Pets with tumors and cancer have many options for treatment, which include noninvasive and nontoxic approaches that improve the quality and length of life.
Regular, twice-a-year checkups with blood work can play a vital role in early detection of cancer risk factors. When a diagnosis is made, pet owners can explore many treatment options, which don’t have to include traditional chemotherapy. The following cases represent a sampling of those I have treated alternatively.
Heidi, an 11-year-old springer spaniel, visited my office for alternative therapy to “keep her comfortable” after a limb amputation. She had an aggressive tumor that oncologists said had already spread to her lungs. They said she would die in six months from tumor spread. I asked her owner if I could treat her cancer with diet change, acupuncture and herbs, while providing rehab therapy. Heidi went into remission for the rest of her life; she lived to almost 15 years.
Grover, an 8-year-old, soft-coated Wheaten terrier, started limping suddenly. X-rays showed a bone tumor of his left front limb. A specialist confirmed the diagnosis of osteosarcoma. His owners opted for treating with alternative medicine, instead of amputation and chemotherapy. He went into remission for 2 1/2 years. When he started having problems with spinal degeneration, I referred him for an MRI to the same specialist. The veterinarian told me he had never seen a pet who had lived that long after an osteosarcoma diagnosis.
Jenny, a 9-year-old Maltese, had been walking sideways and falling over. Her MRI revealed a brain tumor. Her owner came to my office to see what alternative medicine could offer. She did not want to have traditional chemotherapy or brain surgery. Immune-modulating therapy and oral Palladium worked for Jenny and brought a remission of 2 1/2 years. During that time, she walked normally and led a normal life.
Niles, a 13-year-old cat with oral tumor that came on suddenly and grew rapidly, came into my hospital after leaving a large referral center where the oncologist gave no hope for remission. His owners were familiar with alternative medicine and requested treatment with Neoplasene, a great anti-cancer immune modulator. After evaluation, I felt the tumor was too advanced to start that treatment. Instead, I recommended low-dose radiation at a different clinic, until the tumor reduced enough to allow Niles to eat. At that point, Neoplasene could work more effectively.
Sam, a 10-year-old mixed-breed dog, was diagnosed with Lymphosarcoma in May. At 10 years of age, her owners declined pursuing traditional chemotherapy. Instead, they opted for feeding a natural diet, using acupuncture and an immunotherapy called LTCI. This combination brought a full remission within 2 months without a single sick day for the patient. They continue supplements and LTCI therapy at home.
When owners get past the initial fear and shock of the diagnosis, many come to see that cancer does not have to cause death. There are several things I like pet owners to keep in mind:
1. Patients with cancer have hope.
2. There are always options to help (sometimes you have to go searching).
3. Get a second opinion even if a specialist says there are no options.
4. Read and ask questions.
5. Diet change, the right supplements, acupuncture and detoxifying are effective for many pets.
6. Integrative- and alternative-care options exist for all forms of cancer.
When a pet is diagnosed with cancer, many owners search the Internet. I caution pet owners to avoid buying supplements without vet guidance (expertise in nutritional therapy is a must). Do not buy supplements on the Internet, as many are not full potency and risk of contaminants is high.
I treated a pet with an oral melanoma several years ago. The owner brought four large clothes baskets of supplements he had bought on the Internet. The problem was, without realizing it, he was making his pet toxic with over supplementation. He was actually accelerating tumor growth and wasting lots of money.
The advice I give to owners is to remain positive and hopeful while looking for options. The best treatments center on treating your pet’s deficiencies and improving immune health rather than just killing the cancer cells.
Many alternative therapies, like Immunocidin, Apocaps, LTCI and Neoplasene work by causing the immune system to send cancer cells into a state of apoptosis (cell death), rather than allowing cancer cells to continue to divide and reproduce out of control.
Acupuncture, homeopathy and NAET can change the gene expression of cancer cells. Toxic processes (like radiation, bad diets, environmental toxins and stressors) that cause genes to start coding for cancer cell production can be “turned off.” In this case, the cancer cells stop reproducing.
Many Western herbs and supplements can also produce a change in the immune system, which allows the natural patrolling for cancer cells to be effective. Healing mushrooms, curcumin, Omega-3 fatty acids and plant enzymes have helped many pets beat the cancer odds.
Preventing cancer is ideal, but if the diagnosis is made, you can look for options for your pet. Visit AHVMA.org for a list of alternative practitioners with advanced training in nutrition and herbology.
Dr. Cynthia Maro is a veterinarian at the Ellwood Animal Hospital in Ellwood City and the Chippewa Animal Hospital in Chippewa Township. She writes a biweekly column on pet care and health issues. If you have a topic you’d like to have addressed, email email@example.com.