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Old 03-20-2012, 06:09 PM
~Tucker&Me~ ~Tucker&Me~ is offline
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Default Crazy dog food rambling...

Are dogs omnivores or carnivores?

Are there any other animals out there that have a similar digestive system but are smaller (I was thinking rodent-sized) with a shortish lifespan?

As some people may know Tucker has an aggressive form of lymphoma and I have just recently made the switch to a raw diet. I have read in several places that evidence suggests carbs and sugars may feed cancerous cells and speed up the growth of tumours. It was speculated that feeding a diet very low in carbs (raw) would be beneficial to dogs with cancer because it would slow down the cancers growth and essentially 'starve it'.

This makes me wonder about carbs and cancer from more of a lifetime perspective. Is it possible that dogs fed a carb-heavy diet (I'm thinking of some kibble brands lol) are more likely to develop cancer, and at younger ages, than dogs fed a diet much lower in carbs? I know evidence suggests that cancer is partially genetic and partially environmentally caused, which makes me wonder if had Tucker been fed a low-carb diet his entire life, would he have gotten cancer at the age of 12 rather than 8? Would he have gotten cancer at all? Is it possible that the high amount of carbs being processed by the body is causing or triggering the onset of cancer?

I know the thread I made a few days ago asking if there was any scientific evidence of raw being beneficial turned up a very sad number of studies lol. While I think it is difficult to test dogs because keeping a large number in the lab to control for variables is unrealistic, it WOULD be possible to keep, say, rats or mice.

This makes me wonder if there is a small, rodent-type animal with a shorter lifespan who has a comparable system to that of a dog and would be easy to house in a lab? Ferrets came to mind, but I have heard they aren't cheap and they need large enclosures.

I think a study with 30 or so subjects, half being fed raw and half being fed a middle of the line kibble, could maybe give some evidence one way or the other. Let's say that I used a small rodent-type animal with a high litter yield. I could breed two young adults 3-4 times and get 25-35 babies with which to use in the study. This would control for genetic variability. Half of the babies from each litter would immediately be randomly assigned and put on a kibble-type diet or a raw diet once they were weaned off mom.

They would all be kept in the lab and housed the same way, and as they aged, if/when they got cancer would be recorded. At the end of the day, I would look to if either group had more instances of cancer and if either group developed it younger than the other.

Is there another species out there that would be a good substitute for dogs? Is this a totally dumb study and I am just naive?
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:28 PM
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Well, that's assuming the people doing the study are actually concerned about the welfare of the animal. Rabbits and rats also need fairly large enclosures and are regularly tested on in facilities, but they don't get the adequate space and enrichment they'd get with a responsible owner, of course.

Ferrets might be a good idea, but there's also a ton of Beagles in labs being tested on. I'd much rather them be having tests run on them for dog food than blush and perfume. And apparently Marshall Farms, the same people that breed those ferrets, provide many of those Beagles as well, so it wouldn't be a far reach to get them, either.

We have the animals available to us, that's not the issue. I think the problem is funding for the study, and fear of what it might mean for those companies. Think of how many people would stop buying kibble if they were told raw was healthier. They'd lose a lot of money. It's easier to feed into the misconceptions than it is to fix them.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:39 PM
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I've also read that a high fat diet can help fight cancer. Raw (at least the way I do it) = high protein, low carb, high fat.

It's hard to say what raw feeding would do in specific cases without doing a study like you mentioned, but it seems only logical that it would have some affect on the prevalence of cancer in dogs.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:41 PM
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Well, that's assuming the people doing the study are actually concerned about the welfare of the animal. Rabbits and rats also need fairly large enclosures and are regularly tested on in facilities, but they don't get the adequate space and enrichment they'd get with a responsible owner, of course.

Ferrets might be a good idea, but there's also a ton of Beagles in labs being tested on. I'd much rather them be having tests run on them for dog food than blush and perfume.
I want to do the study lol. Or a similar one someday if I could ever get the funding from UBC or something lol. And I do care about the animals... But I also would likely not be given a heck of a lot of funding if I even got it at all. The rats at UBC are currently being housed in pretty small little compartments, unfortunately. I have a picture I will upload later.

The thing with testing it on dogs though is that the study would be MUCH longer - I mean we could be talking 12-16 years or something to accommodate their life-spans.

I guess if we are delving into the should animals be tested on realm that's a whole other can of worms. Personally, I think a study like this would absolutely be worth it because you could potentially be improving the health of many dogs.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:26 PM
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It seems logical to me that yes, something like a raw diet WOULD affect the incidence of cancer. And a whole lot of other diseases as well. I think of my cat - who has had IBD his whole life and is more likely to get cancer now. But being on a raw diet has made his health do a complete 180. Imagine if he would have been put on a raw diet from the get go... he, most likely, never would have had an issue with IBD. Doesn't even have to be raw, I'm sure homecooked could have done the same thing. It's just getting rid of all the unnecessary carbs and other added junk, I think, that benefits them.

It would be nice to have a study to back up raw.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:48 PM
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It's a good idea... rats are prone to cancer so you should be able to see "something" but the problem is that I don't think rats are designed for that much protein.

I guess you could do dog kibble vs raw meat and then see how they did (but neither are species appropriate), or you could do a rodent block vs a raw species-appropriate diet (veggies, bit of meat, insects). But I don't know that you could conclude a whole lot about dogs from your results.

Don't quote me on it but I believe the consensus is that dogs are carnivores, rats are omnivores, ferrets, like cats are obligate carnivores.

Now this would be $$ out the whazoo and so not realistic but probably your best bet would be FCR or some other breed that tends to get cancer at like... 5 years old.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:51 PM
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FYI, ferrets digestive system is NOT like a dogs. Anything that isn't meat in a ferret goes out the same way it goes in. There is absolutely NO benefit to anything other than meet for ferrets. They are much more similar to a cat than a dog. Many things dogs can eat would kill a ferret -- hence dog items being so had for them (shampoos made for dogs can kill them, even)
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily View Post
I've also read that a high fat diet can help fight cancer. Raw (at least the way I do it) = high protein, low carb, high fat.
Interesting, I will look into that!

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It would be nice to have a study to back up raw.
My thoughts exactly!

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It's a good idea... rats are prone to cancer so you should be able to see "something" but the problem is that I don't think rats are designed for that much protein.

I guess you could do dog kibble vs raw meat and then see how they did (but neither are species appropriate), or you could do a rodent block vs a raw species-appropriate diet (veggies, bit of meat, insects). But I don't know that you could conclude a whole lot about dogs from your results.

Don't quote me on it but I believe the consensus is that dogs are carnivores, rats are omnivores, ferrets, like cats are obligate carnivores.

Now this would be $$ out the whazoo and so not realistic but probably your best bet would be FCR or some other breed that tends to get cancer at like... 5 years old.
Something like rats would be great - short lifespan, inexpensive, easy to acquire, high rates of cancer... I wish they had a similar diet to dogs

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FYI, ferrets digestive system is NOT like a dogs. Anything that isn't meat in a ferret goes out the same way it goes in. There is absolutely NO benefit to anything other than meet for ferrets. They are much more similar to a cat than a dog. Many things dogs can eat would kill a ferret -- hence dog items being so had for them (shampoos made for dogs can kill them, even)
Yeah I actually have read that they are obligate carnivores (and forgot until someone mentioned it lol), but I was more trying to make the point that something LIKE a ferret or rat or other similar animal that is a carnivore would be awesome. I see what you are saying though and I know they would be unsuitable to compare with dogs.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:12 AM
JessLough JessLough is offline
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LOL yah, sorry, that was written on my ipod, it wasn't meant to be as... bitchy as it came off I was just at work and not supposed to be on the internet
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:48 AM
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LOL yah, sorry, that was written on my ipod, it wasn't meant to be as... bitchy as it came off I was just at work and not supposed to be on the internet
Haha that is totally ok Actually the main reason ferrets came to mind was because I know that there is some sort of ferret kibble or something for them too... I thought of mink also (they would be easy to get off a mink farm and probably not overly expensive) but again, obligate carnivore. Apparently there is a carnivorous mouse called the Grasshopper Mouse though

So what physiological evidence is there to differentiate between an obligate carnivore and a basic carnivore? I just looked at pictures of a dog skull and a weasel skull and the teeth looked virtually the same (no grinding molars).
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