Canine cancer treatment is often conducted using one or a combination of three methods:
Treatment: Surgery for Canine Cancer
Surgery is used if the cancer is in one area of your dog's body and can be reached by a surgeon. Since cancer cannot be seen by the eye your surgeon may not get all cancer cells, requiring follow-up treatment with chemotherapy or radiation.
Treatment: Radiation for Canine Cancer
Radiation treatment for canine cancer involves directing radiation directly at cells causing them to shrink. It is used for tumors that are too difficult to remove by surgery. Treatments last for up to 6 weeks with radiation doses given 2x to 5x a week. Dogs receive anesthesia prior to treatment to ensure they do not move when the radiation beam is being aimed at the tumor.
Treatment: Chemotherapy for Canine Cancer
There are several chemotherapy drugs that are used in combination to attack cancer cells and keep them from multiplying. Cancers of the blood or those that spread are excellent candidates for this type of treatment. It is not common for dogs to lose their hair during chemotherapy. Drugs are administered intravenously or directly into a tumor.
Treatment: Cryotherapy for Canine Cancer
If cancer is on the skin, a freezing substance can be applied to the tumor. This is often done with radiation to ensure that all cells in the infected area are caught. Cryotherapy is also used after surgery to make sure that all mutant or cancerous cells are removed.
Treatment: Immune System Modulators for Canine Cancer
These drugs boost the immune system of your dog. The problem is that even with a more effective immune system, there is no guarantee that all cancer cells will be naturally destroyed.
Additional Support: Natural Supplements to Help Boost Immune System
Cancer is a serious illness and while herbs and natural remedies have shown very promising results in the treatment of cancer, we recommend that they be used as supportive therapy in the overall cancer treatment program of your pet.
Advise your vet that you are using any type of supplement as part of your dog's diet so that your veterinarian can monitor results.
Herbal supplements to investigate include:
- Astragalus membranaceous: Recent research has highlighted the ability of this remedy to improve the functioning of the immune system and protect against disease. Recent studies suggest that Astragalus helps to activate the immune system and may prevent the spread of malignant cancer cells to surrounding healthy tissue. Research conducted by the University of Texas found that an extract of Astragalus helped to restore immune functioning in cancer patients with compromised immune systems. This is particularly important after chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
- Viscum album (Mistletoe): Known for its anti-tumor properties, this herb also helps to lower blood pressure and improve the functioning of the immune system. Results of both human and animal studies suggest that this ancient herb has an important part to play in the supportive treatment of cancer.
- Echinacea purpurea is well known for its excellent benefits for immune functioning and for its antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Used as a natural antibiotic, immune stimulant and anti-allergy agent, Echinacea is also effective as a tonic for the lymphatic system and has been investigated as supportive treatment in AIDS therapy. Regular use can help to keep your dog healthy and resistant to a range of illnesses.
- Withania somnifera (Yarrow) (Ashwagandha): is also called 'Indian ginseng' and is one of the most important Ayurvedic tonic herbs, assisting with growth, health and vigor. Regular use can help to nourish the blood and increase hemoglobin levels. Recent studies have demonstrated that Ashwagandha has anti-tumor properties and can help to prevent or slow the development of cancers. It is an effective anti-inflammatory and has excellent calming properties. This herb is often recommended as a tonic to assist with recovery after illness.
- Sylibum marianus (Milk Thistle): is regarded as one of the most important herbal liver tonics and restoratives. Milk Thistle has been subject to many clinical trials which clearly demonstrate its effectiveness. It is frequently recommended to counteract the harmful effects of prescription drugs and vaccinations on the liver and clinical studies have shown that it helps the liver to return to normal functioning. Scientific analysis of Milk Thistle shows that it contains a flavonoid complex called silymarin, which is largely responsible for the medical benefits of this herb. Silymarin is a powerful anti-oxidant and can block the entrance of toxins into the liver and remove toxins at cellular level, thereby resulting in regeneration of liver cells and improved liver functioning. This would have a direct impact on the overall systemic health of your pet as the liver is one of the most important organs in the body.
- Uncaria tormentosa (Cat's Claw): This South American plant has been used by the natives of Peru hundreds of years. Cat's Claw boasts many medicinal benefits, among them its anti-tumor properties, making it well known as a cancer preventative.
A good commercial source for additional information is PetAlive for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer in dogs.