KetoPet Group and Ketogenic Dog Group on Facebook.29, 30
The authors want to acknowledge the veterinarians, dog parents and advocates who have shared the benefits of KetoDiets for many disease states. To the dog parents of our cases, thank you for sharing your stories.
1Bosch E, Plantinga E, Hendriks, W. “Dietary Nutrient Profiles of Wild Wolves: Insights for Optimal Dog Nutrition”. Researchgate.net, Nov. 2017.
2“Heavy Metal Regulation and Results”, KnowYourPetFood.org
3“Development of AAFCO Mineral Tolerances”. AAFCO
4“Mineral Results”. KnowYourPetFood.org.
5“Animal & Veterinary, Resources for You, Animal Health Literacy, Vitamin D Toxicity in Dogs”. FDA.gov.
6“Phytic Acid and Results, KnowYourPetFood.org.
7“Masood W. “Ketoigenic Diet”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
8Becker, K. “High Heat Processing Creates Higher Levels of Advanced Glycation End Products”. HealthyPets.Mercola.com
9“Pathogen in dry kibbles – CDC Salmonella Outbreaks, 2007, 2012”. Dry Kibble, Diamond. 2008, Mars PetCare Morbidity&Mortality Weekly.
10McLelland J. “How to Starve Cancer”. howtostarvecancer.com.
11“Mistletoe: The Holiday Plant is Making headlines as Alternative Cancer Treatment”. EuroMedFoundation.com.
12“Enhancing anticancer effects, decreasing risks and solving practical problems facing 3-bromopyruvate in clinical oncology: 10 years of research experience”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
13“Metformin and cancer: an existing drug for cancer prevention and therapy”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
14“Statin use and Cancer risk: a comprehensive review”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
15“Vitamin C and Doxycycline: A synthetic lethal combination therapy targeting metabolic flexibility in cancer stem cells (CSCs)”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
16“Repurposing drugs in Oncology (ReDO) – Mebendazole as an anti-cancer agent”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
17“Dichloroacetate (DCA) as a potential metabolic-targeting therapy for cancer”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
18“Dose evaluation safety study in individuals with astrocytoma taking PolyMVA and PolyMVAsurvivors.com”. ClinicalTrials.gov.
19“COX-2 inhibitors in cancer treatment and prevention, a recent development”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
20“Effects of resveratrol, curcumin, berberine and other nutraceuticals on aging, cancer development, cancer stem cells and microRNAs”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
21“Medicinal Mushrooms (PDQ)”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
22“Yunnan Baiyao for Dogs: Chinese Herb for Bleeding Dog Cancers”. DogCancerBlog.com.
23“Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) is the most effective cancer chemopreventative polyphenol in green tea”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
24“Artemisinin and its synthetic derivatives as a possible therapy for cancer”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
25“The current state and future perspective of cannabinoids in cancer biology”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
26“Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and cancer – a review, and Hyperbaric oxygen therapy as adjunctive strategy in treatment of glioblastoma multiforme”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
27“Anticancer effects of high-dose ascorbate on canine melanoma cell lines, and Intravenous Vitamin C for Cancer Therapy – identifying the current gaps in knowledge”. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
28“State of the Art Laser Surgery”. aesculight.com.
29Resources, Read Our eBook (free download), KetoPetSanctuary.com.
30Resources, Create a Ketogenic Diet (free calculator), KetoPetSanctuary.com.