Cancer: what to do when your dog is diagnosed
Statistics presented by veterinary insurance companies report that 25% of dogs will develop cancer before they die. For some reason, the cancer rate in cats is not as high as that in dogs. Therefore, this discussion will focus on dogs. However, much of what applies to dogs also applies to cats.
Sadly, labrador-type dogs are at highest risk for cancer. Other breeds, like Great Danes and Saint Bernards have a generic tendency to develop cancer at a young age – for some of these dogs, it’s as early as one and two-years-old.
A truly staggering statistic is the one that tells us that almost 90% of cancers are preventable! This means these cancers are due to environmental exposures and there are things the pet owner can do to help prevent cancer.
These preventable exposures range from vaccines, to lawn chemicals, to inflammatory ingredients found in commonly available pet foods.
Depending on the type of tumor, conventional medicine will present different options for treatment to the owner of a dog with cancer. These options can include: surgery, chemotherapy, modified chemotherapy with prednisones only, radiation, or do nothing.
Alternative medicine has the benefit of offering other complementary therapies as well. These other therapies include: detoxification, herbal therapy, homeopathic therapy, acupuncture, and others.
For the pet owner who must decide what treatment to pursue, the list of options is overwhelming! To make the decision more difficult, there is ample evidence in humans that conventional cancer treatment may treat the initial tumor, but several years later, the patient often develops a different kind of cancer as a consequence of the initial oncological treatment – chemo and radiation are not without side effects.
Several years ago, I had the honor to know a wonderful Scottish terrier named Basil. Basil had bone cancer of his left front leg. His owners were in a position where they were able to pursue the best of all treatments: he underwent surgery to remove the leg, he received chemotherapy, was fed a custom formulated diet, and spent the rest of his life making sure that he was detoxified through herbal means. Unfortunately for Basil, three years later, he developed cancer of the liver.
The liver cancer diagnosis was bittersweet. Normal life expectancy after bone cancer diagnosis in a dog is about 10 months. Basil survived almost 40 months with great quality of life!
In addition to conventional therapy, Basil’s family pursued alternative treatment methods.
Basil’s owners believed strongly that the combination of treatment methods were what made a difference in extending Basil’s longevity and quality-of-life. These alternatives included a complete nutrition consult and energy therapy with a reiki practitioner.
The nutritional consult for Basil not only recommended food to help him through his cancer treatment, but also provided balanced nutritional information for the rest of his life. Because food is the biggest thing any pet owner does for his/her pets, it made sense for Basil’s owners to start with a great diet.
Scientific evidence reports that diets high in carbohydrates accelerate the growth of many types of cancer. Therefore, just one part of Basil’s diet plan started with a grain free formulation.
While not every pet owner is able to feed a raw diet, Basil was fortunate that his family could. This played a large role in Basil’s many years between cancer episodes.
The other alternative treatment that Basil underwent was reiki. Any human who has had reiki work will tell you after a session he or she feels rejuvenated, relaxed, and energized. The reiki practitioner directs cosmic energy help the recipient. The attention and the euphoric feeling from a reiki session go along way to provide quality of life for cancer patients. For some, energy work helps the body cleanse and detoxify itself, in addition to the good feeling that comes from a reiki session.
Because cancer is inflammation gone wrong, anything that reduces inflammation can help slow the progression of the cancer is process. For some, detoxification, and good food are enough or are the answer to stop the progression of cancer. For others, the answer comes from reducing stress and decreasing adrenal related inflammation and illness – which is where reiki can help.
Dr. Cathy Alinovi DVM
As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Cathy treated 80% of what walked in the door — not with expensive prescriptions — but with adequate nutrition. Now retired from private practice, her commitment to pets hasn’t waned and she looks forward to impacting many more pet parents through her books, research, speaking and consulting work. Learn more at drcathyvet.com