Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Types of cancer and their treatments

Saturday, April 20th, 2013

Hemangiosarcoma of the heart in dogs – holistic options

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

While I use a similar protocol for heart hemangiosarcoma to splenic hemangiosarcoma, there are some differences.

One is that surgery is not an option for hemangiosarcoma of the heart. Second is that we have a tumor that is pushing against one of the most vital organs in the body. While bleed out is a concern, animals with hemangiosarcoma of the heart are more likely to die from heart failure. Really with this cancer we are buying time and improving quality of life with treating holistically. This is one of the fastest moving cancers out there.

So we need a three fold approach, slow the cancer, support the heart and prevent bleeding.

Here is my modified protocol

  1. Acupuncture – every two weeks or more often. This keeps everything moving, helps with discomfort, slows down the cancer and boosts the immune system. Acupuncture can also support the heart and keep blood pressure regulated.
  2. A cancer diet – See Diets for cancer in cats and dogs
  3. Yunnan Baiyao – not only does it control bleeding but also seems to slow this cancer down.
  4. Xiao Chai Hu Tang This formula works well for cancers that cause there is be an excess in the front of the body. All these formulas are available from my etsy store Kingdom of Basil. If you get this formula from another source make sure that these formulas uses ginseng (Ren Shen) and not Dang Shen and that the Chai Hu is not over 25% of the formula.
  5. Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang with E Zhu and San Leng – this formula not only helps fight cancer but also helps support the heart. Also available through Kingdom of Basil.
  6. High dose Vit A/D given orally. If you give this orally it decreases the chances of an allergic reaction. I use the injectible large animal version but use it orally. I dose once a week for four weeks and then once a month. Steve starts with a dose of twice a week. I use in the range of 250,000IU of Vit A and 37,500IU of Vit D per dose for an average sized dog. DO NOT USE THIS DOSE OF VITAMIN A/D WITHOUT VETERINARY SUPERVISION. Large amounts of Vit A are highly cytotoxic to cancer cells, that is great. The doses I use can potentially cause kidney failure, that is not so great. You must be working for a vet to use this high a dose. Chai Hu Jia Long Gu Mu Li Tang or Xiao Chai Hu Tang also help to protect the kidneys when using this high dose vitamin therapy.
  7. IP-6 Inositol Hexaphosphate – this supplement is important in stimulating the immune system’s natural killer cells to destroy cancer tissue. It is an antioxidant and has effects in inhibiting cancer cell growth and division. Not much research has been done in humans with this supplement but a lot of cancer studies have been done in animals.
    I dose dogs at 800-1600mg twice a day when I use this supplement.
  8. Coenzyme Q10– this supplement helps support heart tissue and has anti-cancer effects as well. I often add it to my protocol. I use a dose of 200mg a day for your average sized dog.
  9. This is not a cancer to take lightly, as it can progress very quickly. If at all possible find a holistic vet to work with.

    As with all advice offered on this website please check in with your animal’s primary veterinarian before using any of these herbals and supplements.

    Return to Integrative and Holistic Methods for Treating Cancer in Cats and Dogs

Questions to ask your vet when your animal companion has cancer

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Cancer can be overwhelming. Often times the diagnosis comes suddenly and there is almost always an element of shock with it. The little lump that you were convinced was just a wart could be life threatening. The mild weakness was just discovered to be a belly full of tumors.

It can be hard to ask all the right questions especially when you are having strong emotions. So what do you need to ask and know before deciding on the best course of action to take for your animal companion?

One of the most important questions

  • What happens if we do nothing? It is easy to get so convinced that we need to treat that we forgot to ask with will happen if we don’t . In older animals with slow moving cancers, it is sometimes better to just treat supportively than to jump into aggressive treatments.


  • What can we do right now to make my animal more comfortable? Another very important question. With cancer, comfort is very important. Even if your animal has very little time left here, it should be as happy and pain free as possible.
  • Is there drugs that can slow this cancer down without doing more aggressive treatments like chemo/radiation or surgery? Prednisone is often a good drug for this. This is also where herbals and acupuncture can come in.
  • Is there drugs that can help my animal eat better? Many animals with cancer are picky eaters. Sometimes appetite stimulants or anti-nausea drugs are helpful.
  • Do you know a good holistic vet I can work with?


  • Is there a surgical option for this cancer? Usually cancers that are isolated to one area are treated with surgery. If a cancer has already spread, or is a blood born or lymphatic system cancer, surgery is usually not an option.
  • If there is, what is the prognosis that my animal will make it through the surgery? Some surgeries are relatively easy and some can be very difficult.
  • Do you recommend I see a surgeon? More difficult surgeries are best done by the experts, unless you are working with a vet who is very skilled at surgery.
  • If we can remove the whole tumor, what are the chances that it has already spread or will come back? What is the prognosis for after surgery? i.e. is there a reason to do the surgery? Will it give my animal a better and longer life?
  • Do you think my animals’ health is such that surgery is a good option? If not why? If you animal is very old, sick or has serious chronic disease, surgery may not be a good option, even if it is the best way to beat the cancer. Remember we are treating the animal not the cancer.
  • What kind of care will my animal need after surgery? Will there be long term complications or disability? This is especially important if you work full time or have a household of small children or if you have a dog you can not carry.

Chemotherapy and Radiation

  • Do you have experience doing chemotherapy? If the answer is no or a little consider seeing an oncologist at least for a second option.
  • Can you refer me to a good oncologist? Oncologists often have new treatment options that general practitioners don’t use.
  • What is the prognosis with this treatment? This is an important question. Is $4000 of chemo going to give you a good chance of getting a year or more, or only buy a month extra and come with side effects.
  • How long will my animal have to undergo treatment? How often? Is there an option to do part of a protocol and still get results? For animals with a lot of anxiety going to the vet, this can be an important consideration
  • How much will it cost?
  • Will my animal need to be sedated or anesthetized for the procedure? With radiation the answer is always yes, sometimes this is also necessary with chemotherapy.
  • Is there a chance at permanent remission?
  • What are the side effects? Does prognosis out weight the chance of serious side effects.
  • Do you have a plan to treat the side effects if they occur? Many oncologists use drugs to treat the side effects of these treatments.
  • Are you ok with me working with a holistic vet or with supplements/herbs? It is always easier to work with these therapies if you can be honest with your vet.
  • What kind of risk to me or other humans/animals in the household is there with this treatment? This can be extremely important if there are pregnant women or small children in the household.

End of Life

  • Have you had experience doing hospice care? Is there someone in the community who does hospice care?
  • Is there a good support group in the area or online?
  • When the end comes will you come to the house to perform euthanasia? Is there a house call vet who will?
  • What do I do if there is an emergency in the middle of the night, on the weekend or after office hours?
  • Do not be afraid to ask –

    the question I often get. Most of us are animal lovers, we have seen a lot of animals go through treatments and often times have personal experience with our own animals.
    If this was your dog/cat/rabbit what would you do?

    I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if I have missed any important questions.

    Back to Integrated and Holistic Methods for treating cancer

How to integrate all modalities when treating cancer

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

We learned in vet school that when you have more than one vet in the room and an animal comes in with life threatening injuries the most important thing is for someone to say “I’m in charge!”. Without this simple statement the chances of an animal making it is much less. Until someone takes control everyone assumes someone else is in charge.

With cancer I believe it is the same thing. Someone needs to be the main person making the decisions. That can be the oncologist, the holistic vet, the general practitioner vet, or in some cases the animal’s caregiver. It doesn’t matter who it is and it does not have to be the person with the most knowledge but it has to be someone. It does not mean that everyone doesn’t work together as a team and sometimes it can shift between people as treatment goes on. Just know who it is.

When I work with animals who are not undergoing chemotherapy this is generally me. I make the final decisions on what happens with the wishes of the animals’ caregiver in mind. We get recommendations from the regular veterinarian and sometimes me and the regular veterinarian get together on the phone and put our heads together.

Because I see my cancer animals every two weeks I have a better feel of where they are at and usually a better connection with their people.

If there is an oncologist involved usually they are in charge, although often I am given free rein to add in herbals/supplements and change diet. Most oncologists don’t have herbal training but many are very open to us who do.

If you, the animal’s person are in charge you can gather information and make educated choices based on that.

Drugs and herbals do not have to be exclusive. Even in the animals I treat completely herbally I often times recommend drugs for pain or comfort issues.

I have found that it is better to do a fewer things consistently than many treatments not consistently. Do everything you can to follow recommendations on the most important treatments.

Don’t forget the food. Good food is so important and often I find you can add in foods that help fight cancer without having to add more pills. If you can, supplement with whole foods before pills! Sardines for omega fatty oils, sweet potato and carrots for vitamin A, cooked mushrooms for your medicinal mushrooms.

The internet is great! Hey I’m the internet aren’t I? Use it to do your homework but remember that no one knows your dog as well as you do.

Don’t follow advice that doesn’t sit well with you or your gut feels is wrong. Remember that your vet actually is seeing your dog, none of us in the cyberspace are. We all have different tools to work with. Your vet may not have the tools I use but they see your dog and know them, I don’t. If at all possible talk to your vet about what you find. You would be surprised how open many vets are to herbs and supplements especially for diseases where there is not a western treatment.

If you don’t feel like you have the support of your vet, consider finding a vet who does support your choices and who you can be open with.

There is not one right choice when it comes to cancer. We don’t have a miracle cure that always works, but we have many tools that can make it so animals can live longer better lives.

Back to integrative and holistic methods for treating cancer in cats and dogs.

Other cancer resources – in development

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

If you haven’t come from my cancer book, please check out Integrative and Holistic Approaches to Cancer in cats and dogs
Here are some other great resources –

  • Georgia’s Legacy is one of my favorite resources for any person with a dog fighting cancer. They have put a lot of time into this site and it is easy to navigate.
  • Tripawds is a wonderful online community for three legged animals. Another great site for support and information.
  • Kingdom of Basil is my etsy store where you can buy many custom ground herbal formulas.
  • Darwin’s is my favorite company for raw diets

Please let me know if you have a good resource I should add. I will only add websites that I believe to be helpful and accurate. Hopefully this page will get longer with time!

Working with picky appetite in dogs with cancer and older dogs – Help, my dog will not eat!

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

First off let me say that like with dementia I certainly do not have all the answers to this problem. It can really vary from dog to dog. I’m hoping that the tricks I have learned over the years will help and that you the visitor will also add your own stories.

In people with cancer it is reported that the sense of taste changes. I believe this to also be true in many dogs. While many vets suggest that nausea is at the root of dogs with cancer not eating well, I tend to blame the change in taste more often. In older dogs I believe taste also can get more muted as they age.

There are a two main approaches in working with appetite, one is to make eating more interesting and the other is to use acupuncture, drugs, or herbs that stimulate appetite.

Making eating more exciting for your picky eating dog

  1. Change things up. Many dogs will do better if there food is changed around on a daily basis.
  2. Add in table scraps. It is sometimes amazing how much a little human dinner will make a dog dinner more attractive. Meat is usually the most popular. Just remember no macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, chocolate or onions.
  3. Salt it – high quality foods are often low in salt. Add in some salt or salted meat broth to make the food more yummy.
  4. Something stinky – sometimes the addition of the stinky foods will help. Try cat food, sardines, canned salmon, bacon, or if you really want stinky — tripe. They sell tripe for dogs in a can or as a raw food.
  5. Cooked chickens and roasts. I have had many clients make roasts or buy rotisserie chickens from the store. These are often times yummy but work better if you as the human also eats meat and can share in the feast.
  6. Try dry food again – I have had dogs that will not eat anything but will suddenly eat dry again. They may turn their nose up at that prime rib and then eat kibble.
  7. Make eating a game – hide the food behind the furniture, in the closet, outside, drop it by mistake, make it a game. “Look, look what I found, yummy!” Just remember where it is so it doesn’t rot.
  8. Hand feeding – some dogs do much better if they are hand feed a bit at a time.Ok yes you may be spoiling them but its not like they need to go out and get a job someday. It’s ok to spoil your old or sick dog.
  9. Heat the food – in the microwave is fine. Sometimes warm food is more yummy.
  10. It is better to have them eat something than the right thing. If you have a dog with cancer and they will not eat a cancer diet add some carbs/grains back in. It is better than not eating.
  11. Feed them when they are hungry. Some dogs will only eat in the evening or will only eat small meals. Offer food often and if they are eating well give them a little more when they are hungry.
  12. Eat with your dog. Some dogs like to eat at the same time as their people.

Increasing appetite in the face of disease

  1. Look at how many medications/supplements you are giving your dog. I can not stress this enough. I have had dogs come in on 50, yes 50 pills a day, with no appetite. You probably would not be eating on all that either. Before adding something, cut out anything your dog does not need and see if their appetite returns or work with your vet on if some of the important medications can be stopped for awhile. If their appetite returns when you cut back on pills then gradually add things back in. Do not add in more before looking at if you are giving too much! This is especially true of cats which will get their own article on appetite someday.
  2. Acupuncture can help many dogs with appetite. Consider giving it a try as it has other wonderful benefits for older or sick dogs.
  3. There are many western drugs out there that can help. If nothing else is working talk to your vet about what is right for your animal friend.
  4. Herbals – if you have a veterinary herbalist in your area set up a consultation with them. The herbal that I have found works the best in the most animal is a wonderful little formula from Jeremy Ross which he calls Gentiana 2. It contains gentiana and artemisia which are bitters and support appetite along with other herbals (fenugreek, fennel, acorus, ginger, licorice and jujube) that help support digestion. It does not work in all dogs and it’s effect is milder than western drugs but it is gentler on the body and safer. I usually start with it before going to drugs.

Thank you Bill P. for suggesting this topic!

As with all articles on this blog, this does not replace medical advice. If your dog is not eating and you have not seen your veterinarian, please make an appointment to rule out any serious health issue.

Supporting chemotherapy with anti-oxidants and herbs in dogs and cats

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

If you do a search of Medline, you will not find one study that shows that anti-oxidants or herbs have a negative effect on outcomes of people or animals with cancer who are getting chemotherapy drugs. Even though most oncologists recommend that you do not use anti-oxidants or herbs when an animal is undergoing chemotherapy, there are no studies to support this.

However there are studies that show the opposite. They show longer survival, less toxicity, better quality of life, improved blood work values (such as increases in white and red blood cells) and longer tumor remission with herbal and anti-oxidant treatments.

So why are oncologists so against anti-oxidants and herbs?

These supplements support the body, they keep cells strong, they prevent oxidative stresses, they help with blood flow and blood supply to cells, the very things that chemotherapy doesn’t want when it destroys cancer cells. What many oncologists don’t realize is that cancer cells are very different than normal cells when it comes to natural supplements/herbals.

Cancer cells don’t rely on the things normal cells do. For example many cancer cells live in an oxygen-deprived environment that would kill normal cells yet cancer cells can thrive in such a state. See Oxygen deprivation in cancer cells leads to growth and metastasis. Anti-oxidants don’t appear to protect cancer cells from oxidative stresses. What makes a normal cell strong does not make a cancer cell strong. In fact if we keep the normal cells of the body strong they can help fight the cancer.

With chemotherapy, we are poisoning the body with chemicals that destroy rapidly dividing cells, and cancer cells are very rapidly dividing and reproducing. Unfortunately we also kill off rapidly dividing normal cells such as the lining of the gut and red blood cells and immune system cells (white blood cells). Herbs, supplements and acupuncture can help support normal cells while making it harder for cancer cells to survive. This increases chemotherapy’s effect while decreasing its side effects.

I often use anti-oxidants and herbs with animals undergoing chemotherapy and find that it improves longevity and helps reduce side effects. In addition I love to get these animals on a good acupuncture schedule, as acupuncture is amazing at helping the body during chemotherapy.

Here is a short list of my favorite supplements and herbals to use during chemotherapy. There are many more out there but I think these are the best.

  • First I just have to mention acupuncture – I have had a number of dogs through the years who had to stop chemo because of side effects or low blood cell counts. After one or two acupuncture treatments almost all these dogs were able to continue with chemo. I love that acupuncture is very non-evasive and has many other actions to help animals with cancer. Also see Acupuncture for animals with cancer.
  • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang – every dog I treat who is undergoing chemotherapy is on this formula. Click on the name to read more about it. I can’t say enough about this formula. Now available through my etsy store Kingdom of Basil.
  • IP6- Inositol Hexaphosphate also known as IP6 is important in stimulating the immune system’s natural killer cells to destroy cancer tissue. It is an antioxidant and has effects in inhibiting cancer cell growth and division. Not much research has been done in humans with this supplement but a lot of cancer studies have been done in animals. IP6 has been shown to enhance chemotherapy’s effect. IP6 can be bought off or at your local supplement store.
    I dose cats at 400mg two times a day and dogs 800-1600mg twice a day when I use this supplement.
  • Milk Thistle – prevents oxidative damage to normal cells and helps to support the liver in detoxification of chemotherapy drugs. There are studies that show that Milk Thistle not only protects normal cells but also enhances the outcomes of chemotherapy drugs, i.e. it helps them work better and kill cancer cells more effectively. See National Cancer Institute’s Page on Milk Thistle and Sloan Kettering Cancer Center article on Milk Thistle.
  • Coenzyme Q10 – prevents cardio toxicity of doxorubicin without reducing its effectiveness. In addition it is a good anti-oxidant, stimulates the immune system and has its own anti-cancer activities. I almost always use this supplement with doxorubicin. I dose Coenzyme Q10 at 200mg per day for dogs and 50mg per day for cats. Coenzyme Q10 can be buy off of or at your local supplement or natural food store.
  • Medical mushrooms such as shitake, maitake, reishi, turkey tail and/or cordyceps help to enhance the immune system and have strong anti-cancer activity. There are many good products out there. I like the MUSH mushroom blend for pets. If you are cooking up mushrooms as part of a homemade diet check out Fungusamongus. Human mushrooms supplements can also be given. I recommend at least 500mg of mushrooms be given daily for every 50lb of cat or dog. More is fine.
  • Fish Oil supplements – help with cancer cachexia and weight loss and help to support the body through anti-oxidant activity. I like the Nordic Naturals – Pet Cod Liver Oil.
  • Food therapy – add in anti-oxidants such as berries, green veggies and sweet potato which are high in vitamin A, medical mushrooms with anti-cancer properties and liver which is high in vit A and iron. See Diets for cancer in cats and dogs – you are what you eat a fighting cancer machine.
  • Work with herbals that fight against cancer so that it is not just the chemotherapy at work. I often include artemisinin, Xiao Chai Hu Tang or Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang in my protocol for animals getting chemotherapy. I rarely if ever use something very strong which can be toxic like Hoxsey with chemotherapy, although will use it after chemotherapy is over if it fits the cancer. If I am working with a cancer where Hoxsey is a good fit I often use Si Miao San. Use what fits your animal best. This is a very good place to get your holistic vet on board.

As with all articles on this blog please check with your animal’s veterinarian before adding any supplements or herbals.

Back to Integrative and holistic methods for treating cancer in dogs and cats

Above all quality of life – treating terminal disease in dogs and cats

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

The nature of loving our animal companions is that at one point they will leave us. We are blessed with their presence in our lives but they are not blessed with long life like us humans.

Knowing that our animal companions will most likely die while we are still living, means that there will be something that takes them, whether cancer or old age or other diseases.

This does not mean we do not try our best to support them in illness or to treat the diseases that come along that we can. We are given medicine for a reason.

What it does mean is sometimes we need to reach a point of acceptance and do what we must out of love for them and not because we cannot bear to be on this earth without them.

True love sometimes means letting our loved ones die with dignity. It means not doing treatments that cause suffering if there is little hope attached to them.

With cats who live to be independent this is most clear. They often reach a point where they do not want intervention. With dogs who live to please us the line is often blurred.

So what does this mean?

If your dog loves the pizza crusts more than anything in the world and you want to put them on a grain free diet for cancer, allow an occasional pizza crust

If chemotherapy is making your dog or cat sick over and over again unless the good it is doing outweighs the odds it may not be worth continuing.

If you cat is already twenty years old, doing an invasive surgery may not be the best option.

If you can’t afford to pay for treatments without working a second job, think about if the time away from your animal companion is worth it.

If your dog hates acupuncture and shakes in the waiting room, it may be kinder to let them live out their last days at home.

If your cat runs from you every time you give meds, are they really worth giving (I make an exception to pain meds in a painful animal here).

Use your wisdom, find help from either local or online support groups and/or your veterinarian in helping make a decision of what is too much and what is most helpful.

Be kind to yourself, there is not just one right decision.

Do not give up hope but also do not allow suffering. Lead with your heart and your love.

Back to Integrative and Holistic Methods of Cancer Care

Arthritis and your dog and cat – holistic options

Monday, November 19th, 2012

It’s sad to see our animal companions no longer be able to do the things they once could do as they age and grow older. All older animals have some amount of arthritis although some have many more problems with it.

Unfortunately, Western medicine has very few options for treating arthritis and uses mostly drugs, to cover the pain. Some animals are not able to tolerate these drugs and many times animals are on three different drugs and it still isn’t enough.

In some animals arthritis manifests as weakness caused by the inflammation pushes on the nerves. Many dogs walk around like their feet are asleep, tripping over things, stumbling and no longer having the strength to jump into the car or onto the bed. Unfortunately because they can no longer walk as far or do as much as they used to, their muscles start to atrophy or waste away, causing a vicious cycle. As the weakness increased, they do less, which causes more atrophy from disuse, leading to more weakness and more atrophy and less activity. In the end many of these animals can no longer get up on their own or even take a short walk.

In other animals arthritis will manifest as pain, which can also prevent movement and cause the weakness/atrophy cycle. Many of these animals will become moody and withdrawn and may even snap and bite at their people out of fear of pain. It is so hard to see our friends have so much pain that they no longer want our affection.

In most animals there is a combination of pain and weakness.

Usually dogs suffer more than cats because they carry more weight and are used to daily activity. Also people often don’t notice that their cats are painful because they spend so much time sitting and sleeping

So what do we do for our friends to help them live out their old years happy and pain free?

  • Acupuncture Being an acupuncturist, I always recommend acupuncture first. Of course this is also because I have seen how well it works in the animals I treat. I often find that if I can work with animals when they first have problems, they do so well we only need to treat them every one to three months. Unfortunately most of the animals I see have had problems for a while and their people only learned about acupuncture when they had tried everything that western medicine had to offer. In these animals acupuncture can still work and work well but usually treatments need to be closer together.

    It is so nice to see these animals happy and able to enjoy life again!

  • Hydrotherapy is a great option especially in dogs who have muscle atrophy. Unfortunately it cannot be done with cats although Sheila Wells at Wellspings has told me they have worked with rabbits before. Hydrotherapy is done in a small swimming pool and involves massage and physical therapy in the water. I have seen excellent results with hydrotherapy especially combined with acupuncture. Hydrotherapy helps to rebuild muscles, increase range of motion and work out sore and sensitive areas of the body without the impact on the body of exercise on land. My favorite pool is Wellsprings in Seattle Washington. They have a great website with lots of information and photos that I love to refer people to. Click on the link to check it out!
  • herbs5

  • Herbs
    I have worked with Chinese herbs with many of these arthritic dogs and some cats. The combination of acupuncture and herbs usually helps with pain and movement and helps animals maintain between treatments. Some animals do not do well on Chinese herbs and it is important to work with an herbal practitioner to find the right combination to help your particular animals. I rarely use Chinese herbs in cats because they hate to be medicated and will not often eat herbs in food. I sell an old dog herbal formula called Old Dog Winter Support through my etsy shop that helps with arthritis pain and improves blood circulation into the joints. There are also commercial products available, my favorite is DGP (Dog Gone Pain).
  • Fish oil/ Omega oils
    The Omega 3 Fatty Acids in fish and cod liver oil actually helps decrease arthritic inflammation in dogs (not true for cats although it helps with other things). Adding a little fish oil to the diet can help many animals.My favorite brand is Nordic Naturals – Pet Cod Liver Oil . Nordic Naturals is one of the best brands for quality and they test for heavy metals and contaminants.
  • Glucosamine/MSM/chondroitin
    These supplements help to decrease inflammation and rebuild damaged cartilage. They are often sold in combination. The nice thing about these supplements is that they have few side effects and are very safe. Some animals have a wonderful response to them and some have almost no response. It usually takes a month to six weeks to see if your animal will have a positive response. Adequan, similar to glucosamine is also available in an injectable form and works better in some animals. It is also a lot easier to give to cats who are hard to medicate daily. After the initial series of injections it usually only needs to be given once a month. My favorite is Sea Mobility Beef Joint Rescue jerk treats, they work well and are very tasty.
  • Infra-red light therapy – Infrared light helps ease the pain of arthritis in joints and increase blood circulation to the area. It is very cheap to do and can be done at home. See my article Infrared Light Therapy for kidney failure, incontinence and arthritis.
  • Chiropractics
    Many animals have subluxations of their spine especially as they age. A good chiropractor can often help with mobility and pain. I have found that chiropractic adjustments work best in animals with a very tight back and more pain then weakness. For my own cat, chiropractic adjustments have worked better than anything else we have tried and have made his life much better. Make sure you find a chiropractor who is used to working with animals and knows animal anatomy.
  • Massage/Acupressure
    Massage can help to loosen tight muscles and increase blood circulation. It also can help with pain.We know it works for us, why not for our animal friends. Once again make sure you find a massage practitioner who is certified to work with animals.

    Acupressure works with the acupuncture points and helps decrease pain and relax muscles.

    There are many great books on acupressure and massage for animals. Here are a few
    The Well-Connected Dog: A Guide to Canine Acupressure
    Acu-Cat: A Guide to Feline Acupressure
    The Healing Touch for Dogs: The Proven Massage Program for Dogs, Revised Edition
    The Healing Touch for Cats: The Proven Massage Program for Cats, Revised Edition
    Four Paws Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs

  • Reiki/Bowen/Polarity/Craniosacral and other energy therapies These therapies help stimulate the body to heal and can decrease pain and improve quality of life. Since there is little regulation of these therapies it is important to get a referral before seeing someone. This is especially true of Reiki since there are so many people who practice it. A good practitioner can make a huge difference in an animal’s quality of life.

It is better to do one thing and stick with it than to jump around between therapies. Often times animals will began with me doing acupuncture and herbs and then we will add in other therapies as needed. If I can’t help an animal with acupuncture I will refer them to another practitioner to try something else. Don’t make too many changes all at once in an old animal’s life. Go slowly instead.

New study out on using Turkey Tail mushroom extract for hemangiosarcoma in dogs

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Exciting news this week!

The University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School just released a study showing that the Turkey Tail mushroom extract, PSP, significantly increased survival of dogs with hemangiosarcoma. Compound Derived Mushroom Lengthens Survival Time in Dogs with Cancer.

This study showed that at a very high dose of this compound (100mg/kg/day), average survival in dogs with hemangiosarcoma was 199 days. This is about twice the survival of doing nothing and better than any chemotherapy survival times that I have seen.

However I am cautiously optimistic. This study was funded by the herbal company, Imyunity that makes this very expensive compound. While I know that most studies are funded by drug/compound companies, I always hesitate when viewing the results because I believe the results can be biased.

I also wonder if these studies are reproducible with other cheaper PSP compounds like this one Coriolus-PSP or with whole turkey tail mushrooms.

At this point I am excited to add Turkey Tail into my existing protocol and see what happens. I see no down side beyond cost and I do plan to use the cheaper supplements.

I have a lot of faith in Steve Marsden’s protocol that I have started using and am excited to see if the addition of Turkey Tail helps some of these dogs even more. See The hardest cancer – how to treat hemangiosarcoma in Dogs.

If you are wanting to work with it yourself, the recommended dose would be about 2.4g per 50lb of dog or 6 400mg capsules a day.

Here is a good company if you want to work with the whole mushroom. Mushroom Harvest sells Turkey Tail in both capsules and powder form.