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Cancer Support / Holistic Adjunctive Supports

Holistic, Adjunctive Cancer Support (for all types, including tumors)

Herbal remedies to help adjunctively address conditional needs of cancer and tumors in dogs and cats.

The complexity of the immune system requires a multidimensional approach of nutritional factors directed at facilitating balanced, normal function as the immune system is not intended to be suppressed or stimulated.

Plant botanicals may help promote healthy immune response; may help enhance the growth of healthy cells and tissues in the body’s defense mechanism for all types of cancer and tumors; may help support healthy cellular response; may help protect against invasion by potential allergens and pathogens; may be used for conditional needs related to most types of viral and bacterial diseases and diseases and for all types of inflammation and auto immune diseases.

Dog and cat cancer is becoming more prevalent. Cancer accounts for 50% of deaths in dogs over the age of 10. Many holistic veterinarians believe that cancer in dogs usually results from a weakened immune system. 

All forms of cancer start when atypical gene mutations occur in susceptible cells. In order for cells to become susceptible, a form of an auto immune failure occurs. The mutated cells begin to rapidly reproduce and attack normal, healthy cells. When the atypical cells outpace normal cells, cancerous tumors and growths form.

The lifespan of healthy normal cells is limited. This normal cell death is called apoptosis. However, cancer cells have mutated genes (oncogenes) that send abnormal messages to the cells, causing them to prevent apoptosis, allowing the cancer cells to live indefinitely. When cancer cells reproduce by cell division, the mutated genes are passed on to the new cells. As a result, the cancer cells multiply and spread faster to wider areas or other parts of the animal’s body (metastasis). Once that happens, complications usually occur causing the dog or cat succumb to cancer.

Common types of cancer: 

Skin: Skin tumors are very common in older dogs, but much less common in cats. Most skin tumors in cats are malignant, but in dogs they are often benign. Your veterinarian should examine all skin tumors in a dog to determine if any are malignant.

Breast: 50% of all breast and mammary tumors occur in dogs. Spaying your female pet between 6 and 12 months of age may reduce the risk of breast cancer. Surgery is the treatment of choice for this type of cancer. Spaying your pet at the time of cancer surgery has been shown to improve prognosis. Follow up treatment may be recommended.

Head & Neck: Cancer of the mouth is common in dogs. Signs to watch for are a mass on the gums, bleeding, odor, or difficulty eating. Since many swellings are malignant, early, aggressive treatment is essential. Cancer may also develop inside the nose of dogs. Bleeding from the nose, breathing difficulty, or facial swelling are symptoms that may indicate cancer and should be checked by your veterinarian.

Testicles: Testicular tumors are rare in cats and common in dogs, especially those with retained testes. Most of these cancers are preventable with castration (neutering) and curable with surgery if done early in the disease process.

Abdominal Tumors: Tumors inside the abdomen are common but it is difficult to make an early diagnosis. Weight loss or abdominal enlargements are signs of these tumors.

Many holistic veterinarians suggest that dog and cat cancer is also the result of metabolic imbalance. The imbalance can be caused not only by environmental factors, such as pollutants and poor quality food, but also from stress. If a pet is strong and healthy, the immune system can stop cancer cells from developing and spreading. However, if the immune system is weakened, and the animal body is not in state of balance, (homeostasis), it may be unable to stop cancer cells from growing, resulting in cancerous (malignant) tumor growth.

Cancer can kill your pet in various ways:

First, aggressive cancerous tumors can cause ulcerations and infections resulting in extreme pain. Occasionally, due to the location of the tumor, it may not be removable surgically and the only options may be holistic health supports and/or euthanasia.

Second, cancer can cause secondary physical disorders that result in death. For example, acute leukemia in dogs can significantly weaken an animal’s immune system, causing the dog or cat to succumb to secondary illnesses, often respiratory diseases.

Third, a primary cancerous tumor can metastasize, or spread to other parts of an animal’s body, causing secondary diseases and death. As an example, many cancers metastasize to the lungs, causing labored breathing, respiratory arrest and sometimes death.

Lastly, cancer can also kill by consuming the nutritional content of a dog or cat’s body. This process is also referred to as cachexia, when all nutritional content is depleted from the animal body and the pet basically starves to death.

The exact causes of cancer are unclear, although we know that all forms begin by genetic mutations that convert normal cells into cancerous cells. It is believed that mutations are usually caused by chronic inflammation or excessive oxidation.

When considering environmental factors related to cancer, several have been isolated and identified: 

Polluted air (i.e. cigarette smoke, gas exhaust) and water.

Toxins and harmful chemicals found in some common products (i.e. pesticides, household cleaners, flea products, etc.).

Low-quality foods and treats that contain artificial colors, flavors, additives, and/or preservatives.

Radiation (it has been confirmed that pets and people are more susceptible to cancer if they are frequently exposed to radiation of various forms.)

Over-vaccination is a possible cause of canine cancer.

Instead of giving our dogs or cats annual vaccinations, we should consider vaccinating our dogs on an “as-needed” basis. Also, we can do a lot to reduce stress related to our home environments, by spending more time with our pets. When pets are left alone, they develop depression, anxiety and boredom. Like humans, mental stress affects our pets adversely, weakening their immune systems, making them susceptible to diseases such as cancer.

Herbal Nutrition - (listed in order of relevance and recommendation by holistic vets - human grade meets/exceeds highest safety criteria for pets)

Herbal remedies have a long history of use for the holistic treatment and conditional needs related to cancer and tumors, to help slow and work to limit progression of tumors and aberrant cells that cause tumors, to help promote healthy cell response, to help boost immunity and to limit inflammation, to help balance the immune system and for its anti-mutagenic, anti-angiogenic, anti-cancerous and anti-tumorous plant actions. 

Get Well Soon  (learn more) is used holistically as an immune booster, an adjunctive cytotoxic therapy for cancer cells and as a complementary therapy in anti-cancer protocols due to its active content of Annonaceous acetogenins, for its studied anti-tumorous natural plant chemicals (slows growth), and potential anti-cancerous activity (inhibits anaerobic cells while protecting healthy cells); antioxidants help promote healthy cell and cell membrane support; helps promotes connective tissue, skin and coat support and antioxidant protection against free radicals, which is important in disease prevention; helps standardize normal cell operation; encourages free radical scavenging of cysts, tumors and lipomas; as a broad-spectrum internal and external antimicrobial, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties against infection, as an adjunctive for cysts and tumors related to fibrous, fatty, sebaceous tumors including cutaneous mast cell tumors (mastocytomas, mast cell tumors, sarcomas), lipomas, histiocytomas, adenomas hyperplasia and papillomas. Also used adjunctively and holistically for the following types of tumors: hind quarter, deep tissue, lesions, polyps, warts, basal and mast cell, bone, brain, heart, liver, kidney, bladder, mammary, skin, stomach, eye, ear, nose, mouth and leg tumors.

Lumps and Bumps Meal Topper is a specialty formulated, nutritional master blend of herbs that synergistically combines to help deliver antioxidant, free-radical scavenging and anti-mutagenic actions on pesky irregular growths and masses. Lumps and Bumps Meal Topper may help promote immune health, anti-mutagenic and anti-angiogenic plant actions may help interrupt cellular interruptions and limit blood supply to irregular growths, and may nutritionally encourage healthy cell division and healthy cellular response. Delicious turkey or chicken flavoring addresses palatability for dogs and cats and can easily help "top off" any type of diet.  

I Cell-Ebrate Life (learn more) antioxidants help promote healthy cell and cell membrane support; strongly antioxidant and anti-mutagenic; may nutritionally help promote connective tissue, skin and coat support and antioxidant protection against free radicals, which is important in disease prevention; nutritionally help standardize normal cell operation; encourage free radical scavenging of cysts, tumors and lipomas; for its adaptogen content which may help identify metabolic, oxidative, physiological and physical dysfunction; may help provide nutritional, biochemical and plant botanical support of healthy immune cells; may help address symptoms related to Lyme disease; may help promote optimal immune protection and systematic cellular health and strength; may help support bone, teeth and muscle health and integrity and for animals that need extra joint, immune, circulatory and vascular support; may help counteract Staph infections and DNA and RNA viruses.

I Want Liquid Immunity -  (learn more) contains water-soluble plant bioflavonoids that function as potent antioxidants which are important in disease prevention; used adjunctively for growth abnormalities such as tumors, cysts and lipomas (often related to poor diet, excessive medication, environmental toxicity as well as aberrant cellular mutations); provides antioxidant protection against free radicals; helps promote cellular health and to reduce catabolic waste; may help address symptoms related to allergies, Lyme disease and other auto immune diseases; provides nutritional, biochemical and plant botanical support of healthy immune  cells; promotes optimal immune protection and systematic health and strength; supports bone, teeth and muscle health and integrity and for animals that need extra joint, immune, circulatory and vascular support. Strongly anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-mutagenic.

Conventional Remedies:

If your pet shows signs of cancer, see your veterinarian immediately. Cancer can cause a lot of pain and discomfort to our pets, and can significantly shorten their lives. However, not all cancers carry a poor prognosis. It’s important that pet owners area aware of the different types and most common forms of cancer, the clinical signs, and observant of changes in animal behavior. If you notice abnormal signs, please take your pets to a vet immediately. An early diagnosis is critical.

The vet will ask for your pet’s medical history and general conditions and please detail all abnormal signs.

Be prepared to share your pet's diet; current vaccination status and past vaccination history; past major physical disorders, if applicable; medications that your pet is taking, conventional and alternatives and any previous diagnosis or suggested treatment prescribed if another vet.

Your pet will be given various tests, which may include:

Your pet will perform a thorough physical examination.

Blood tests

A complete blood count (CBC) and blood profile

X-rays, MRI, CT scan, and/or Ultrasound

When x-rays do not reveal abnormalities, sometimes more specialized diagnostic imaging, such as MRI or CT scans may be required. These tests are particularly successful for cancers related to the face, sinuses, brain, and spinal cord. Pets are usually put under full anesthesia during these scans.

Urinalysis

A urinalysis is useful to evaluate an animal’s health and may also help to identify the cause of some of the patient’s symptoms. For example, bladder stones, bladder infections, and bladder cancer share similar symptoms such as urinary incontinence or frequent urination, etc.). A urinalysis may be conducted to detect blood in the urine. If blood is present, x-rays can be taken to detect bladder stones, and an ultrasound can be administered to detect bladder tumors.

Fine Needle Aspiration

Fine needle aspiration is a quick and easy way to determine the malignancy of a tumor. A fine needle is attached to a syringe into the mass to extract, or aspirate, a tiny amount of fluid or cells by pulling back on the plunger of the syringe. The material extracted is then examined under the microscope for a proper diagnosis. In cases where cells cannot be extracted from a tumor, such as soft tissue sarcoma, a biopsy may be necessary for diagnosis.

Biopsy

Tumors are surgically removed (referred to as an excision biopsy) and then a portion of the tissue is sent to a pathologist for examination microscopically.

Occasionally, a tiny piece of the tumor is removed (an incision biopsy) for diagnosis.

In either case, sedation or anesthesia is necessary.

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