What is Herbal Cancer Support?

For most people, their dogs are an important part of their family and the thought of losing them to cancer is unthinkable. Like people, however, dogs too can be stricken with this deadly disease and pet owners may be faced with difficult decisions about their care.

There are a number of reasons why traditional cancer treatments may not be an option for your dog. Not everyone has the means to afford the costly treatments associated with cancer. There are also cancers that do not respond well to traditional treatments, leaving a pet owner to decide if they want to put their pet through them or opt for humane euthanization. For these reasons, or simply because you have decided not to use toxic chemicals to treat your pet’s disease, there are alternatives treatments which include herbs that can be used to treat your dog.

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Herbal Cancer Support Procedure in Dogs

A number of herbs have been found to promote immune function and fight cancers in dogs:

  • Echinacea – There have been many studies done to show how echinacea helps to fight infection in humans, and the same is true for dogs. Research shows that it boosts the immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells in the body. 
  • Astragalus – Classified as an immune-stimulant, this herb also helps to boost your dog’s immune system. It also contains compounds that inhibit the skin cancer, melanoma. 
  • Mushrooms – The reishi, shiitake, and maitake mushrooms are part of Chinese medicine for treating cancer. The mushrooms work by boosting white blood cells and serving as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. They also have polysaccharide, which are considered potent immune stimulants. 
  • Alkylglycerols – These are lipids found in mother’s milk, bone marrow, and the liver and spleen. This compound is important for the formation of white blood cells and is believed to help protect dogs through antibody protection. 
  • Mangosteen – A tropical tree, the mangosteen has some of the most powerful antioxidants known to science, called xanthones. Mangosteen also has a COX inhibitor, which reduces inflammation and has been shown to work as an anticancer agent. 
  • Garlic – The sulphur containing compounds in garlic are well known for their immune system enhancement. Garlic can also encourage the growth of beneficial cells in your dog’s body which can slow down or reduce the growth of cancer. 
  • Cat’s Claw – This a vine that winds itself around trees in Peru. The bark is used as a medicine for a number of conditions and is a popular herb for use in dogs for a variety of different conditions including cancer. It is considered an immune enhancer, antioxidant, and it has anti-tumor properties.

Efficacy of Herbal Cancer Support in Dogs

Chemotherapy and radiation work well to shrink or eliminate tumors, but as treatments designed to kill malignant cells they do not leave your dog’s overall health untouched. The treatments are particularly hard on their immune system, frequently weakening a dog to a point where they are unable to fight the cancer. Herbs can serve to boost the immune system and strengthen important organs that are needed to help fight the cancer. 

Herbal Cancer Support Recovery in Dogs

As herbal treatments are used therapeutically to support or replace traditional cancer treatments, there is no specific recovery period or requirements associated with the therapy. A dog’s overall prognosis and recovery from cancer and related treatments will depend on his specific case.

Cost of Herbal Cancer Support in Dogs

The cost of herbal treatments to fight cancer or support other treatments will vary with the nature and course of therapy.  Individual supplements for administration at home could cost as little as $10 per month. However, related testing and veterinary consultations could significantly increase the overall cost of treatment, as each visit with a holistic veterinarian may cost $50 to $100 or more, and may be scheduled frequently to monitor your dog’s condition. Additionally, individual lab tests and imaging scans could range in cost from $30 to $1,500.

Dog Herbal Cancer Support Considerations

It is important to find a holistic veterinarian to help with alternative treatments rather than trying to treat the cancer by yourself. While the herbs listed above can do an excellent job of supporting the immune system, they should be administered under the supervision of a professional, in order to ensure safety. Additionally, there are many other treatments and other herbs which can help to kill or reduce the size of the tumors and provide your dog with the support they need to fight cancer. 

The treatments used by holistic veterinarians are still natural and many of them are herbal, but they are delivered in concentrated, targeted way as to ensure your dog gets the most benefit from them. These include IV antioxidant therapy, which delivers high levels of antioxidants directly to the blood stream, and Poly-MVA Therapy which contains lipoic acid and palladium which can be developed into an electro-active drug that destroys malignant tumors and leave healthy cells untouched. 

There are also many other herbal solutions on the horizon. For example, curcumin and artemisinin show promise in killing tumors but are not well absorbed, so more study is needed to ensure that the cancer killing properties of these herbs can reach the tumor. 

Herbal Cancer Support Prevention in Dogs

Cancer in dogs is difficult to predict and prevent, but herbal treatments may prove helpful in supporting or avoiding traditional treatment methods. The field of canine cancer treatments is still very new, so it is fraught with many obstacles such as high costs and lack of effective treatments. Herbs are an excellent way for the pet owner to help their pet strengthen his immune system and/or endure the rigors of chemotherapy and radiation and help them to recover to their former selves. If you are uncertain where to start, find a veterinarian who is open to the use of herbal supportive therapies or alternative treatments. They can help you decide which are the best treatments for the form of cancer your dog has and help you find the right dosages for any herbs you decide to use.