Cancer, when caught early enough, and action taken quickly, can be treated. Do your research on line and with more than one vet. Contact Dr. Couto – he will consult with your local vets and knows greyhounds and cancer very well. Amputation is often a good option (for some dogs, when caught early enough) for months and maybe even years of pain free living.
Join this group –Circle of Grey, a safe place for those dealing with cancer or other serious illnesses in greyhounds. There are quick references to links for cancers, personal stories, and most of all, the most caring, compassionate, non-judgmental people from all over the world.
List from Dr. Suzanne Stack
– ankle, shoulder, knee, hip
– x-ray lame spots early on unless diagnosis obvious
– if nothing found and lameness persists, repeat x-rays 3-4 weeks
– orthopedic surgeon consult helpful to pinpoint “mystery lameness”
– constant, throbbing pain
– amputate +/- chemo or limb sparing (ankle)
– if not amputated, be generous with pain meds and be ready to euthanize
– combine pain meds (NSAIDS, narcotics, Ultram, Fosamax)
– if he’s limping, it hurts – poor appetite, panting, shaking, can’t get comfortable, stops participating
– pathologic fracture
Lymphoma (lymphosarcoma) multicentric & intestinal most common
– very responsive to chemo
– intestinal LSA requires aggressive diagnostics (endoscopy, exploratory)
– diagnose early if you intend to chemo
– skin – very common, solar induced, not as malignant
– spleen & heart HSA can bleed out within hours
– prognosis poor even with surgery
Mast Cell Tumor
– grade I & II – good prognosis with wide surgical resection
– radiation, amputation if margins “dirty” or
– Lomustine (Ceenu) chemo relatively cheap and easy
– pill every 3 weeks – check CBC prior to dosing
– liver toxic – recommend Denosyl (SAMe) 400-600 mg daily
Canine Cancers – Understanding, Prevention and Treatment
By Robert McDowell, Herbalist
Cancer is a breakdown of the immune system, pure and simple. Our immune systems identify and destroy foreign, mutant and imperfect cells found in the body as its main function. It does so quietly and efficiently from day one and, it only when this system is compromised, that cancers can develop.
There seems to be a cruel parallel between the rise in the incidence of Canine Cancers and the same trend in Human Cancers. Cancer in dogs was pretty rare not so long ago. Now Osteosarcoma and Lymphoma are becoming increasingly commonplace followed closely by the emergence of others including Fibrosarcoma, Melanoma, Thyroid and Anal Gland Carcinoma for example.
The argument that the modern prevalence of human cancer is only an illusion, based on the fact that we are living so much longer and we are succumbing to Cancers only because we are not dying from other illnesses, never held water. High infant mortality rates in previous centuries allowed us to say that the average life expectancy was 45 years or 55 years or whatever. This, in fact was never true if you took the life expectancy of someone who had already reached the age of 12. Starting from this age even 200 years ago, life expectancy was no more than 10 years shorter than currently. We don’t hear this particular life expectancy argument so much anyway nowadays, because it is blindingly obvious that younger and younger people are falling prey to more and more Cancers. Maybe all we have achieved in 100 years of modern medicine is to keep non-viable infants and sick adults, alive beyond their natural span.
In the case of domesticated dogs. Cancer is on the rise, developmental disorders are commonplace, life expectancy is shortening and they are more fragile and more expensive to maintain nowadays, than ever before. There has also been a massive international industry built up around processed dog food, health treatments, and more recently ‘snack foods’ for our dogs which is in very spooky juxtaposition to the same trends in our own lives.
Horses still eat grass (most of them anyway) and Cats still catch birds (almost all of them). Dogs nowadays don’t get to eat much raw or ripening meat and don’t get to eat many bones. They don’t get to catch their own prey or scavenge for food. They don’t eat the raw stomach contents of dead animals they only ever get to eat (gulp actually) cooked, commercial and chemicalised feeds. They don’t get enough exercise and they often share the stress and the boredom of our own lifestyles. They are getting sicker and this is no surprise.
I came across the ultimate nonsense, a couple of years ago when I was invited to comment on the new “natural” range of dog products being manufactured by an international company with a factory in my home town in rural Australia. There was the display rack with rows and rows of brightly packaged snack foods for dogs and cats and 90% of them had no English writing on them at all, it was all in Japanese and Korean. Then, these two bright young technicians tried to tell me that spraying a yoghurt derivative on the outside of a bone shaped object made out of what looked like treated plastic (not ground bone, because it was too messy on the carpet) was somehow a healthy product innovation.
This is the same factory that makes a large part of its income from a very popular dried dog feed which is largely composed of the protein and fiber found in a local woody weed tree which no dog in the wild would ever eat, even if starving. This is the same multinational which built its wealth on an extraordinarily rich chocolate and caramel bar which was one of the very first snack foods advertised and marketed to us humans, back in the 1950’s.
Neither Cancer nor good health is solely dependent on what we put in our mouths. In fact as humans, we are able to subvert our immune systems and our health in a vast number of different ways including what we eat, drink, inhale, inject, rub on, do, feel, sit in front of, work amongst, transmit as electromagnetic waves etc, the list goes on. Our dogs have somewhat less complicated lives and, although stress, boredom and artificial environments are emerging problems, their modern diet and subverted exercise patterns are the major factors in the increase in Canine Cancers at this point in time.
My friend and Veterinary Surgeon, Dr Ian Billinghurst has produced two simple and practical books, which have made his peers a little uncomfortable. These books are entitled respectively “Give Your Dog A Bone” and “Grow Your Pups with Bones”. They are both based around what he calls the B.A.R.F. diet, which is an acronym for Bones and Raw Food. I really have nothing much to add to his contentions that commercial dog food along with subverted exercise patterns in our modern dogs lives, is almost completely responsible for the decline in Canine health since the 1930’s. This includes increasing incidence of Reproductive and Skeletal problems along with Cancers, Heart and Kidney problems, Arthritis, shortening life spans, poorer health and life quality generally. I can strongly recommend his books to you.
As a Herbalist, I endorse the simple and very practical approach to life that states we were designed within our environment and for the demands of surviving within it. Any time we subvert the support systems built into this environment, we run risks. Mankind, in the second half of the 20th Century, has embarked on a massive and unrestrained experiment in the subversion of almost all aspects of his environment, diet and support systems and is beginning to pay the price. In this experiment he has taken with him his faithful friend the Dog, who is now also now paying the price for all this foolishness.
Become familiar with, and practice the Bones and Raw Food principles of feeding. Re-establish biologically appropriate exercise patterns and see your puppies grow free of reproductive and skeletal problems and your ailing adult dogs return to good health. Ian suggests a combination of commercial and natural sources of supplements and nutrients along with bones, meat, offal, and a variety of vegetables and grains. I certainly agree with his recommendations regarding Eggs, Garlic and Honey for example and his raw lean meat and vegetable patty recipes. My suggestions below are to be seen as a herbalist’s perspective on the same requirements, only really differing in the preference toward natural sources and in the more detailed understanding of the medicinal value of plants and grains as apposed to simply their nutritional value.
As a Medical Herbalist, I don’t see the need for a lot of commercial mineral and vitamin supplements preferring to suggest that natural sources of such things are preferable, usually cheaper, and more easily assimilated than the commercial variety. Let us consider some of the Vitamins and Minerals one at a time.
Vitamin A: Is found in Eggs, Fish Oil, Carrots and Leafy Green Vegetables and is therefore much better fed as such, rather than as processed supplements.
Vitamin B: Is found in all grains, and the idea of giving Vitamin B supplements to animals which have grain in their diet is a complete nonsense. Vitamin B12 is a little harder to get and is best found in the herb Comfrey, which can be included OCASIONALLY AND IN SMALL QUANTITES, and in these doses is a valuable supplement.
Bioflavinoids: Can be supplied with a little Buckwheat to provide Rutin especially for healthy blood vessels.
Calcium and Silica: Are found in Bones, Cereals and Leafy Greens. I contend that diets high in dairy food and calcium supplements are inappropriate and detrimental for pups and for adult dogs. This mostly because the balance between Calcium and other minerals and fat, while suitable to growing calves, is not suitable for either dogs or humans. The specific cereals I strongly recommend be included in all dog diets are freshly ground Millet and Linseed to which can be added some Buckwheat and fresh Wheat Germ. The Calcium to Silica and other minerals balance found in Millet and Linseed is absolutely perfect for the growth, health and strength of bones and for the health, strength and elasticity of ligaments. In other words this simple cereal combination does it all.
Vitamin C: Is found in fresh greens in abundance. At times of illness, shock or unusual physical stress, a few Rosehips Tea Bags steeped in boiling water and allowed to cool will provide massive extra amounts of Vitamin C and Iron to aid in recovery from such an episode.
Choline: Is found in bitter vegetables and the leaves of Dandelions and is critical for effective liver function. A dandelion leaf can be included sometimes in the vegetable component of the raw food diet. Otherwise let a few dandelions and other weeds and grasses grow around the yard and watch your dog seek them out for liver support, occasionally.
Vitamin D: Is synthesized by the action of Sunlight on Skin and found in Fish Oils. Not needed so much for the working dog living outside, but could well be important for the house pet waiting inside all day for its owners return. Cod Liver Oil provides the entire Vitamin A and D requirement.
Vitamin E: Is found in fresh wheat germ along with the whole range of Vitamin B’s and is the commercial source of both E’s and B’s. A little fresh wheat germ included with the cereal components of the raw food diet is all that is required. Anything more expensive or more processed is a nonsense.
Iron: Is found in Meat, Wheat Germ and in Green Vegetables especially Parsley and Nettle.
Trace Elements: Are all found in Kelp.
It all boils down to Meat, Offal and Bones, Eggs, Millet and Linseed, Green and Root Vegetables, Wheat Germ, Cod Liver Oil, Kelp and a small amount of table scraps. To this I would add Garlic as a protection against infection and a sulphur source, the inclusion of the odd weed like Dandelion and Comfrey and the odd exposure to Rosehips.
I base my treatments around the twin approach of providing the extraordinarily powerful antioxidant properties from the Maritime Pine Bark in extract form, along with a combination of other herbal ingredients in support of the immune systems’ particular area of weakness. In addition to cancer specific formulations, I have developed mixtures supporting recovery from surgery and for recovery and damage minimisation from radio and chemotherapy protocols. The whole thrust of my treatment programs is to assist the body to reverse the process of cancer altogether and to act as both support and stand-alone treatment.
Many dog owners and their Vets, prefer to retain some aspects of their orthodox treatments whether it be surgery and/or radio or chemotherapy. There is no conflict in combining orthodox and herbal treatment programs although, after I have demonstrated a remission or a reversal, I strongly recommend ceasing ongoing or follow-up chemo or radiotherapy, as these treatments are so destructive to the immune system itself. My experience with treating Canine Osteosarcoma and after following up on each individual case over the past three years especially is, that I expect to produce remission conditions often for many months with the absence of pain and return to vitality. Dogs seem to respond quickly to these programs are remain able to sustain this improved life quality for 6 to 12 months or more in most cases. Quite often then, they seem to deteriorate rapidly although I do have a significant number of cases, which appear to have been totally cured.
My success rate in treating Canine Lymphoma appears so far, to be better than for the Osteosarcoma program. This is probably due to two factors;
- Firstly; the cell replacement rate in soft tissue and the lymphatic system within the body is much faster than it is in bone tissue, thereby allowing a more rapid response within the body.
- Secondly; unlike with my human patients, I am able to stimulate the lymphatic system and clear toxins more aggressively with my canine patients. The risk in humans is that being so aggressive could spread the cancer cells more widely in the early part of the treatment. This runs the risk of my being held legally responsible for a worsening of the prognosis in some instances. My canine patients seem to be able to cope with the more aggressive lymphatic tonics and they are also less inclined to sue.
The Herbal Prescriptions:
Bone Growth, Bone Healing:
Besides the dietary recommendations above and especially the inclusion of Millet and Linseed in the daily diet the herbal stimulants to healthy bone growth and healing are Comfrey, Equisetum, Nettle and Yarrow. With these I include the Bach Flower essence Oak.
Lymphoma Treatment Support:
Besides the Maritime Pine Bark extract the herbs I include in this treatment include Bladderack, Comfrey, Equisetum, Golden Seal, Parsley, Rosehips and Violet Leaves. With these I include the Bach Flower essences Oak, Olive, Pine, Water Violet, Walnut and Wild Oat.
Osteosarcoma Treatment Support:
Besides the Maritime Pine Bark extract the herbs I include in this treatment include Bladderack, Comfrey, Equisetum, Golden Seal, Parsley, Rosehips and Yarrow.
With these I include the Bach Flower essences Oak, Olive, Pine, Water Violet, Walnut and Wild Oat.
This combination seeks to minimise the damage done to the organs and systems in the body including the liver, pancreas, thyroid and the digestive and immune systems generally. Herbs I include are Chamomile, St Mary’s Thistle, Alfalfa, Rosehips, Thuja, Parsley, Fennel, Blue Flag, Ginger and Liquorice. With these I include the Bach Flower essences Rescue Remedy, Walnut, Wild Oat, Scleranthus and Honeysuckle.
This combination seeks to minimise the damage and impact of the radiation both during treatment and during the 3 months following treatment where damage continues to occur. Herbs I include are Comfrey, St Mary’s Thistle, Kelp, Yarrow, Thuja, Fennel and Sage. With these I include the Bach Flower essences Olive, Scleranthus, Gorse, Holly and Wild Oat.
Too much of a Good Thing!
In my experience with Canine Cancer I have come across the most extraordinarily patient and accommodating dogs who are submitting themselves to the most complex and onerous regimens by their owners. These owners are the ones who are the most desperately attached to and concerned for their dogs. They implement programs, which consist of every single thing ever recommended or found on the Internet which they sometimes list to me in exhaustive detail. More is not better, your dog is only submitting to all this stuff out of love for you.
My advice is to institute immediately the B.A.R.F diet possibly modified as per my discussion above. Then settle on and persist with a simple program of immune system and antioxidant support along with other programs addressed to the specific type of cancer and to the health and treatment history overall. Then enjoy, and let your pet enjoy, the health and improvement that flow from this. Don’t give your dog any “treats” other than raw meaty bones and space to run freely in. Keep the whole program going forever, even if recovery seems to be complete.
Allowing bad old habits to creep back usually precedes dropping out of remission.
Cancer Program re Explain and Price
Ever since an article on an osteosarcoma patient of mine appeared in the Whole Dog Journal I have been besieged with inquiry and have therefore had the opportunity to treat this specific condition in 30 or 40 cases around the world in the past 18 months. I have been following up in each case and have had great results in producing remission conditions often for many months with the absence of pain and return to vitality. They seem to be able to sustain this for 6 to 12 months or more and then deteriorate very quickly in many cases although I do have some which seem to be totally cured.
I base my treatments around the twin approach of providing the extraordinarily powerful antioxidant properties from the Maritime Pine Bark in 1:1 extract form as well as providing a mixture of other herbal extracts specific for the type of cancer involved. The whole effect is to assist the body to reverse the process altogether and act as stand-alone treatments. Many people however prefer to retain some aspects of their orthodox treatments and there is no conflict in doing so although after I have demonstrated reversal I strongly recommend ceasing chemo and radio therapy.
The price for 100 mls of the Cancer Tonic would be US$47.00 including postage, and the Maritime Pine Bark 50 mls for US$45.00 including postage. Both of these treatments would be sufficient for four months treatment and can be mixed directly into the animals feed or a small amount of water and syringed over the tongue. As far as dietary advice I recommend nothing but raw meat and meaty bones with raw rolled oats soaked overnight in water to which is added some ground green vegetables. No supplements, no additives, no vitamins, no cooked food with the exception of maybe brown rice or sweet potatoes, no treats, no milk. You get the idea. I am strongly of the opinion that the condition is a late 20th century one insofar as it seems to be becoming endemic.
Osteosarcoma – Bone Cancer
Is the incidence of bone cancer higher in Greyhounds than other breeds?
The overall incidence of bone cancer is approximately 3.4 to 4.5% of all canine tumors. However, dogs that weigh more than 80 pounds were found to be 61 to 185 times at greater risk than those weighing less than 75 pounds. Middle aged and older male dogs are most at risk.
The cause of bone cancer is not entirely known, but some theories exist. Some believe that osteosarcoma is the spontaneous result of rapidly multiplying cells in the growth plates of bones, which are genetically at a greater mutation risk. Another theory holds that bone cancer develops at the site of bone trauma. These are called Fracture-Associated Sarcomas (FASA). It is felt that the chronic cellular activity of repair and regeneration causes the cancer. With all the injuries that Greyhounds sustain, it makes sense that they might be more susceptible to this disease.
The growth plates at either end of the long bones are the most commonly affected sites for osteosarcomas. The lesions in dogs appear as painful swellings most commonly involving the growth plates of the distal radius (near the wrist), tibia (near the hock or heel), the ulna (also in the wrist), and the proximal humerus (near the shoulder). Other locations that are less frequently affected are the scapula, skull, jaw, pelvis, vertebrae and ribs. Some bone tumors are actually other tissue types which tend to be less malignant than osteosarcoma. However, 70-85% are the highly malignant osteosarcoma form.
Research has shown many breeds are at risk for osteosarcoma, namely: Great Dane, St. Bernard, Great Pyrenese, Newfoundland, Bernese Mountain Dog, and Irish Wolfhound. It is also seen in other large breed dogs such as Rottweilers, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Shepherds, Rhodesians, Dobermans, Wiemeraners and Boxers. Until recently, Greyhounds have not been included in these lists because of their short (racing) lifespan. Since osteosarcoma occurs in middle aged to older dogs, and Greyhounds rarely lived past their racing days, it just wasn’t seen in these dogs. However, cancer researchers that specialize in bone cancer are seeing more and more beloved Greyhounds with this disease.
Osteosarcoma is a devastating disease. Until recently, dogs diagnosed with bone cancer rarely lived longer than 2-4 months after diagnosis. The only treatment was amputation of the affected limb, which was considered palliative (pain-relieving). Metastasis or spread of the disease is swift and was the cause of death. However, within the last few years, extensive research has opened up new possibilities.
Dr. Stephen Withrow, a veterinary oncologist at Colorado State University has been responsible for a great deal of research in bone cancer in humans and animals. He has worked with human oncologists and has been a pioneer in treatment of bone cancer in humans and animals. His research has involved radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgical removal of the cancerous regions of the bone and reconstructing the limb with bone grafts. This is called “Limb-Sparing,” and is considered THE treatment for many cases of osteosarcoma. The procedure involves pre-surgical chemotherapy or radiation, then removal of the affected bone. The chemotherapy is necessary to eliminate the micro-metastasis
(small areas of cancer spread) throughout the body. Bone grafts from cadavers are inserted, as well as sponge-like material impregnated with chemotherapy drugs. The bone graft allows the patient to keep his limb. This method has increased the life span of many patients to over 2 years. There is the risk of complications , namely infection, which can have an effect on lifespan. This procedure is limited to osteosarcoma in certain locations, primarily the distal radius and ulna (wrist). Limb-Sparing is also being performed at two other universities – The Ohio State University and University of Illinois. Research is ongoing and increasing, as CSU is building a large animal cancer center (you may have seen Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf on a commercial with his dog Murphy, asking for donations to the center).
More recently, Dr. Nicole Ehrhart at the University of Illinois has been incorporating a procedure used in other forms of orthopedic repair, to treat osteosarcoma. A research project with the Morris Animal Foundation has shown that a procedure called Bone Transport Osteogenesis (BTO) can be used to avoid the use of a bone graft. The patient still undergoes chemotherapy prior to surgery, then has the cancerous area of the bone removed. However, instead of a bone graft, the patient is fitted with an apparatus which allows his own bone to fill in the gap. This results in a stronger area which is less susceptible to infection. Chemotherapy afterwards helps eliminate cancer elsewhere in the body. This study is still in the preliminary stages and has only been attempted in a few dogs, but it has shown very promising results. Dr. Ehrhart is anxious to become involved with more Greyhounds with osteosarcoma to continue her studies. It is also possible that Michigan State University may start performing this procedure in the future.
Does this sound overwhelming? It isn’t really that bad. Chemotherapy can be performed at many veterinary offices and follow-up does not always require re-visiting the university multiple times. Prices vary widely, but cost for surgery and chemotherapy can range from $2500 – 5000 (much less than the cost for humans!!). Pet insurance can often cover a good portion of these costs – SO SERIOUSLY CONSIDER PURCHASING PET HEALTH INSURANCE BEFORE YOU NEED IT!!!
The most important thing I can emphasize to you is that any lameness or swelling should be investigated with an X-Ray. Never assume that it’s just arthritis! Time is SO MPORTANT because of the extremely rapid spread of the disease. The Veterinary Cancer Society has determined that X-Rays, history (location of the swelling, age, breed, the presence of pain), and the absence of fungal disease is sufficient to begin treatment. Biopsy is often a waste of time.
Dr. Karen M. Michalski
Serenity Animal Hospital
Total Cancer Management in Small Animals by Susan G Wynn, DVM – AltVetMed
The supposed “Cancer Fighting Diet” and its various incarnations have been popularized recently. The principles behind this diet are simple: lower carbohydrates, raise fats, and use good quality protein. Researchers theorize that tumor cells utilize carbohydrates (found in sugar, grains, starchy vegetables and the like) more readily than energy from other sources such as fat. This diet is not yet available commercially, but it is easy to cook one for your pet. The diet described below is purposefully vague and designed only to get you thinking — the diet is not balanced for long term health maintenance and should be constructed only under the supervision of your veterinarian.
In general, a good quality protein source such as poultry, fish, or cottage cheese should comprise anywhere from 30-70% of the total diet volume. Another excellent protein source is soybean, so tofu may be substituted for meat on occasion. The remainder should be a mixture of vegetables, which should be provided in variety. Animals tend to like the sweet taste of carrots, corn and green beans, but an effort should be made to provide vegetables with FEWER sweet carbohydrates and more of the suspected cancer fighting indole-3-carbinols and other phytochemicals (such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, radishes, tomatoes, red peppers, carrots, etc). Many owners like to feed pets fruits, but you should remember that the sweet taste comes from simple carbohydrates, so fruits should be somewhat limited.
Most pet owners find that their animals do well with no starches added to the diet, but if your pet seems to lose energy, consult a veterinarian and find a low percentage to add to the diet. Carbohydrates come from grains like wheat, oats, barley, rice and corn. These can be added in the form of cooked oatmeal, barley, pasta, brown rice, potatoes, quinoa, etc.
The easiest way to ensure that the pet is getting the balance required is to blend all of the above ingredients in a food processor, so that a picky dog or cat doesn’t throw out a vegetable that he or she dislikes! Many people make a large batch of food, then freeze meal size portions so that it is fresh when thawed and fed to the pet. Animals eating home-prepared diets should always receive a multivitamin-mineral supplement, as well as bone meal-be sure to consult your veterinarian for help with these additives.
Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2007 13:37:12 -0700
From: Don and Suzanne Stack <yumadons@GMAIL.COM>
Subject: MEDICAL: Tips from osteo survivor
<< Anyone out there have a long term cancer survivor, a year or more?
My greyhound, Aussie, now 9 years old, is > 4 years post amputation (Oct 23, 2003). His protocol:
Took x-rays just a few days after noticed him limping. Saw what looked like osteo at proximal humerus (left shoulder). Did not waste precious time with a biopsy – amputated the very next day. Started chemo exactly 1 week post-amputation – the day we got biopsy results back from the lab (we sent in the amputated limb for biopsy). Aussie had 6 carboplatin chemo treatments. No problems except a low WBC delayed the 6th chemo by 1 week. He’s taken 3.75 mg meloxicam (generic Metacam) ever since amputation because he’s got a bad arthritic hock in backleg on same side.
1 year post-amputation, I started him on 10 mg tamoxifen once daily. Tamoxifen is the anti-estrogen drug that breast cancer survivors take for the rest of their lives. Anecdotally, tamoxifen may be an anti-angiogenesis drug (a drug that stops new blood vessels from branching out from tumors). Tamoxifen can have some problems in girl dogs but is OK for boys. Not approved nor or you likely to be able to find out much of anything about it. I just started Aus on it because a friend’s boy osteo grey was started on it by Dr. Ogilvie (ex CSU oncology guru). I figured if it’s good enough for Dr. Ogilvie, it’s good enough for me.
Aus eats the same food as the rest of my dogs, “Enhance Hunter’s Edge” by ARKAT. We feed it because it’s relatively cheap (we have lots of big dogs) and does a greyt job keeping weight on my greyhounds with once daily feeding. Relatively high in protein, fat, and calories. Protein 24%, fat 18%, ~585 calories/cup. Aus doesn’t get any supplements or special treatment and is very fit (we live on 2 & 1/2 acres).
Suzanne Stack, DVM
Melanie Diana – Dedicated to Faith Diana- my soulmate and teacher…thank you! Faith Diana (6/18/96-3/25/07)
4/9/03 Ultrasound reveals probable Transitional Cell Carcinoma
4/12/03 Biopsy reveals transitional cell carcinoma, urethra “Prognosis extremely poor.”
Patient’s symptoms: increased water intake, slight incontinence/leaking.
4/22/03 Appointment with Dr. Margo Roman from M.A.S.H. Treatment: Thuja, Carcinosin, Hoxey with Boneset, Ultra EFA, Canine Cancer Support, Mash Vital Nutrients, Liposome Angioinhibitor, Cranberry Comfort.
1) Complete dietary change. Off Science Diet- put on brown rice, broccoli, ground chicken necks and backs, raw meat (beef) at least 2x per day.
2) Treated with acupuncture 3x week. Main focus was on the Bladder meridian. GV 20, Bl 10, 23, 40, 60. Scar treatment also done- needles surrounding Faith’s left hind leg scar – almost directly above where tumor was dx. This scar was present when Faith was first adopted.
3) Spiritual healing (Tong Ren): with Jon Sweeney- over the phone 1x week for the first two months of initial diagnosis. Jon Sweeney 781-582-8679.
4) Tong Ren healing. Animal model with acupuncture points purchased. Every morning and evening owner would do Tong Ren healing – very focused energy visualizing tumor leaving Faith’s body…hammering it out of the meridian.
5) Prayer- an email sent out to at least 50 people to pray for Faith’s healing.
6) Owner did not allow Faith within six feel of any electrical appliance. If distance was close- towel placed over Faith’s hind quarters.
7) Very focused “energy” – INTENTION- put into the universe that Faith “was healed, she was doing great etc.” Whenever anyone asked about Faith’s condition, owner very “matter of factly” stated that Faith was doing well.
8) “Qi” treatments given- 5/9/03 and 5/10/03. Four days after second treatment- owner took Faith for a walk. Initially, it looked like Faith was having a bowel movement.
However, the discharge coming out of Faith’s rectum appeared to be pure phlegm- comparable to a pint. The following 4-5 days Faith continued to have phlegm discharge with bouts of stool. Owner was convinced that patient had passed her tumor. From a Chinese perspective…phlegm is a major component of tumors- as well as qi/blood stagnation.
9) 7/10/03 followup ultrasound revealed “no abnormalities seen. No evidence of a bladder mass…no abdominal abnormalities seen.” (Report enclosed).
10) 1/17/05 followup ultrasound revealed “normal abdominal examination…no evidence of tumor seen…” (Report enclosed).
1) Faith continued on the above diet for approximately 1.5-2 years. Owner then introduced dry dog food (Candidae) into Faith’s diet as well as above diet (only due to owner’s busy schedule). Homeopathy continued- see enclosed form.
2) Faith continued to have acupuncture 1-2x week for the remainder of her beautiful life.
3) After negative ultrasound, Faith was treated by Jon approximately 3x first year; and then in November 2004. 1-2x per year the remainder of Faith’s life.
4) Tong Ren healing continued on Faith 3-4x/yr by owner; usually prn…or preventatively to “clear channels” …especially bladder meridian.
5) Faith continued to have “Qi” treatments done 2-3x per year until 2006 when sensei rarely came to the East Coast. Practitioner based out of Michigan.
-Greyhounds have a high rate of BONE cancer. Bones are governed by the kidneys. The emotion attached to the kidneys is FEAR. It is my personal opinion (owners) that from the moment these beautiful creatures are born (even in utero)…they are subjected to high stress. Stress to perform, stress in the way they are handled and boarded (the unknown), stress in traveling to different race tracks, stress with overimmunization thus lowering their immune system, stress with poor diet etc. The kidneys also govern the teeth; greyhounds are notorious for having horrible gum disease and rotten teeth. Stress=Fear. Bone cancer in greyhounds is not coincidental.
#Owner’s mother had transitional cell bladder cancer in 1990. Treated with chemotherapy (cysplatin) and bladder removal. Faith went to live with owner’s mother for one year in Pennsylvania 2002(owner had a devastating personal loss and moved in with brother who had two cats- Faith not cat safe). Owner would continue to visit Faith at least 1x per month. In December 02 owner went home to mother’s for Christmas. When owner returned to Rhode Island for New Years – owner had a very heavy feeling in her heart regarding Faith. Owner called a friend and shared with her that owner had to find a way to bring Faith back to RI with her- owner felt like something was not right and missed Faith on a soul level.
Owner visited Faith again in Pennsylvania in January and February 2003- still feeling like something wasn’t right. Owner shared this with her mother. However, Faith was eating and drinking normally. March 03 visit with Faith in Pennsylvania…owner noticed something unusual in Faith’s vagina … something appearing white in nature- something owner never noticed before. Owner brought this to mother’s attention who also stated that Faith was having increased water intake. Owner requested mother get Faith checked out. Dx of transitional cell bladder cancer then dx in April 03.
Owner immediately drove to mother’s home in Pennsylvania and returned with Faith. Owner moved in with friend in Quincy, MA. Within three days of being with owner- there were zero s/s emanating from Faith. Water intake normal. Zero leaking/incontinence.
Owner felt like dx of transitional cell bladder cancer was twofold:
1) A desperate need for owner and Faith to reunite. A true calling of the heart. How else could all s/s disappear? It was a true heart reconnection- can’t put it into words…but a KNOWING. Also, in Chinese Medicine there is a close connection with Bladder, Heart meridian. Bladder is paired with the Small Intestine. Small Intestine/Heart paired organs.
2) Faith loved owner’s mother. Owner believes Faith took on some cancer that was in owner’s mother’s system even though all medical followup scans were negative.
#Faith dx in November 2006 with left leg bone cancer. This cancer was in the same leg and location as owner’s left leg birthmark. Left leg amputation February 2007.
Faith had a left hind leg scar. Again- owner has left leg birthmark. Owner was very self-conscious regarding this birthmark- years of teasing as a kid. Faith taught owner to wear this birthmark with pride- as Faith was so unaware of her outward scar- and continued to live life with such joy.
#Faith had a heart attack March 2007. Faith did not move from her bed for twelve hours- heart racing, eyes staring straight forward. Owner felt like Faith was in the middle of a heart attack. Owner afraid to move her so kept vigil through the night. No change in Faith’s status for twelve hours. The next morning owner picked up Faith (still in the same nonmobile state with eyes staring forward, tachycardic), and carried her outside to put her in the car. Faith stood up on her own and then ran into the yard to urinate. Faith transitioned from a nonmobile state to mobile as if nothing had taken place the previous twelve hours. Faith urinated; owner carried her back inside at which time Faith ran over to her food bowl and ate everything looking for more. She was in a complete turn around from the night before. The next several hours were marked by playfulness, eating, drinking etc. It is owner’s belief that Faith’s spirit through the night was deciding whether to leave this earth plane or remain; the spirit decided to stay. However, over the next four hours owner noticed Faith’s legs filling up with fluid. Owner massaged the edema back up her legs. Short term relief. Over the next two hours Faith started panting more and edema was spreading everywhere. Owner realized Faith had CHF. Owner new it was time. Faith was beginning to be in distress with her breathing. Owner took her to Ocean State where a doctor came out to the car to give her a shot. (Owner called ahead – wanted this process to be as stress free as possible- Faith was in the back of owner’s car in her plush bed with her favorite blanket and toys). Vet came to the car- gave her a shot but Faith would not let go. Owner continued to stroke Faith, and give her permission to let go and run free. Owner reassured Faith that owner would be okay. Vet requested technician go back inside and get more anesthesia. Faith would not let go. Vet commented on how strong Faith’s heart was; owner smiled because physically Faith’s heart was very weak from a heart attack and CHF. However, owner new it was Faith’s spirit that was strong. Vet gave Faith another dose- and Faith passed (March 25, 2007). Please note date: Owner’s birthday is the 5th of August, brother’s birthday is the 2nd of February, grandmother’s birthday is the 2nd of December, mother’s birthday is the 20th of the January, father’s birthday is the 2nd of October, sister-in-law’s birthday is the 25th of November, one of my newphew’s birthday is the 25th of April. Interesting date to pass…
#Another interesting note: owner would always pray that Faith would pass quietly in her sleep from a heart condition- so there was no suffering nor any difficult decision for owner to make. It seems like Faith sensed half the equation…
Power of the spirit: female greyhounds take less anesthesia than males due to a smaller size. Faith was small for a female thus- supposedly- needing even less than a medium size female greyhound. However, Faith required more anesthesia than a full grown male. The power of the SPIRIT!
Owner believes Faith and owner were here to heal wounds from the past (greyhounds- abusive environment; owner grew up with much dysfunction from alcoholic father and stepfather,) and move forward with healing to empower others. Owner believes through Faith- owner became more empowered and aware of
energetic healing. Owner is not concerned with statistics or generalizations. Owner has a KNOWING. Each person, being, plant, animal etc are different. What is right for one being is not necessarily right for others. Each case is different. It is my hope that through Faith- each person begins to question status quo, believes healing comes
from within, and to trust one’s inherent gut instinct- not to give power away to others. It is also my hope that people realize how important diet is in nourishing the body, immune system etc. In Chinese Medicine- our food intake is transformed (along with air) into “qi” …energy…which circulates throughout our bodies. It is LIFE!
Faith- I cannot put into words the emptiness my heart feels since your passing. However, I am also reminded that the intensity of my loss/sadness only reflects the intensity of my love for you. Thank you for everything. I feel your presence everyday!
THINGS I LEARNED THE HARD WAY – ABOUT OSTEOSARCOMA IN DOGS –
& ABOUT ARTEMETHER
My Great Pyrenees, Samson, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his right shoulder on 3-1-2002. He had only started limping about 3 weeks prior to diagnosis & by the time we had the X-rays taken his shoulder bone was already 1/3 gone & there was a spot on his lung. The Vet told us he had about 60 days to live & gave us a bunch of Rimadyl pills for the pain. We left heartbroken & I cried for a week straight.
The 1st thing I learned was that Rimadyl is not the drug of choice for pain relief. The drug “Piroxicam” – a NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) – is a much better pain reliever, you give it once a day, & it has some anti-cancer properties to it. In of itself it has been known to extend the length, & the quality, of the lives of the dogs that take it. It’s a lot cheaper than Rimadyl & you can have your Vet write a prescription to have filled at your local pharmacy. Piroxicam MUST be taken on a FULL stomach – after the dog has had his big meal for the day. Misopropal (Cytotec) is given at the same time to protect the stomach from upset by the Piroxicam. (Misopropal must also be taken on a full stomach). Some dogs can take the Piroxicam on it’s own with no trouble. Other people dose their dog with Pepcid an hour or so before the meal & the Piroxicam is given. Samson needed the Misopropal to keep his stomach from getting upset – Pepcid didn’t do the trick for him. For more information on Piroxicam please go to this website: Feline & Canine Cancer. Or do a search using “Piroxicam Pets Cancer”. Another pain reliever, mentioned to me as being “excellent” by several Vets, is the patch Fentanyl. They are, however, very expensive, particularly if your dog is large.
About a month after his diagnosis someone sent me an article about a new drug called “Artemether” – made from the Wormwood plant – that is being tested for possible use as a breast cancer drug in women. The article mentioned a dog that was cured of his bone cancer in a short time by using this drug. This set me off on a long, & often very confusing journey, to learn what I could about this drug. I am writing all this down in the hope that it will give others a shortcut to treatment for their own dogs stricken with this awful disease – & to help others avoid making the same mistakes I did along the way.
I called Dr. Henry Lai at the University of Washington (206-543-1071). He told me I could buy the drug thru WellCare Pharmaceuticals in California (310-377-0056) Hepalin. He said Samson (140#’s) could take 80 mg 2X a day. He also said that Sam had to be off Vitamins A & E for 10 days prior to treatment, & he must receive no antioxidants during the treatment, as they will render the drug useless. If you feed kibble make sure to check the bag for any added Vitamin A, E, C & K. Check the ingredients of any food given for these vitamins as the treatment just won’t work if the dog is getting them.
Dr. Lai explained the difference between “Artemisin” and “Artemether”. Essentially these are the same thing, the difference being that Artemether stays in the body longer & has about a 4 times longer halflife. He said Artemisin is like a ¼ pounder and Artemether is like a Big Mac.
Then I learned of a Vet in Washington State (Dr. E) who was just starting to treat dogs with this drug. He bought his thru the Arenco Co in Geel Belgium. Telephone: 32 14 23 29 11. E-mail: email@example.com We took Samson up to see him & he had us put him on an iron supplement for 5 days. The iron goes to the cancerous tumor. Then he had us wait a day &
start with the Artemether. The 1st day we doubled the dose, then he had a usual dose for the next 4 days. He also had me take Samson off his painkillers – which I found out later was unnecessary & which I would never do again. Dr. Lai confirmed that Samson need not have been taken off his medication (Piroxicam & Tylenol 4 w/Codeine), however, I do not know if steroids would interfere with the drug.
Samson was miserable after 5 days of treatment but I believe that was due to being off the painkillers rather than from the treatment. I got him back on his pain meds & he seemed much better after 24 hours or so. The Vet wanted to wait a week in between treatments but I kept Samson on the Artemether for another 7 days.
I then learned of a Vet, Dr. Tejinder Sodhi in Lynnwood Washington (425-455-8900). He worked with Dr. Henry Lai, & with Dr. Narendra Singh of Wellcare, to try & come up with some protocol for using this medication in animals. They only had a $5,000 grant for this & the money ran out quickly. Dr. Sodhi told me that they typically see dogs survive 2 to 4 times longer by taking the drug. He said it would take at least 2 weeks to see improvement. And he said that, even if the cancer cells were being killed, the tumor would take quite
awhile to be reabsorbed by the body. A sign that the cancer cells were being thrown off could be seeing the dog acting achy, depressed & running a low-grade fever. Dr. Sodhi does phone consultations & also has Chinese herbs that he uses in the treatment of cancer.
All of these men have seen dogs actually “cured” of bone cancer by the Artemether. None will give numbers or odds as the treatment is so new. Two mentioned that the cancer does seem to come back so a periodic dosing with Artemether would be necessary to keep it at bay. One said you need to quit giving the Artemether for a week every now & then
to let the body get rid of the dead cells.
I found myself very confused at all the contradictory information that I was getting. Some said to dose with Ferrous Iron for 5 days before beginning treatment. Others said it didn’t matter what kind of iron you used. Others said the iron treatment was unnecessary. Some said to use the treatment one week on then one week off. Others said they could be on it indefinitely.
Another confusing thing that is in the article about Dr. Lai is the drug “Holotransferrin”. In test tubes it greatly increased the ability of the Artemether to kill the cancer cells. But finding this stuff is another story. I have been told that it is a mix of protein & iron & is used only in labs for testing cancer treatments.
One thing I’d like to insert in here is the importance of giving about ¼ cup of cottage cheese with 2 Tablespoons of GOOD quality Flax Seed Oil (from the refrigerated section of a health food store) at least once a day. I have read a lot about this combination being invaluable in the treatment of cancer.
Melatonin – again, very useful in the treatment of cancer. I’m giving Samson 3mg a night.
Yesterday we made the 700 mile round-trip to see Dr. E. up by Seattle again. He is an incredible Vet – probably around 70 years old & just as active & healthy as can be.
He has started Samson on injections of SOD ( Superoxide Dismutase) & Coenzyme Q-10 for his Hip Dysplacia. I never knew he had Dysplacia, never paid attention really, until he started having problems walking because of his cancerous shoulder. Then I noticed that he was carrying his rear legs in, under his stomach, & that he was shaky in the hindend. He & a friend started giving injections of SOD & Coenzyme Q-10 to dogs back in the 60’s hoping that it would be a treatment for cancer. They found that it didn’t help dogs with cancer, but that it helped Hip Dysplacia in about 95% of all cases & worked in a matter of minutes. He now has clients all over the U.S. using this remedy. (SOD must be either injected or taken sublingually as the digestive system will destroy it). It will take Sam a good 2-3 months to rebuild those muscles in his backend to where they should be. They are very, very weak now. He has slept non-stop since we left & Dr. E. called to check on him this morning & said it was because he had no pain.
An interesting side note to these SOD/Coenzyme Q-10 shots. Dr. E has found a reduction in fear in animals taking these shots. One instance he cited was taking a trailer of 6 horses & giving 3 of them the shot. Then driving down the road a bit , stopping, & finding the 3 given the shot calmly eating hay. very interested to see if they help Samson with his extreme fear of fireworks this next 4th of July.
Dr. E. believes that Samson is about 25% better when it comes to the cancer. He bases this on his observations of how Sam looks, reacts to things, & his facial expressions. He had told my husband last visit that Samson was “a dead
dog”. He looked & acted that way. He is seeing improvement. Most dogs die about 2 months after cancer gets found in their lungs. I won’t be X-raying Samson again for at least 6 months, if ever, to see if there is any progress.
Dr. E. believes the Artemether has arrested the cancer enough, & has killed the top layer, & that we can spend a few weeks trying to help the Hip Dysplacia. (SOD & Coenzyme Q-10 are antioxidants & can not be used with Artemether). During the next round we will be using injectable Artemether, along with Holotransferrin. Dr. E. himself had only heard of Artemether just last December so he is learning as we go.
He raises beautiful horses & has tried the Artemether on them also. In one case a pregnant mare had a cancerous tumor around her eye. Due to the pregnancy he couldn’t operate so he started injecting the tumor with Artemether. It shrunk to ¼ it’s original size, at which point he could remove it & send it in for testing. No cancer remained. He is using it to treat gray horses with Melanoma’s & finding it works successfully there too. I feel so blessed to have found this man.
Right now I am leaning toward recommending the Artemether from the company in Belgium. It is an actual pharmaceutical drug over there, used to treat Malaria in humans. I just have more faith in the quality of it. I have learned that Dr. Lai has put a patent on his findings here in the USA so who knows what’s going to happen with it now. Will some giant company pay him millions for it then jack up the price to extremes? It remains to be seen. I also feel that it is important to give the dog a break from Artemether on a regular basis. It destroys iron & the dog needs to replenish that iron for his own health, & for the next treatment to be effective. It just makes sense.
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2004 13:22:32 -0700
From: Relaena <relaena@YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Medical: Ultram is wonderful!
Our greyhound Duchess required surgery to remove a leg due to osteosarcoma. As per normal vet protocol, she was placed on morphine for pain control. At the time, the surgeon’s office advised that morphine “makes dogs pant, whimper and be restless, so don’t be concerned, it’s just the drug.”
36 hours later, Duchess’ morphine symptoms had gone far beyond that… culminating in what appeared to be a horrific hallucination, anxiety attack, or both. The nightmare she went through is one that I would wish on no animal, ever. The emergency vet confirmed that morphine was the cause. Since then, I discovered that Duchess’ distress was not entirely unusual, and in fact, was experienced in varying degrees in other breeds, as well as in humans.
So I’d like to second the nomination for Ultram (generic name = Tramadol). As the other poster said, it’s very inexpensive, and provides outstanding pain control. Ultram is a human-grade pain medication that has been the number one choice in (human) hospitals over the last 10 years, because it has none of the side effects that so many *people* experience on morphine (human side-effects range from insomnia and restlessness to extreme anxiety and hallucinations).
Unfortunately, few vets are aware of this drug yet. Everything written about it in animal application is considered “anecdotal” evidence, which simply means no clinical trials have been performed to put the drug through a second, animal-only FDA approval process. And the pharmaceutical company has no plans for pursuing the process, because the cost to benefit ratio is not significant — the drug is cheap, and they are already achieving their profit goals in human medicine.
My vet dug into the books herself, read every medical report and journal she could find on Ultram, call various vet schools around the nation, and three years ago, decided to offer Ultram as an alternative in extreme pain cases — dogs with far-gone neck pain whose owners had exhausted every other option and were considering euthanasia. She informed her clients that the drug was experimental in animals, but proven in humans, and if they chose to give it a try, she wanted them to keep a daily log. She began with very low doses, and gradually increased the amount according to the dog’s responses, with the owners closely monitoring their pet.
Nearly four years later, my vet’s report is pretty amazing: “Ultram worked in EVERY instance, with little to no side effects.”
The recent posts regarding cancer have prompted me to write. As some of you know, one of my dogs was diagnosed with multicentric malignant lymphoma last July. Her initial prognosis was 4 to 8 weeks without aggressive chemotherapy.
We opted for the aggressive protocol and Katie came through it like a champ. After 9 weeks of chemo she was hospitalized for a week for a monoclonal antibody treatment. That was last October and she has had no additional chemo and is still in remission. Her energy has returned with a vengeance and last weekend she was a wild child running an agility course at an out of state trial.
I would encourage anyone whose dog has cancer to investigate thoroughly and consider treatment if appropriate. Katie has even become an inspiration for a friend who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Dogs don’t have the mental baggage that goes with cancer in humans and the quality of life can be excellent.