For many centuries, Turkey Tail mushrooms have had a reputation for helping to bolster the immune system. There is increasing scientific evidence that these mushrooms can be useful as a natural, adjunct therapy for the human cancer patient. Now, it is becoming a natural therapy choice for pets with cancer.

Research into Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Cancer

Turkey Tail made a name for itself in 2012, when a study in dogs with cancer was published. Turkey Tail extract was able to help dogs suffering from the nearly always fatal splenic malignancy, hemangiosarcoma.

This 2012 study from the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Veterinary Medicine found that this special extract from Turkey Tail, PSP, was able to improve survival times in dogs better than what we have been able to achieve with surgery and chemotherapy. It was a small but inspiring study, and it resulted in many pet parents looking for Turkey Tail if their pet developed cancer.

Turkey Tail Properties

When you look inside the Turkey Tail mushroom, you will find the highest percentage of anti-cancer compounds in this mushroom, more so than any other mushroom ever studied. This mushroom can be used together with strong conventional cancer therapies, and it will not interfere with their anti-cancer activity. There are also a number of anecdotal reports, in both people and pets, of the Turkey Tail mushroom being used as the main cancer therapy successfully, without the addition of conventional therapeutics such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

During the Covid pandemic, due to its anti-viral activity, Turkey Tail was looked at very closely as a potential preventative or treatment for this sometimes fatal viral infection. There are several published studies exploring the possibility that this mushroom could address this nasty virus effectively.

These properties are due to Turkey Tail’s ability to enlist the immune system against cancer and viral pathogens, as well as having its own anti-viral and anti-cancer activities.

Turkey Tail and the Microbiome

The fiber found in Turkey Tail mushrooms is exactly the type of fiber on which the microbiome thrives. We are now finding out that it is the health of the microbiome that governs the health of the body and mind as a whole. Turkey Tail Mushrooms provide the fiber which feeds the good bugs in the gut to help create a healthy microbiome.

When looking for an effective Turkey Tail mushroom product, be sure to select one that has the concentration of beta-glucans listed on the label with a suggested dose for your pet by weight. Also, make sure the product does not have starch, grains, or other fillers, and that it is made from the mushroom and not its root system, mycelium.


Dr. Robert J. Silver is a 1982 graduate of Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He has pioneered the use of diet, herbs and nutraceuticals in his small animal integrative practice in Boulder, Colorado for the past 25 years. He writes and speaks both domestically and internationally to veterinary audiences on the value of blending holistic modalities with conventional medicine, and is a consultant to the pet food industry. He is also the Chief Medical Officer of Real Mushrooms for Pets.