Understanding holistic cancer care for dogs and cats

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holistic cancer care

This 3-pronged approach to holistic cancer care for pets covers all the bases – it helps the immune system do its job, employs anti-cancer therapies, and supports the whole body with nutrition and supplements.

Modern medicine has made many advances in treating cancer over the years, yet remission rates aren’t getting much better. And that applies to dogs and cats as well as people. However, holistic cancer care can change all that. To help you understand how I approach a cancer patient, you need to know that we divide what we do into three areas:

1. Helping the immune system

Most scientists agree that cancer is a failure of the immune system to “recognize” and kill abnormal cells developing in the body. There are many beautifully worked out scientific reasons for this phenomenon (which are beyond the scope of this article) but there still seems no way to diagnose or treat the problem. Modern medicine then takes an already defective and suppressed immune system, and suppresses it further with chemotherapy and radiation. Hence the need to “check white blood cell counts” repeatedly during chemotherapy treatments. If these cells go too low, chemotherapy is suspended, for without white blood cells, the patient is now open to being killed by a simple bacteria.

The anti-cancer immune system involves special species of white blood cells (such as NK killer cells and T helper cells). The main organ of residence for these cells is the thymus. Therefore, thymus glandular support is always part of alternative medicine protocols. Makes sense, right? In addition, various homeopathic remedies such as Viscum and Echinacia comp are used. Frequency specific laser (Erchonia laser) has been shown to help, as have herbs including carnivora and Neoplasene. Depending on the type of cancer and your dog or cat’s state of debility, we would choose from these as “part one” of our therapy.

Interestingly, the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School is doing a trial with the Chinese mushroom Coreoulus Versicor, for dogs with hemangiosarcoma. Preliminary results are positive for this type of cancer, which responds poorly to chemotherapy.  The Chinese herb Yunnan Baiyao is also showing up in emergency rooms as a potent herb to help stop bleeding.

Why do pets develop cancer in the first place?

We already discussed that immune system failure is the main factor. But do you think nutrition has an impact on his immune system and the health of his whole body? You bet it does! 

The anti-cancer effects of changing the diet as noted in this article have been scientifically proven in dogs, thanks to work done at the Colorado State University Veterinary School a dozen or so years ago.       

2. Using anti-cancer therapies

This is our “natural chemotherapy”, if you will. Again, there are many options and they are actually shown to kill cancer by scientific methods.

  • Certain herbs such as Neoplasene, Hoxsey formula (bone cancer), and artemisinin (anti-angiogenic) can be helpful. No herbs are “approved” by the FDA for treating cancer, yet many herbal therapies have scientifically-proven mechanisms of action on NK killer cells and T helper cells — cells that modern medicine has shown do fight cancer!
  • Poly-MVA is a powerful antioxidant linked to a toxic ion called palladium, which acts like a tiny “bullet” for shooting cancer cells. Normal cells take up the antioxidant part, which protects them from the “bullets”.
  • Cryosurgery (freezing tumors) directly kills cancer cells and stimulates an immune response.
  • Acemannan, an actual approved product made from aloe, seemed to work well in cats with intestinal lymphoma. Unfortunately, it isn’t made anymore.

3. Supporting the rest of the body

The body is under great stress when ill with cancer.  The organs involved with stress (adrenal and thyroid glands) should be supported. The body still needs to get rid of drugs and dead cancer cells (liver, kidneys); excrete waste (liver, kidneys, intestine); build anti-cancer immune cells (thymus, spleen); continue digesting food to gain energy to fight (intestine, pancreas, liver); and cope with other issues (bacteria, virus, environmental toxins). Wouldn’t it make sense if we could help the body do these things? Wouldn’t that make the body stronger? And wouldn’t a stronger body have a better chance at defeating cancer?

Here’s where vitamin therapy, glandulars, homeopathy and proper food come in.

  • Supplements – there are dozens of supplements on the market, so what do you use? Your pet’s blood can tell you. At our clinic, we run a blood test called the Bio Nutritional Analysis (available through Antech Labs), which shows us where the imbalances and deficiencies are. Then we prescribe a nutritional supplement program that expressly fits the individual dog or cat. It consists of a single powder that has all the needed ingredients for his health.
  • Diet – cancer feeds on carbohydrates, competes with the animal’s body for protein (which is why so many cancer patients are thin and losing weight), and has difficulty getting energy from fat. So we need a diet high in meat-based protein and fat, that has low to no carbs. This typically means no commercial pet foods. Remember who we’re dealing with here – carnivores! They use and need fat and high quality meat-based protein. Poor quality commercial pet foods are high in carbohydrates, have moderate protein levels (often corn and soybean-based), and are low in fat. So it is hugely important to change the diet.
  • Pain control – many pets with cancer have pain, which can in turn suppress the immune system. Here again, homeopathy, herbs, chiropractic, acupuncture and laser therapy are all very helpful.

Mainstream cancer treatment suppresses immunity

Conventional medicine focuses on anti-cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation, etc. But holistic cancer care actually suppress the immune system, which means the body’s own defense system is knocked down! Does this make sense? No wonder cancer treatment success rates have remained virtually unchanged for decades, with most people and pets dying shortly after diagnosis.

In the past, oncologists basically ignored so-called “boosting” of the immune system. It is only recently that oncologists have been recognizing the importance of nutrition, for example. However, getting patients to eat while on chemotherapy or radiation can be daunting. And other than “eat well”, there are few actual nutritional programs for cancer patients.

Holistic cancer care for dogs and cats is much more complex than the conventional “drop him off for chemo and pick him up later” regimen that most oncologists will have you do. Please understand that I will add chemotherapy to the above approach, if it’s indicated. But instead of weak, sick chemo pets, we have some of the happiest and healthiest cancer patients around! And we don’t get hung up on making the tumor disappear; if it “goes away” great, but the point is to have the dog or cat live well with their cancer. Alternative medicine can help him do that!