Cancer is one of the scariest diagnoses anyone can hear, and pet parents are no exception. But the fact is that it is the leading cause of death in senior dogs. Conventional veterinary cancer treatment usually involves surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, either alone or in combination. This may be why so many loving dog owners nowadays are exploring natural cancer treatment for dogs.
If your dog has been diagnosed with cancer, your veterinarian has likely explained what type of cancer, whether it’s malignant or benign, and what the treatment options are.
Whether you want to proceed with medical treatment, can afford medical treatment, or indeed want to put your dog through it, are decisions that usually should be made based on your vet’s advice and recommendations.
Unfortunately most mainstream veterinarians (for various reasons) ignore or fail to offer any natural cancer treatment for dogs when presenting the client (dog parent) with therapy options for their pet. It’s important for any loving animal parent to know what holistic veterinarians know: There are natural and better ways of treating cancer in your dog than chemical poisons and radiation, which kill healthy cells and tissue as well as cancerous ones.
Our First and Best Defense
You’ve heard it before. Early detection of cancer leads to an early diagnosis which greatly increases the chance for successful treatment. Since cancer causes almost half the deaths of dogs over age 10, it’s important for owners of senior dogs to be on the lookout. There’s no need to become paranoid, but it’s always a good idea to be aware of the early signs and know what warrants a trip to the vet.
An early tumor is usually found by feeling it, so when petting your dog, make it a daily habit to run your hands over her body. Any lumps or bumps or enlargements should be reported to your veterinarian.
Internal cancers such as liver or pancreatic tumors would have different outward symptoms depending on what organ is affected. Usually, the signs aren’t specific, just indications that your dog isn’t feeling well: Lethargy, reduced appetite, excessive panting or drooling, sleeping more than usual. These are clues that your dog isn’t feeling like herself and should be checked out.
Other warning signs would be difficulty eating or swallowing, bleeding from any orifice, a sore that won’t heal, unexplained weight loss, limping or any other unusual behavior. Cancer is an insidious disease that affects your dog’s entire well-being so you are the best judge when something is amiss. If you suspect something’s not right, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your vet.
Canine Cancer Treatment: Conventional vs. Holistic
The conventional veterinary approach to canine cancer is usually surgery first, if the tumor is operable. If the specific type of cancer the dog has is not “ready” to be removed surgically, radiation or chemotherapy may be done before surgery. Sometimes surgery is the only therapy that is recommended or needed; but generally chemo and/or radiation therapy are used after an operation in the hopes of killing any remaining cancer cells.
Conventional practices see the cancer as a disease separate from the animal’s body, a disease to be attacked in different ways at all costs. But at what cost to the defenseless patient?
Chemotherapy is the treatment of your dog’s cancer by the use of chemical substances, including cytotoxic and other drugs. Cytotoxic means poisonous to living cells. And indeed, the aim is to kill any residual cancer cells. But cytotoxic drugs can’t differentiate between cancer cells and healthy cells.
Radiation therapy (simplified for us laymen dog parents) works by splintering the cellular DNA of cells, preventing them from growing and dividing. It is supposed to be modified to mainly target the cancer cells and do as little harm as possible to surrounding healthy cells.
Your precious pet will not be immune to the side effects of these treatments. Nausea, diarrhea, changes in appetite, listlessness, fatigue, even allergic reactions – these are all common side effects of radiation and chemotherapy. This conventional approach to treating canine cancer is rarely curative, and the last part of the dog’s life becomes a cycle of tests, treatments, anxiety, and suffering.
The holistic veterinary approach to canine cancer is somewhat different from conventional methods. The biggest difference between the two is that the conventional way is more oriented to the cancer, whereas the holistic way is more oriented to the patient (i.e. the dog).
The techniques used in holistic veterinary medicine are minimally invasive, gentle, and stress reducing. They incorporate the well-being of the whole animal, its environment and the pattern of the disease. The holistic approach is based on love and respect for all living creatures and believes that each body can and will heal itself if given the right support.
But holistic veterinary medicine is not diametrically opposed to conventional medicine. In fact, after taking in the whole picture of a given patient, a holistic veterinarian may recommend a combination of conventional and holistic therapies. But it will be the most effective, least expensive, and least harmfully invasive path of treatment.
Find out more about the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) or find a holistic vet in your area.
Holistic veterinarians focus mainly on factors that support and promote the health and well-being of the whole animal. Something as simple as the appropriate nutrition can become an effective tool to strengthen the body and fight the cancer. They use immunobiological treatment programs that not only attack the cancer, but also restore the dog’s natural defense mechanisms.
Other holistic veterinary therapies include herbal medicine, acupuncture, aromatherapy and low level laser therapy. These may be used separately or in different combinations. Or they may be used in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments, depending on the comprehensive “picture” of the patient that the holistic doctor gets after careful analysis.
What Natural Cancer Treatment For Dogs Can I Use At Home?
A book that is highly recommended for pet parents of a beloved dog diagnosed with any kind of cancer is “The Dog Cancer Survival Guide” by Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM. The book contains “Full Spectrum Treatments To Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality And Longevity.” It is a compassionate, must-read book to learn exactly what you and your dog are dealing with and what you can do about it. (Available in both Kindle and paperback.)
Pet Wellbeing Cancer Support Kit For Dogs was created specifically for dogs living with cancer. It supports the natural detoxification bodily processes and gives a boost to the immune system, while promoting long-term health with antioxidant protection and stress reduction. It will enhance your dog’s quality of life whatever route you choose to take in his cancer treatment, or whether you choose to take no route at all. You may simply choose to allow nature to take its course with the added reinforcements promoting the body’s natural healing processes.
Apocaps CX Apoptogen Formula For Dogs is a powerful supplement that supports the biological process of apoptosis in dogs. Apoptosis is sometimes referred to as “programmed cell death” and indeed, “cell death” is just what we want cancer cells to undergo. This high potency nutraceutical was developed by a prominent veterinarian for use in canine patients at his own veterinary hospital and is now trusted and used by vets worldwide.
K-9 Immunity (Aloha Medicinals) Potent Immune Support For Dogs is the # 1 veterinarian recommended immune support supplement for dogs in North America because of how well it works. It balances and strengthens your dog’s immune system so that his body can recognize and destroy foreign, damaged, or abnormal cells, improving the body’s overall ability to overcome diseases, like cancer.
The Natural, Gentler Approach
Cancer can be a terrifying, insidious, and aggressive disease that can often take a patient down in a matter of months or weeks. But veterinary medicine is undergoing rapid changes when it comes to the conventional “fight fire with fire” methods of invasive surgery and harmful doses of chemotherapy and radiation.
In recent years, researchers have been looking more at the underlying causes of cancer and embracing more alternative treatments such as nutritional supplements, cancer-fighting diets, and traditional Chinese medicine such as herbal remedies and acupuncture.
Simply put, mainstream veterinarians are coming to appreciate the holistic model of treatment. Prescribing natural treatments that optimize the dog’s immune function is crucial in enhancing the dog’s chance of keeping the cancer under control, while maintaining a much better quality of life.
Thanks so much for visiting MyGeriatricDog and for reading my article. Please leave any comments, questions, observations, or experiences you’d like to share below in the Comments section!