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Cancer, Part 2 – Treatment

Let’s get practical, now. How can some dogs be fed old cheap kibble and live a long and happy life? I see this over and over! All I can say is, some have great genetic protective DNA, otherwise known as hybrid vigor. In contrast, a purebred dog who definitely has a predisposition for cancers and other degenerative diseases cannot be starved for nutrients by poor feeding practices. We want to do all we can to help this dog’s system to work well on the cellular level. Even so, there is no guarantee that the defective DNA is not going to be expressed as cancer. Until some better genetic testing becomes available, we and all our dogs must live to optimize good health. We don’t know which gene pool we are in! Regardless of our genetic map, starvation of our cells for nutrients they need to do their regulatory jobs will catch up sooner (if “Bad” genetics) or later( if “good” genetics).

But if the cancer stage is set early on, how can we treat the disease once it becomes clinical? In my opinion, surgery and radiation fall into the same category. These methods destroy tumors and cells. The positives are, they may buy some time, they may provide the patient a better comfort level (such as an amputation for painful osteosacrcoma). The negatives are that surgery can seed tumor cells for metastasis(once thought an “old wives tale”), and radiation destroys healthy tissues. Apart from biopsy to predict the behavior of a tumor, surgery should be subject to careful consideration. Radiation can be useful for areas that are difficult to reach. But, remember, these are first lines of defense and they do not cure the underlying disease process. Do we just go back to our old lifestyle after these efforts to buy time? Certainly not!

Chemotherapy covers a huge array of therapies from intravenous toxic drugs to very safe oral medications. Different combinations and drugs are constantly being developed. Newer safer choices work at the cellular level to disrupt enzyme systems or blood supply to rapidly dividing cells. Herbal combinations can easily be included in “Chemo” protocols because they do work similarly. There is less research on herbal combinations because they are regulated as nutritional supplements and not drugs. There is less money to be made by “Big Pharma” who gives financial support research and development. This said, there are a multitude of medical agents with plant origins. Remember the yew tree, the source of Taxol? Herbal plant combinations have been used clinically to slow tumor growth and importantly to support the immune system rather than destroying it. Plant medicines are gentler and will act slower that the “big guns”. Sometimes you have no time to work with and sometimes you do. Your biopsy results will indicate the likely behavior of your tumor. I have found the term “chemo” will trigger a gut reaction from pet owners that basically says,” I don’t want to subject my pet to that.” I hope that after reading this you will look into these options.

I believe that homeopathic medicines have the greatest potential to actually cure cancer because they work on an energetic level and the effects are so profound. Their effects seem to supersede and biological explanation I can come up with. There is much research to be done in these medications which use the energetic properties of natural substances imprinted on the amazing memory of water molecules to alter the body’s bioenergetics in a very specific way. This is my own definition and explanation of homeopathic medicines as contrasted with herbal medications discussed above. There are very few practitioners who are experienced in homeopathy but a naturopathic background is essential for their effective use.

One very basic principle of cancer therapy is to rebalance the immune system. One sure way to stress the immune system is to inject viruses and foreign adjuvants into the body for it to do something with. If you only take away one thing from this that should be to never vaccinate a cancer patient. I am speaking of veterinary patients. Most have plenty of immunity to infections diseases from previous vaccines or exposures. This can be documented with a titer test you can request if you must. I will ask you, “Would you love to get a flu shot, a rabies shot, and a tetanus vaccine while you’re here for your chemo treatment today?”

Nutrition is still the foundation of therapy and gives the body what it needs to fight. This includes the knowledge that cancer cells love carbs, so a low carbohydrate diet is essential. Nutrients like selenium, coenzyme Q-10, fish oil, and DHA have been proven to slow cancer growth in the veterinary arena. Nutrition is the easiest thing we can alter, and though it seems to be closing the door after the horse got out, it is still the best thing we can do for our pets now. I have had owners say their pets think they are already in heaven from the change to home cooked foods! Healing foods create a bond that is really special during the last years of a pets life. It’s a giving back to them for all their unconditional love. Healing foods give us the ability to do something to help rather than experiencing the helplessness of a cancer diagnosis. And, the lessons we learn in doing so may save our own lives someday.

MLewter, DVM


January 5, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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