AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH TO PET CANCER
THERE ARE FEW WORDS WHICH STRIKE AS MUCH FEAR INTO US AS…. CANCER. Especially pet cancer. But as your integrative veterinarian in San Luis Obispo, we can help you both in the advanced diagnostics and holistic care necessary to help you and your family in their journey through pet cancer.
Our understanding of pet cancer has come a very long ways in the last few years. Whereas cancer– in both humans and pets– was once thought of as ultimate bad luck and no more, now we are recognizing that many forms of cancer are due to either genetics, environmental factors, or chronic inflammation within the body.
When we think of genetics and disease, it is easy to dwell only on birth defects ranging from cleft palates to heart murmurs. This is really just the tip of the iceberg, though. Look back a couple generations in your own family– any disease patterns there? Diabetes begets diabetes, kidney disease begets kidney disease, cancer begets cancer. The same things apply to our pets, from eye problems to orthopedic disease to cancer. Different breeds… and different families within the breed… have different risks.
While we can do very little about genetics, there is an abundance of evidence that shows we CAN minimize the environmental triggers and chronic inflammation that are responsible for devastating diseases. Look around you– your (and your pet’s) environment takes many different forms. What you touch, what you inhale, what you eat and drink. Some examples? Chronic pesticide handling and leukemia, tobacco and lung cancer, high fat diets and intestinal cancer, diet soft drinks and kidney disease.
Most recently, researchers have shown the link between chronic inflammation, free radicals, and all kinds of different cancers– from skin cancer to leukemia. This has prompted a closer look at how to reduce inflammation not just in a geriatric patient, but in patients of all ages with a goal of reducing the cumulative effect of those free radicals on one’s body. Because the same free radicals that can cause cancer, heart disease, or diabetes are also responsible for the aging of our cells. By reducing our free radical load, we can live not only healthier…. but longer.
Our goal with this discussion is to open the door for you to explore the natural ways we have of living that proverbial healthier and longer life, with special emphasis on our pets but perhaps a moral somewhere for you and me, as well.
FREE RADICALS, CANCER, AND HOW TO MINIMIZE THEM BOTH
Here’s the problem. They start innocently enough, formed as metabolic byproducts and toxins combine with oxygen But as they accumulate, free radicals create inflammation wherever they are. As this inflammation increases, it damages the cells around it, creating more free radicals–a vicious little chain reaction. If enough cells are damaged, the organs they comprise can simply stop working (ie, disease and aging)…. or some of these cells can lose their normal regulation, so they begin to proliferate and cause cancer.
Our goals for our pets, then, are to minimize free radicals. How? Antioxidants. Are adequate levels of such antioxidants present in our pets’ diet?? The answer is an unqualified…. maybe. Many antioxidants are denatured by the heating and processing of pet food, so there is no one answer to this. To ensure adequate antioxidants for our pets, we must rely either upon phytonutrients found in raw fruits and vegetables, or use supplements.
The most commonly used antioxidant supplements include…
-Vitamin C given at 5 mg per lb body weight once a day
-Vitamin E given at 8 IU per lb body weight once a day
-Alpha Lipoic Acid: Known as the “universal antioxidant” because it is soluble in both water and fat, and thus is available to all tissues. It also is known to increase the effectiveness of other antioxidants. Dosed at 2 mg per lb body weight once a day
-Selenium: There are many evidence-based studies demonstrating that the addition of selenium to the diet helps to reduce the incidence of cancer in animals (Rayman 2000). Dosed at 1.5 micrograms per lb body weight once a day.
We can also ensure that cells have adequate nutrients and energy to fight off the insults of free radicals. This is where the following supplements come into play…
-CoEnzymeQ10 given at 2.5 mg per lb body weight once a day.
-L-Carnitine given at 25 mg per lb body weight twice a day.
Finally, you should know that there are two natural supplements that act not only to protect cells against inflammation, but also to specifically inhibit several pathways that enable normal cells to turn into cancer.
-Curcumin This is simply a “wonder supplement”, and anyone seriously interested in the potential for herbal intervention in cancer would do well to research the recent work of Dr. BB Aggarwal out of the MD Anderson Cancer Center.
-Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oils. Commonly included in pet diets, but also unfortunately commonly denatured by their heating and exposure to light. Thus it is ESSENTIAL to supplement your pet with a fresh source of these acids– like fish oil.
THE INTEGRATIVE TREATMENT OF CANCER
Did you know that there are actual studies in humans showing that certain herbs are effective inboth the prevention and treatment of cancer?? A few examples are the following:
Curcumin– effective vs. myeloma, breast, brain, ovarian, and prostate cancer
Green Tea (EGCG)– effective vs. breast, cervical, esophageal, ovarian,lung cancer & lymphoma
Reishi mushrooms– effective vs. liver, breast, and bladder cancer, and leukemia
Maitake mushrooms — effective vs. breast and liver cancer
WE HAVE INTEGRATIVE TREATMENT RECOMMENDATIONS– BASED ON EVIDENCE, NOT GUESSWORK OR ADVERTISING HYPE– FOR THE FOLLOWING TYPES OF CANCER IN YOUR PET
-MAST CELL TUMORS
THIS IS SERIOUS STUFF. IF WE AT MISSION ANIMAL HOSPITAL CAN HELP YOU, PLEASE LET US KNOW….