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If you've come to this post because your dog recently received a cancer diagnosis (canine lymphoma), I want to start by saying that I'm so very sorry. This is a stressful time and I'm certain that you're diving deep into research so that you can make the best choices for your dog.
I also want to say that THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT!!!
Well-meaning influencers will publish posts about how to prevent cancer by feeding fresh food and antioxidants, avoiding toxins and chemicals, and removing stress. On the surface, this isn't wrong. But it's also upsetting for those of us who are doing all of these things, yet our dogs still developed cancer.
So, before I go into what I'm doing for Scout now, if you are reading this because you received a cancer diagnosis, please don't blame yourself.
- Approximately 25% of dogs will get cancer; that's one in four dogs.
- This increases to 50% when our dogs become seniors.
- And cancer isn't just about diet and environment; it's also tied to genetics and bad luck.
So if you see social media posts about how to keep your dog from getting cancer, please understand that those posts are only sharing how to reduce your dog's chances – that one word, “reduce,” makes a big difference.
Canine Lymphoma: Our Journey
I found a lump in Scout's neck area at the beginning of February 2021. Before the month was over, he was in chemotherapy (the CHOP) protocol and he immediately went into remission and stayed there for the entirety of the treatment (six months). He was the only dog treated by the clinic that remained in remission during this period of time.
- What are the First Signs of Lymphoma in Dogs?
- Treating Canine Lymphoma Traditionally and Naturally
- 5 Steps I’m Taking to Beat Canine Lymphoma
Many people expressed surprise when I announced that Scout would be going through chemotherapy and it's disappointing because I'm not someone who believes that traditional medicine is bad. After we received the cancer diagnosis, I went directly to Google and started reading articles by veterinarians around the country. And one thing they all agreed on is that the CHOP protocol of chemotherapy (four medicines) is the most effective and aggressive way to treat lymphoma.
Because of science. That's why!
I do appreciate the concern over putting “chemicals” in our dogs' systems, especially when their system is being overrun by cancer cells. However, I wonder how many pet parents look at the human side effects of chemo when making this decision. And I wonder how many pet parents know that dogs don't experience the same symptoms. Scout sailed through chemotherapy with barely any side effects.
The only issues that he had were the reaction to prednisone (which he was cycled off of shortly after starting because he responded to chemo so quickly), which included drinking so fast that he'd vomit and he was always hungry (like ALWAYS). He also had diarrhea, but this was a reaction to the anti-anxiety drugs (Gabapentin and Traznadone) that he received 90 minutes before each appointment.
Today, Scout is in maintenance mode and goes to the oncologist once a month to be checked for signs of cancer. And he's doing great.
Canine Lymphoma: Diet
Scout is on a raw food diet. I fed him raw through 99% of his chemo treatments. At first, I fed Answers Pet Food until he stopped eating it and I switched back to DIY. And I cooked a few times too. I also fast my dogs twice a week, which you can read about here: An Easy Fasting Day Routine for My Raw Fed Dogs
The oncologist's concern was that since the chemo is suppressing the immune system as it attacks the cancer cells, then the bacteria in a raw diet could pose an issue and possibly make Scout sick. Thankfully, the oncologist didn't suggest that I feed my dog kibble; she just wanted me to cook for him.
He did great on raw, there were no issues, and I have no regrets.
Canine Lymphoma: Supplements
I'm still adding the supplements that I've mentioned in prior posts. These supplements boost the immune system, protect healthy cells, while encouraging cell death in cancer cells. I did have to make one switch when the company that produced Artemisinin went out of business. I now use Artemisia Trinity.
- PaoVet (helps the body get rid of unwanted cells while boosting the immune system)
- Apricot Seed Capsules (destroys cancer cells and stops the growth of tumors)
- Artemisia Trinity (supports cellular health and the immune system)
- Xiao Chai Hu Tang (impedes the growth/spread of cancer cells and destroys cancer cells)
Now that Scout is no longer on chemo, I'm adding antioxidants to the diet – medicinal mushrooms and golden paste are at the top of that list.
And I add a capful of colloidal silver to my dogs' water to strengthen their immune system. Colloidal silver is a natural antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. There are studies on the impact of colloidal silver on breast cancer (humans), but nothing for dogs (that I've found). I've learned that it's important to buy from a reliable and trustworthy source (not Amazon). I order my colloidal silver from Long Living Pets Research Project.
Dosage of Supplements
Because my dogs are raw fed and I'm using so many tools to keep them healthy and happy, I've remained conservative on the dosing of the above supplements, following instructions listed on the website or as advised by the person who recommended each supplement to me. I also fast my dogs and they don't get supplements on fasting days.
- PaoVet – 2 daily
- Apricot Seed Capsules – 1 daily
- Artemisia Trinity – 1 daily
- Xiao Chai Hu Tang – 1/2 tsp in the evening meal
If you are interested in giving any of these supplements to your dogs, please contact the following to learn what your dog needs:
- Long Living Pets Research Project: PaoVet (or PaoV), Apricot Seed Capsules, Artemesia Trinity
- Path with Paw: Xiao Chai Hu Tang
For some supplements, you can find dosage information on the related website.
Canine Lymphoma: CBD and Essential Oils
And, finally, I give Scout CBD oil (three times daily) and I apply essential oils to keep his system healthy.
CBD Dog Health HEAL
I give Scout a half of a dropper full of CBD oil (CBD Dog Health HEAL) two to three times daily. I do this to keep the CBD oil working in his system; this is important because CBD oil promotes cell death (in cancer cells) while helping to make the chemotherapy treatment more effective.
- CBD for Cancer: Can It Help? Maybe, According to Research
- Cannabidiol (CBD) as a Promising Anti-Cancer Drug (study)
- How Cannabis Oil Works to Kill Cancer
AnimalEO Essential Oils
I've always used essential oils in our home, but primarily for cleaning, diffusing, and I used to make products for myself. I started using essential oils regularly with my dogs when Sydney was diagnosed with cancer in 2020. Seeing her experience relief after an application turned me into a dedicated customer of AnimalEO, an essential oil brand founded by Dr. Melissa Shelton.
AnimalEO has an entire inventory of essential oils that help dogs and it can be hard to choose, so I have most of them (yeah, I love this brand) but the oils I keep on hand for my dogs and use the most are the Aroma Boost Collection (monthly) and Boost in a Bottle (twice weekly) by AnimalEO.
To learn more about using essential oils with your pet, check out Dr. Shelton's book The Animal Desk Reference II: Essential Oils for Animals.
Aroma Boost Collection RTU (ready to use)
The Aroma Boost Collection is a collection of five essential oils, numbered one through five, that I apply to our dogs in a specific order, adding drops along the spine from tail to neck. I now apply these oils once a week for Rodrigo (senior dog with arthritis and anxiety) and Scout (cancer survivor). Apollo let's me know when he wants the treatment by leaning in; other times he leaves the room – I never force the oils on him. Zoey is sensitive to scents, so I apply Boost in a Bottle Lite (on essential oil blend) weekly to her back.
“An AromaBoost is one of the most well-rounded and complete essential oil treatments you can give or receive. It consists of a series of specifically selected oil blends, generally applied in a specific order (but don’t worry if you don’t get it perfect!), and massaged in. It really can be a very simple, but effective and powerful treatment for an animal.” ~ Source: AnimalEO
In reading the website, it isn't clear to me why AromaBoost works, but after using it on my dogs for over a year, I can tell you that it helps to keep them flea-free, it has a relaxing effect on all of the dogs, and I believe that it contributed in Scout's remission.
Boost in a Bottle (RTU and Lite)
If ordering the 5-bottle collection isn't feasible or you have a dog that won't sit still for application, then Boost in a Bottle is a great option. I use Boost in a Bottle and Boost in a Bottle Lite on my dogs weekly. Both of these are better tolerated (as in they'll allow application) by Zoey and Apollo. I apply the oil the same way as above, from the tail to the neck, and then massage the oil into their coat.
With Rodrigo and Scout, I use Boost in a Bottle as additional support if either of them isn't feeling 100%. Rodrigo is an EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency) dog and Scout is a cancer survivor. I use Boost in a Bottle if Rodrigo is having an EPI flare up and I used it regularly when Scout was going through chemotherapy.
Again, I don't know how it works, but it works.
Improve the Environment and Have Fun!
And, finally, I've worked hard to improve my dogs' environment. I'm more careful about the cleaning products I use, choosing natural products over harsh chemicals. You'd be amazed how effective white vinegar, water, and your favorite essential oils can be when cleaning the house. I use this mixture on the countertops, the floors, and other surfaces.
Keeping my dogs stress-free is important too.
My dogs have a great life and any stress they experience comes from the humans in the house. So, I've started practicing gratitude by counting my blessing every morning. I do breathing exercises whenever I feel frustrated or angry because I believe that no one makes me feel angry, I make myself feel angry and deep breathing helps me get out of that space. Exercising helps too and the dogs are always down for a walk. And I listen to subliminal recordings while I sleep.
I sound like a crazy person, right?
But it works.
Cancer is Not Your Fault!!!
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. I know that you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and scared as you face this diagnosis. So I hope that this post (and the others) give you the sense that YOU GOT THIS! Scout is doing great. In fact, he's sleeping next to me as I type. You would never have thought that he had cancer – not in February and not today.