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Communicating nutrition to pet parents of cancer patients

Kansas City

The role of food in supporting pets through cancer treatment

Sponsored by Hill's Pet Nutrition

In a recent session at the Fetch dvm360 Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, Vicky Ograin, MBA, RVT, VTS (Nutrition), discussed the importance of nutrition for pets with cancer. She emphasized that proactive nutrition discussions with pet owners at diagnosis can help pets live longer. She recommended that discussions about nutrition should begin early, immediately after diagnosis, to ensure the pet is on a balanced diet that doesn’t interfere with treatment.1

She stressed that a complete, balanced, and high-quality diet is crucial for pets undergoing treatment, whether it’s chemotherapy, radiation, or no treatment at all. She warned against adding extra items to the pet’s diet that could unbalance it and potentially be detrimental to the pet’s health during treatment.

Ograin shared a case study of a pet with cancer whose owner went overboard with feeding, which unfortunately unbalanced the diet and could have negatively impacted the pet’s treatment. She hopes this real-life example will resonate with others in the field and underscore the importance of proper nutrition management for pets with cancer.

She introduced a new food product from Hill’s Pet Nutrition called Prescription Diet ONC Care, designed to support pets as they navigate through cancer treatment. This food is complete and balanced, comes in both dry and canned forms, and is suitable for both dogs and cats. It’s high in calories, easily digestible, and contains high levels of fatty acids and L-carnitine to help maintain lean muscle mass. It also includes appropriate levels of amino acids and a prebiotic mix to support gastrointestinal health. Most importantly, it’s highly palatable, which is crucial for pets with decreased appetite due to their condition.

She concludes by reiterating the role of veterinary professionals in helping pet parents navigate through this challenging time. Ensuring the pet is on a complete and balanced diet is paramount, as it can significantly impact the effectiveness of treatment and overall well-being of the pet.


  1. Ograin V. Communicating Nutrition to Pet Parents of Cancer Patients. Presented at Fetch dvm360® Conference; Kansas City, Missouri. August 25-27, 2023.
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