North Central New Jersey Edition

Why More Pets Are Getting Cancer

GMO Toxins Permeate Pet Foods

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In the late 1990s, the nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, “animal doctor” Michael Fox received many letters about dogs and cats with diarrhea, itchy skin and other persistent disorders. He advised all inquirers to immediately remove foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). Dozens of follow-up thank-you notes verified that his recommendation worked.  

“One of the main reasons I came to the conclusion of blaming GMOs in pet foods for this cluster of health problems is that essentially, nothing else in the health background of these animals had been changing,” says Fox.

Many vets have also reported a rise in pet obesity, skin conditions, inflammation, degenerative disk disease, cancer and even shorter lifespans since late 1996, when GMOs and associated poisons entered America’s food supply. For example, most GMOs like soy, corn and canola are designed by Monsanto to tolerate high doses of its Roundup herbicide. Corn is also engineered to produce an insect-killing poison called Bt-toxin.

Together with pesticides sprayed on or produced inside GMO crops, the side effects from genetic engineering create dangers. Monsanto’s “Roundup-ready” corn has higher levels of putrescine and cadaverine, compounds responsible for dead body odor. They promote bad breath and also can enhance the risk of allergic reactions and cancer.

Getting Cancer from Food

Cancer rates among our country’s 185 million pets are skyrocketing, especially among dogs. Canines have the highest cancer rate of all mammals; in America, about half are struck with the disease.

In 2015, the World Health Organization classified Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, as a “probable human carcinogen.” Insufficient human studies exist, but a goodly number of animal studies confirm that it causes cancer.

Pet owners that notice benefits from changing a pet’s diet can share their story via PetsAndGMOs.com or Pets@ResponsibleTechnology.org. The sooner we realize the hidden dangers, the quicker the market must respond with healthier ingredients.

Preliminary tests commissioned by the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), an educational nonprofit, on the dangers of GMOs, revealed that six popular dog and cat foods contained more glyphosate residues than most human foods.  

Possibly because pets are exposed to Roundup from spraying both foods and lawns, a pilot study by Health Research Institute Laboratories, which tests glyphosate levels in food and environments, found the levels in dogs’ urine were 50 times higher than the average in humans.  

Amazing Recoveries

Numerous veterinarians see good results when pets switch to non-GMO food that’s free of synthetic pesticides. Veterinarian Barbara Royal, owner of The Royal Treatment Veterinary Center, in Chicago and author of The Royal Treatment: A Natural Approach to Wildly Healthy Pets, says, “Allergies, gastrointestinal problems, autoimmune diseases, behavioral problems [and other conditions] improve when we take the animals off of these GMO-laden, glyphosate-ridden foods, and put them on something that’s more organic and natural. It’s a dramatic change.”

In a survey conducted by IRT, 3,256 people that adopted a non-GMO and largely organic diet reported improvements in 28 health conditions, many of which have increased in the U.S. parallel with the growing prevalence of GMOs and Roundup. Further, 80 pet owners cited improvements in status for eight health issues, including digestion, allergies and skin conditions, when their pet’s food was changed.

Plausible explanations include that glyphosate is patented as an antibiotic, and so easily kills beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This could possibly interfere with digestion, detoxification and immunity.

Organic Non-GMO Diet

According to integrative veterinarian Karen Becker, in Chicago, the Healthy Pets expert for Mercola.com, “We know now that animals consuming genetically modified foods… can change the terrain of their GI tract.” Most notably, glyphosate and Bt-toxin are linked to leaky gut—unnatural holes or gaps created in intestine walls.

Veterinarian Marlene Siegel, owner of the Pasco Veterinary Medical Center, in Lutz, Florida, says, “We know that the root cause of most disease is inflammation; and that inflammation is coming from the leaky gut.”

Organic Surpasses Non-GMO

GMOs are not the only crops drenched with Roundup. It’s also sprayed on other foods to dry them, often just a few days before harvest, including wheat, oats, barley and other cereals. It’s also used on lentils, citrus orchards, sunflowers, potato fields and vineyards.

Organic growers and processors are not allowed to use GMOs, Roundup or other synthetic toxins. It’s safest to choose organic; if unavailable, at least buy verified non-GMO.


Jeffrey M. Smith is founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology and its campaign, Protect Pets from GMOs and Pesticides, at PetsAndGMOs.com. Author of the bestseller Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating and Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, his upcoming film, Secret Ingredients, interviews many that recovered from disease after switching to organic food. Also visit NonGMOsImproveHealth.com.


This article appears in the July 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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