Pre-Conference Workshop

Nutrition, herbs (including marijuana) and supplements:
Their impact on patient quality of life and outcome

Thursday, October 26th
8:30 am – 12:00 pm
$50 for all attendees

Pre-conference schedule

8:30 – 9:30 am     Dr. Nadav Lelkes

9:30 – 10:00  am        Morning break

10:00 – 12:00 pm     Dr. Donna Raditic

Dr. Donna M. Raditic

Dr. Donna M. Raditic

Presenter #1:  Donna M. Raditic, DVM, DACVN, CVA

Part 1:  Improving QOL and Outcomes with Nutrition

Veterinary oncologists face multiple questions and challenges from pet owners looking for ‘cancer’ diets and/or supplements. We need to rely on scientific evidence yet at the same time we cannot overlook the client’s perspective. It has been reported that human oncology patients use nutrition, supplements, and natural products to empower themselves, attempt to take control of their health, and increase quality of life. With the strength of the human animal bond, it is logical to respect these same emotions when an owner is facing cancer in their pet.

Owners are highly motivated to be a part of the health care of their pet with cancer and they are often looking for nutritional recommendations. Logical nutritional plans and dietary options that can improve patient quality of life will be discussed. We find regardless of final outcome, owners are exceedingly grateful and more satisfied when their pet with cancer is treated with a plan that integrates thoughtful nutrition and/or supplements with conventional therapies.

Part 2:  Integrative Veterinary Oncology

In 2014 the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Care (NCCIH) stated that complementary approaches are no longer considered an ‘alternative’ to conventional medical care, but are used in combination to provide what is defined as integrative health care. Complementary approaches include herbs, dietary supplements, acupuncture and other modalities that are rational and supported by evidence to alleviate physical symptoms, improve quality of life (QOL) and prevent disease.

Herbs and dietary supplements (HDS) are the most accessible form of complementary and alternative therapy. The NCCIH also reported that more than half of Americans today are taking some form of herb or dietary supplement. In veterinary oncology, a study reported that 67% of clients used supplements with their pets; it was determined the use of complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) was commonplace in this population.

A growing pet owner demand for the consideration and use of HDS in the veterinary oncology patient can be challenging. The evidence based medicine in the literature, an overview of common HDS, and the safe use of HDS in oncology patients will be discussed.


Dr. Nadav Lelkes

Dr. Nadav Lelkes

Presenter #2:  Nadav Lelkes, MD

Cannabis and Cancer

60% of voting Americans are in favor of the legalization of marijuana and twenty-six US states have legalized cannabis for medical and/or recreational use as of the beginning of 2017.  Meanwhile, our newest attorney general says, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” With the polarizing and changing landscape of marijuana legalization, more and more patients and families are hearing about the use of cannabis to treat a variety of ailments. From controlling symptoms such as nausea, anorexia and anxiety to treatment of cancer itself, medical marijuana is gaining popularity. It is possible that some of your patients have been given marijuana products, whether you know about it or not.

What information do we actually have to help guide our patients? In this talk, I will briefly discuss the history of medical marijuana, basic pharmacology of marijuana and cannabinoids, and what data we have to support or refute its use in our patients. I will discuss how my patients obtain their “medication” and what regulations do (or do not) exist on this market. I will also explain how I approach this controversial conversation in pediatric hematology and oncology, a population in which many of our patients cannot speak for themselves.