The condition of cancer in dogs and cats carries special nutritional requirements which are not 100% known. What we know is that a pet with cancer will undergo many physical changes as the body responds to the cancer. Without intervention, including herbal supplementation, a pet will experience drastic muscle wasting and often significant weight loss.
It is vital that a dog or cat continue to take in enough fluids either through direct drinking of water or through their diet. Many cats, even when healthy, do not ingest a lot of water and so it becomes advisable to add moisture to the pet’s diet through canned foods, fresh foods, partially soaked dry kibble, or gravies.
In addition to water, dogs and cats need to maintain a high level of calories, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Unfortunately, many dogs and cats with cancer, especially as it advances, reduce their intake of food or the cancer physically affects the pet’s ability to eat or absorb nutrients. Less food means weight loss and unfortunately, a pet’s diet quickly becomes unbalanced as it subsists on small portions, table scraps, or whatever a caring pet owner can get into it.
While Western medicine has come to rely on surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy to temporarily stave off cancer, for most cancer in dogs and cats these methods buy a short amount of precious time. Anywhere from a month or two to a year and a half is common, depending on the kind of cancer and severity.
These methods are not wrong, but they aren’t always the best method. In fact, chemotherapy can depress or even destroy a pet’s immune system leaving them vulnerable to illness and death. Herbal and natural remedies can help provide the missing link of nutrients that are necessary to keep a pet healthy and to help revive its immune system.
There are many cases to validate that supplementation with herbs has helped a pet live longer than expected and more importantly, helped them enjoy a good quality of life. Dr. Richard Clemmons, an Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the University of Florida, says various studies have shown that the supplement cat’s claw has been used to bring about the successful remission of tumors like brain tumors. Cat’s claw comes from the Peruvian rain forest and the locals have long used it for the treatment of cancer.
Other natural elements have been shown to be potentially effective in cancer treatment. Dr. Shawn Messonnier, author of The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, says that burdock root has become an effective addition to supplementation for cancer patients. It helps to remove any unwanted toxins from the body like environmental toxins or chemotherapy.
Other herbal treatments for cancer in dogs and cats include slippery elm to help soothe the digestive tract, sheep sorrel to act as a powerful anti-oxidant, turmeric root to act as an anti-inflammatory, and Turkish rhubarb root for an astringent and cleanser of the digestive tract.
There are many accounts of how these herbs work to help the body heal itself. While they may not fully send cancer into remission, they are a powerful natural addition to any cancer treatment regime. They provide an extra arsenal in treating your pet’s cancer that many holistic veterinarians stand behind. Of course, as with any supplement, always consult your veterinarian or qualified health care provider before use.
References: oncolink.org/types/article.cfm?c=22&s=69&ss=550&id=6002 neuro.vetmed.ufl.edu/neuro/AltMed/Cancer/Cancer_AltMed.htm Messonnier DVM, Shawn. The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer n Dogs. New World Library, 2006 Cancer in dogs and cats