Published On: Tue, Apr 30th, 2013

Healing Dogs With Cancer & How To Protect Them From Getting It!

dogundersedationHealing Dogs With Cancer


How To Protect Them From Getting It!

J. Daryll Chester (Pet Nutrition Systems)

Cancer represents a unique state whereby the body’s healing system fails to eliminate cells with damaged or altered DNA. This allows these cells to escape the normal regulatory signals and leads to uncontrolled cell growth.

While most auto-immune diseases represent a failure of the healing system from an over-active immune system, cancer represents the extreme opposite, whereby the immune system is hypoactive, (at least in regards to the tumor). On-the-other- hand, both chronic immune diseases and cancer probably represent outcomes from the failure of the healing system brought about by living within a polluted environment, coupled with the genetic make-up of the dog and bad nutrition.

Although eating healthy is the best tool in the fight against cancer, once cancer takes hold, certain dietary changes will help the patient fight against the effects of the cancer. Tumor cells rely heavily upon carbohydrates for their energy and rob the body of amino acids. On- the-other-hand, tumor cells cannot utilize lipids (fats), for energy while the rest of the body can.

As such, diets with increased fat content may slow tumor growth, allowing the patient to fight against the tumor. Protein content must be maintained at levels sufficient for tissue repair, but carbohydrates should be held to a minimum.

Reducing risk factors for cancer, eating a properly balanced diet (free of pesticides and preservatives), drinking pure water, providing appropriate anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals, and exercising regularly can help prevent cancer.

Most processed food claim to have these elements present in their product but they are not bio-available. The heat used to process kibble and canned food destroys the essential nutrients. Once cancer has been found, additional supportive measures are needed. Cancer cells utilize carbohydrates for fuel and compete with the body for amino acids. However, these cancer cells do not metabolize fats.

Some data suggests that high fat diets can help the patient overcome the effects of cancer and even reduce cancer expansion. A number of herbal products and naturally prepared fruits can stimulate the immune system to attack cancer or block the mediators which the tumor uses to spread to other areas of the body; mediators which the tumor needs to survive.

The following is a guide for integrative nutrition as a part of the treatment for cancer, using those compounds where there is scientific data to support their use in cancer management, and helping the patient survive this disease.

Vitamins & Antioxidants:

Feeding your dog a diet rich in whole (real) food that provides and meets all the nutrient-gene interacting requirements is critical in the healing and/or the disease-preventing process. The vitamins and antioxidants for cancer patients are the same for all dogs no matter what the breed. They include vitamin E, vitamin C, selenium, beta-carotene and ginkgo biloba. In addition, the membrane stabilizers, Omega-3-fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid, and coenzyme Q-10 are important for cancer patients. Many of the antioxidants help stabilize DNA and help reduce cancer development or progression. Some data suggests that antioxidants can reduce the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy, but this is not well documented. It may be best to stop antioxidants 3 days before radiation therapy or at the start of chemotherapy, reinstituting the antioxidants a few days later. Most of the herbal antioxidants are good for preventing cancer as well.



American Indian medicine gave us a useful native plant that is another immune-system booster: purple coneflower, Echinacea purpurea and related species. The root of this ornamental plant is held in high esteem by herbalists, naturopathic doctors, and many lay-people because of its antibiotic and immune-enhancing properties. You can buy Echinacea products in any health food store: tinctures, capsules, tablets, and extracts of fresh or dried roots. Although few medical veterinarians in America are familiar with Echinacea, much research on Echinacea has been done in Germany, and the plant is in widespread use as a home remedy in Europe and America.


Another Chinese herbal remedy with similar properties comes from the root of a plant in the pea family, Astragalus membranaceus. This plant is a relative of our locoweed, which is toxic to livestock. The Chinese species is nontoxic, the source of a very popular medicine called huang qi that you can buy in any Asian drugstore for use against colds, flues, and other respiratory infections. Recent studies in the West confirm its antiviral and immune-boosting effects, and preparations are now available in most health food stores in the U.S.  

Anti-Cancer herbs:

Cat’s Claw (una de gato):

Cat’s claw (name derived from the pattern of thorns found on the vines), Uncaria tomentosa, comes from the Peruvian rain forest and was traditionally used by the indigenous people to treat cancer and arthritis. Recent studies indicate that it contains immune-enhancing substances, including several antioxidant compounds. These compounds may account for the anti-tumor properties reported for cat’s claw. Treatments have been reported to lead to remission of brain and other tumors. While published data is lacking, cat’s claw should be considered in tumors of the central nervous system. Use ¼ the adult human dose for small dogs, ½ for medium dogs and the equivalent dose in large dogs.

Reishi and Maitake Mushrooms:

Like astragalus, mushroom extracts stimulate the patient’s immune system by presenting unique macromolecules to the intestinal tract, where they alter the immune regulation by intestinal antigen processing systems. In addition, Maitake mushroom extract has been shown to activate NK killer cells which attack tumor cells, and also act to prevent the destruction of T-Helper cells. There is no known toxicity from these mushroom extracts. Use ¼ the adult human dose for small dogs, ½ for medium dogs and the equivalent dose in large dogs.

Pau D’Arco: 

This herbal extract from the inner bark of trees of the Tahebuia genus (found in South American rain forests), contains lapachol which has been reported to induce strong biological activity against cancer. No adverse effects have been reported with the drug. Studies with pure lapachol have not indicated that blood levels are inadequate to provide the anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory actions attributed to Pau D’Arco. On-the-other-hand, its effectiveness may not be related solely to lapachol, but may be influenced by other phytochemicals in the extract. Use ¼ the adult human dose for small dogs, ½ for medium dogs and the equivalent dose in large dogs.

Milk Thistle:

Milk thistle is an herbal product that helps protect the liver from toxic damage. It may be useful in treating chronic, active hepatitis or as a preventive against injury from other drugs.It has been used to protect the liver from damage from chemotherapy in human patients. It may also help to prevent damage from traditional anti-convulsants (Phenobarbital). I recommend starting at 1 capsule twice a day.

Shark Cartilage:

Mounting evidence suggests that shark cartilage has anti-angiogenic properties, reducing blood vessel development into tumors. While it is not ecologically sound to harvest sharks for their cartilage, it is hard to deny benefits of reducing tumor blood flow, reducing tumor size, and preventing distant metastasis. On-the-other-hand, a recent study using shark cartilage in terminally ill human cancer patients showed no evidence of benefit either in tumor growth or in the quality of life of the patients. If your dog has neoplasia, you can consider using 1000-2000 mg of shark cartilage daily, taking into account that it may do nothing beneficial.

Pet Nutrition Systems (PNS), has been one of the pet health companies that leads the way in nutraceutical therapy and teaches the pet owner how to best feed their pets. PNS offers free consultation service to all Nutricula readers, low cost diet planning, low cost recipes for those who would like to prepare the food for their pet, and cost efficient, handmade veterinary prescriptive nutrition meals delivered to your door.  For more information regarding canine cancer , to receive a free Canine Cancer Guide, or for a specific individual diet plan with formulations/recipes, call Pet Nutrition Systems for your free consultation and/or send us your email and mention Nutricula or Petological .

Pet Nutrition Systems

570.266.1224 / 562.295.6391



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