INDEPENDENT NEWS

Breakthrough set to cut cancer deaths in pets

Published: Thu 29 Nov 2001 01:04 PM
Media Release
For immediate release
29 November 2001
Scientific breakthrough set to cut cancer deaths in pets
Scientists have developed a new ‘super-food’ which could lead to dogs and cats living longer and healthier lives.
The discovery follows a major breakthrough which for the first time has allowed animal experts to test for DNA damage in cats and dogs.
Scientists at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition have used the DNA test to develop a unique antioxidant blend or ‘super-food’ which has been proven to promote longevity and resistance to disease in dogs and cats.
The results of the study showed that dogs fed the special blend for two months had 26 percent less DNA damage than dogs eating a conventional diet. Cats displayed 17 percent less DNA damage.
Scientists have linked DNA damage to age-related diseases in pets including cancer, arthritis, heart disease and canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome, known as ‘doggy Alzheimer’s’. DNA damage can be caused by pollution, sunlight and stress as well as by harmful chemicals produced by the animal’s own body in the process of metabolism.
Waltham’s New Zealand spokesperson Jeff Herkt says the new food is made up of a special antioxidant combination of amino acids and vitamins, notably vitamins C and E, which “mop up” DNA-damaging chemicals.
“The DNA in every cell of a cat’s or a dog’s body is damaged every second and it only takes damage or mutation to a single cell to cause a cancer. That makes a reduction of 26 percent in DNA damage a major step forward for the longevity and well-being of our pets.”
New Zealand Kennel Club President Ray Greer welcomed news of the breakthrough, saying it was an exciting development. “Our members will benefit enormously from this nutritional breakthrough, in that their highly prized dogs will have a real chance at longevity of life,” he said.
“It will also give more years of valuable companionship to the many pet owners in this country.”
Specialist pet foods PEDIGREE® and WHISKAS® ADVANCE®, which are sold through vets and pet shops, are already enriched with the antioxidants.
The new DNA testing procedure, known as the Comet Assay in humans and the Waltham DNA Health Index in dogs and cats, follows two years of research and nutritional trials.
Waltham (www.waltham.com) is a global network of leading veterinarians and nutritionists dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of pets. Recognised as the world’s leading authority on pet-care and nutrition, Waltham provides the science behind the pet food brands PEDIGREE and WHISKAS.
ENDS

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