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Complementary Cancer Treatment for Dog Patients

This page looks at complementary cancer treatment for dog patients - Using certain herbs, digestive enzymes, vitamins and minerals, and other supplements to help dog cancer treatment and prevention.

dog with a leaf

If your dog has been diagnosed with cancer, be open-minded and try to consider other treatment options in addition to the conventional ones (i.e. surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation).

Complementary cancer treatment for dog patients can be used in conjunction with conventional cancer treatment options. Recently, more and more veterinarians are open to a more holistic treatment plan for dog cancer patients - many incorporate the use of herbs, supplements, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, and so on in their treatment protocol. Remember, treatment options do not have to be "either" conventional "or" alternative - they can be used together and complement each other.

If your vet or oncologist is generally not open to alternative or complementary cancer treatment for dog patients, you may want to look for one who is more flexible in his/her treatment approach.

This page takes a look at some complementary cancer treatment for dog patients. Specifically, this page covers information on:

Managing Side Effects

Here are some supplements that you may want to consider to manage the common side effects brought on by conventional treatment of dog cancer:
  • Ginger: Ginger is great for relieving vomiting and queasiness, which is a common side effect brought on by chemotherapy. Ginger can also help stimulate a dog's poor appetite, which is rather common in dogs with cancer. To feed your dog ginger, consider using fresh ginger roots. Chop up some fresh root and mix it with your dog's food. About half a teaspoon for a medium-sized dog is enough.
  • Glutamine: Glutamine is an amino acid (found in meat and foods rich in protein). It is a beneficial supplement during chemotherapy and radiation treatments, because glutamine is beneficial for the immune system as well as the lining of the mouth and the GI tract (stomach and intestines). Therefore, side effects such as diarrhea and mouth irritation can be helped by glutamine.

    **Note, however, that glutamine should NOT be used if your dog has brain cancer because it can accelerate brain cancer cell growth.

    To give glutamine to your dog, get glutamine powder and mix it with your dog's food. As a precaution, seek veterinary advice before using this supplement.
  • Echinacea: This is an herb that has long been used in Europe (and now North America) for boosting the immune system. Dogs with cancer have compromised immune systems, which can be further weakened by chemotherapy. Echinacea can be used re-establish a weakened immune system. Vitamins C and E also can be added for synergistic effects.
  • Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ10): Coenzyme Q-10 is an antioxidant that is naturally found in red meat and organ meat. It has been found to be good for the heart. Some chemotherapy drugs (e.g. doxorubicin) can cause adverse side effects such as heart toxicity in dogs. Giving CoQ-10 to these dog cancer patients can help prevent or minimize such side effects.

    As a precaution, consult your vet or oncologist before giving this supplement to your dog.

In addition to the above, if your dog is undergoing radiation treatment and is suffering from localized skin inflammation or burn, get a cream or ointment that contains the herb calendula or aloe vera and use it topically on the inflamed site. These two herbs have great healing power as well as soothing properties.

Cancer Treatment for Dog Patients - Shrinking Tumors

There is a lot of evidence, both scientific and anecdotal, that certain natural supplements have anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, these supplements can be considered as an adjunct to conventional cancer treatment for dog patients. Because these supplements are not drugs, they tend to produce less toxicity in cancer patients.

Below are some supplements that have been indicated by many holistic veterinarians to be useful in cancer fighting. As with any other supplements, be sure to consult with your vet or oncologist first before giving them to your dog:

  • Cordyceps: Cordyceps is a kind of mushroom that has been used for medicinal purposes in Asia for years. It has been found that cordyceps has many beneficial properties such as anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, among others. It also supports the kidneys, the lungs, and the liver and enhances the overall immune system. Cordyceps is available in powder form and can be mixed with your dog's food.
  • Shiitake, Maitake, Reishi: These mushrooms have also been used for medicinal purposes in Asia for a long time. They have anti-tumor, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, and are immune enhancers.
  • Parsley: This little herb contains apigenin, a bioflavonoid. Recent research has found that apigenin kills cancer cells in several ways. For example, it causes the cancer cells to stop dividing, it decreases the ability of cancer cells to create blood vessels, and causes them to die. One easy way to use apigenin to fight canine cancer is to mix chopped-up fresh parsley with your dog's food. Recommended daily dosage is about one ounce of chopped parsley (4-5 tablespoons) per 30 pounds of body weight, split into several portions.
  • Green Tea: Green tea contains EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which is part of a group of molecules called the polyphenols. EGCG has been found to have high antioxidant and anti-cancerous properties. Like apigenin described above, EGCG stops cancer cell division and causes cancer cells to die. It also interferes with the formation of blood vessels by cancer cells.
  • Essiac Tea: Essiac tea is an herbal cancer remedy that contains four herbs: burdock root, slippery elm, sorrel, and Turkey rhubarb root. Many cancer patients, both humans and dogs, have responded favorably to this remedy. Some dog owners have used it successfully to manage their dog's cancer.

Boosting Immune System and Digestion

When a dog is suffering from cancer, it is understandable that his immune system and other body functions (e.g. digestion) are compromised. Supplements such as the following can be used to help the dog in this regard:
  • Digestive Enzymes: Digestive enzymes help the body break down food for easy absorption. Dogs do not have digestive enzymes to break down certain foods such as vegetables, fruit, and plant material. Supplementation of digestive enzymes is therefore important especially for a dog with cancer so that he can get as much nutrients as possible from his food. In addition, feeding digestive enzymes to a dog patient also helps to lessen the burden of the pancreas since it can store up the enzymes (if fed on an empty stomach) instead of working hard to make more.
  • Multiple Vitamins: Vitamins such as vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants and they can also boost the immune system. Dogs with cancer may have a poor appetite and as such may not be able to get from their food all the vitamins necessary to help them fight cancer. Supplementation with multiple vitamins is therefore essential for dogs with cancer.

    Make sure that your dog takes his vitamins with food for better absorption. For optimal absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, add some virgin coconut oil to the meal.

Products for Cancer Treatment for Dog Patients

Here are some natural, high-quality supplements that can be used as complementary cancer treatment for dog patients:

BIXBI Organic Pet Superfood Daily Dog & Cat Supplement: This is a medicinal formula that contains mushrooms that have anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties and can boost the immune system.

Resources Canine CAS Options for Dogs: This is also a natural mushroom blend that supports the immune system.

Viva Organic Coconut Oil: This organic virgin coconut oil can be added to your dog's meal to help him absorb the multiple vitamins he is taking.

Prozyme: Prozyme is an all-natural digestive enzyme supplement. It contains a combination of four human-grade, highly concentrated and purified natural plant-derived enzymes (lipases, amylases, proteases, and cellulases).

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