This article addresses Cancer in pets, although cancer can be found in both pets and people.
What is Cancer in pets?
Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells creating masses or “tumors”. Any type of cell in the body can become cancerous or a “tumor”. Once these cells grow out of control, they take over areas previously occupied by normal cells. This process continues until there is not enough normal tissue remaining to sustain normal bodily functions or this extra tissue secretes high levels of the products normally produced by those cells disturbing metabolic balance. These tumor cells can break off and travel to other areas of the body, thereby becoming metastatic. Wherever these cells lodge they can start new tumors. There are a number of factors that influence how fast a cancer may grow or spread: type of cancer cell, location, genetics, as well as any concurrent illness or debilitating condition the patient may have.
Has there been any research with regard to cancer in pets?
While much research has been devoted to determining the causes of cancer, a lot about this disease is still unknown. It is evident that factors like genetics; exposure to harmful substances, injury, and advanced age can predispose certain patients to this disease. And while some of these factors are out of our control, others can be influences by our actions and life choices.
Diagnosis of cancer in pets.
Diagnosis is often discovered in regular physical examinations and thorough medical history review. Samples of any abnormal tissue should be evaluated by a pathologist to determine the type of tumor and degree of aggressiveness of the disease. A pathologist’s report, along with other imaging such as X-rays, ultrasound, and lab work help establish the patient’s health status and determine the optimal treatment plan.< ?p>
What are the treatment options for cancer in pets? Conventional vs holistic…
Conventional treatment varies with different types of cancer and can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or any combination of these treatments. In our conventional approach to cancer treatment, the therapeutic goal is to destroy the abnormal cells without overly damaging the normal cells. Veterinary oncologists, veterinarians that specialize in the study and treatment of cancer, can be consulted to help determine what treatment would be best for the patient.
In holistic therapy, our main goals are to return the environment of the body at the cellular level to the original condition when the cancer cells could not survive. This involved optimizing food, as often waste products and chemicals in regular pet foods can contribute to the “toxic” effect. Then we want to aid the body in finding and excreting any toxins from the body as well as decrease inflammation and allow the body to “see” the tumor cells better to “fight off the cellular invasion”. Supporting the body to combat the cancer and have a strong enough immune response to overcome the cancer is critical. The tumor cells can be recognized by the body and attacked much like a splinter or other foreign material in the body. The surrounding inflammation as well as similar cell membrane proteins help the tumor to hide, but this effect can be diminished in some cases. While some holistic approaches can be utilized along side of conventional therapies, consultation with a practitioner familiar with both oncology and holistic care is critical as we do not want to do anything to weaken the effect of a chemotherapeutic if we decide to use it. Studies involving Mangosteen whole fruit concentrates, specific mushroom combinations and supergreens such as Blue Green Algae, Spirulina and Chlorella have each shown benefits for the increased ability of the body to kill cancer cells and alkalinize the cellular environment to stabilize physiology. Homeopathics can help boost the normal functioning cells supplements can specifically boost function specific to your pet’s body.
Early detection of cancer in pets is key.
The prognosis of cancer is not always a terminal disease. Early detection and appropriate treatments are important in achieving the best outcome. New advancements in diagnostics and more effective treatments are being discovered all the time. And adding in many holistic approaches along with necessary conventional therapies can only help bring about a more successful result with a better quality of life for your pet, which is the primary goal of ALL therapy.
Read additional articles by Dr. Trish below:
- Choosing a breed of dog or cat
- General care
- Choice of veterinary care
- Treatment choices
- Vaccines and Titers
- Treatment Testimonials
Dr. Trish Kallenbach DVM, CVCP has been providing exceptional holistic veterinary care for nearly two decades, continually expanding her training and treatment knowledge. She is an active member of AVMA, AHVMA, and FVMA.