Even though the type of cancer removed from Sheba, spindle cell sarcoma, is unlikely to metastasize, we still face the possibility that the tumor wasn’t completely removed. This type of cancer is messy (for lack of a better word), and it can’t be known if our vet was able to get it all. There is also the possibility that it could turn up on other parts of her body, or in her lungs. We are trying to stay optimistic, but I think it’s prudent to do what we can to fight that from happening.
I’ve read that there are certain diets that some people feed to dogs with cancer to help, and I wondered if that would be a good idea for her. Most of these diets are for dogs with active cancer, who also might be facing the weight loss that goes along with it. Sheba is now completely healed from the surgery…yay!, and she feels great. Her weight is right where it should be. So I don’t feel like drastic changes are needed for her, but there are still some things we can do. The only additional thing we could do for her, with traditional medicine, is to follow up her tumor removal with radiation. In light of how good she feels now, we have decided not to do that at this time.
I am interested in holistic medicine but I’m just not sure that I’m totally sold on every aspect of it. I toyed with the idea of taking her to a holistic vet, but decided against it for now. Instead I’ve done some research to see what we can do on our own. What I’ve read is that carbohydrates feed cancer cells so that a low carb diet is best, with quality fat and moderate protein. A raw diet would be optimal. I am very interested in raw diets, but again, I’m not completely sold on it yet. We feed a high quality grain free food, though many of the treats we get still have grains.
There are good and bad carbs though, so we are going to try to stick to the good carbs: fruit, veggies (broccoli, carrots, peas), honey, oatmeal, and brown rice. I am so happy that brown rice is on this list. Recently someone mentioned rice cakes as a treat for their dogs, and I remembered that years ago we used to give them to our dogs a lot, and Kobi especially loved them. I had picked some up again, and let me tell you, these guys went nuts for them! Seriously, I got plain brown rice cakes, with nothing else in them. Have you ever tried these? They are completely tasteless and dry. The dogs LOVE them! I will also try to buy or make more grain free treats as well though. I was actually motivated to dehydrate some sweet potatoes recently, and they all love those as well.
I also found two different supplements that can be beneficial in fighting cancer as well, in that they improve the immune system; Curcumin, which is found in the spice turmeric, and Omega 3 fatty acids – from fish oil in particular. Both of these have the added benefit of being beneficial for other conditions such as arthritis, which Sheba also has.
Curcumin also benefits digestion. The amount of curcumin in the spice turmeric may not be enough, or may not be absorbed efficiently, so I am purchasing curcumin from Mercola, where they have a product made specifically for dogs and cats. I also found that the joint supplement that Sheba takes also has curcumin in it, so we will adjust her dosage accordingly. I believe in all things in moderation, so we don’t want to overdo it.
I also want to note here that curcumin may not be beneficial to dogs undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, so please check with your vet before adding this to your dogs’ diet if they are undergoing cancer treatment. If you are interested in learning more about this supplement, I will include some articles at the end of this post where you can read more.
We have already been giving the dogs salmon oil. We used to give it daily, but then cut back and have been giving it once a week. The plan now is to increase that again. We have to be careful with fish oil since it is high in calories, but I like that it is also beneficial for their skin and coats.
Again, everything in moderation. I don’t want to make a lot of drastic changes to Sheba’s diet, since she is feeling well now. So we’ll add these two supplements, and leave everything else the same for now.
There are other things we can do to fight cancer as well; limiting vaccines and toxins in the environment, as well as consistent exercise and weight management. I am planning a whole post on vaccinations, so I won’t get into that subject here. Sheba is up to date on all of hers, so that is not a concern right now anyway. I already use as many all natural cleaning products as possible, and we don’t use any chemicals on our lawns or in our gardens. Reducing stress through exercise and play is also important. I’m happy to say we already do all of these things for all of our dogs; we try to exercise daily and we monitor their calorie intake and weight.
I know a lot of people have done “bucket lists” for their dogs, and I wonder what Sheba would put on hers. I’ve been thinking about whether or not to do this, and I’ll share my thoughts on that in another post.
Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian and the things we are trying here are our own choice to try, after doing my own research. You should consult your own vet when making any changes to your dogs’ diet.
For further information:
- Dr. Karen Becker on Curcumin for Pets
- Modern Dog Magazine: The Cancer Diet for Dogs
- Only Natural Pet: Holistic Cancer Prevention & Care
- PetCareRx: The Benefits of Omega 3 For Pets
I knew about the Turmeric but not about the Curcumin. I may have to pick up a jar for my dogs.
We feed raw so if you have any questions, please feel free. We are also on grain free treats and other than whatever Delilah finds on our walks/in the yard, we try to keep it that way. 🙂
I love your plan and can’t wait for your post about vaccines.
Thank you, Jodi. I am just waiting for Cricket’s annual visit (which is soon) and finding out what will happen re: her rabies vaccine that I don’t want her to have. Then I’ll be writing my post.
I will definitely be in touch with you if/when I need to know more about raw. I plan to look more closely at some of the treats we’ve been buying regularly too, to see where I can make some changes there.
This is a great post. I did not know that circumin only was available for purchase. I will have to check that out.
Thank you. I actually subscribe to Dr. Becker’s newsletters, otherwise I might not have found that out either. It was fortuitous that one showed up just when I needed it, and right before I was ready to buy turmeric at the grocery store!
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
Great approach to Sheba’s well being. I haven’t seen any spindle cells come back after we took them off so I’m hoping Sheba is just like that and you don’t have to go through that again. So glad she is doing so well post surgery, keep up the good work.
Thank you, and thank you so much for telling me that about the spindle cell! That gives me more hope. It’s just so nice to have her back to being herself.
Jackie Bouchard says
We did all that with Abby as well – the grain free and curcumin/tumeric and salmon oil. We also used to give her these other supplements… shoot. Wish I could remember the name of them. I lot of folks in the three-legged dog support group I used to be in swore by them, but I’m blanking on the name. If I remember, I’ll let you know. The hubs and I take tumeric every day. I haven’t given it to Rita though. Maybe I should.
Jackie Bouchard says
I noticed someone also already mentioned the Dog Cancer Survival Guide (misnamed IMHO – it’s more like the Human Survival Guide For When Your Dog Has Cancer – but still a good resource!) You could email me if you want to know more about it.
Thank you, Jackie, I will definitely look into that, and maybe email you as well.
I’m so glad to hear that, it really makes me feel like we’re on the right track. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll give the turmeric to the other dogs as well, and I did also wonder if the hubby and I should be taking it too! I know there’s a good blog/website – Tripawd – and I’ve been thinking of looking on there too for more ideas. They might mention that other supplement.
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
I think about your Sheba often, I have heard a lot about alternative medicine, some good some bad, but everyone has an opinion of their own on these types of subjects. I think your doing great, and I know your making the best decisions for your pack, and thats what counts!
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
Thank you so much, Jenna, your support is appreciated more than you know!
We can’t ever know if every decision we make is the right one, so all we can do, is to do our best, right?
This is so interesting. I go to an alternative doctor who has helped both me and my daughter with so many things that regular doctors either couldn’t or wanted to prescribe meds in a poke-and-hope way (which I’m NOT willing to poison myself with). He actually found lots of issues through extremely in-depth bloodwork that no regular doctors did (the bloodwork they ordered only covered the typical things), plus other head-to-toe easy tests. We’ve corrected most of the issues and we feel so much better now. The difference is remarkable. However, I still believe there are some things that require Western meds, and this doctor has no reservations about telling us to see a regular doctor if there’s something he can’t diagnose (which is rare). The funny thing is that I was on Curcumin for a year to help get my internal inflammation down; coupled with a complete diet change that eliminated carbs/gluten/refined sugars and brought in organic foods, it worked beautifully. We’d planned to take Daisy to a holistic vet, but the cost was far too prohibitive; we were shocked. So like you, we’re doing some research on our own, though I’d prefer to know more specifics about her allergies. We’re working to get her off grains now too. I’ll be interested to hear how things go with your pups as well. Great post, thanks so much for sharing this info.
Oh gosh, I’ve been through that poke and hope thing with migraine headaches. Every drug I was given for them just made me feel worse. I have to wonder if alternative medicine is something I should look into (the headaches aren’t as bad as they used to be but I still get them). Diet is a big factor with migraines too.
We spent $1000 getting Sheba’s surgery, so it was difficult to face paying even more for a holistic vet, when I don’t have every confidence it would work.
I hope you can get things figured out with Daisy too….allergies are tough to pin down sometimes. I will definitely keep you posted on how things go here.
The Island Cats says
The mom believes in alternative forms of medicine…but like you, to not go overboard with them. It sounds like you have a good plan for Sheba. And a low carb diet would be good for her whether she had cancer or not. Purrs that she continues to do well.
Thank you so much for the purrs! You are right that a low carb diet is good anyway so we really can’t go wrong with that. I’m glad you think we’re on the right track too.
2 Brown Dawgs says
It sounds like you have a good plan. I hope you have great success with it.
Thank you so much!
Ann Staub says
I think that even with humans, there are just so many things they say can cause cancer. It just seems to be all around us unfortunately. But, I think you are doing lots of good things for Sheba here! Not too long ago, I read an interesting book on holistic treatment of cancer for cats. They had a lot of interesting suggestions in there that I think a lot of people wouldn’t be sold on like Reiki and some sort of laser/light therapy. I always thought it might be interesting to try Reiki to see if it worked.
I have heard of the Reiki too and wonder about it. I guess if I had endless money, and time, it would be easier to justify trying some of these things!
Cancer is definitely something that really can’t be avoided, no matter how healthy we try to be it may invade our lives anyway. So I guess we just have to do our best to stay as healthy as possible, and hope for the best.
I think the things you’ve mentioned here are great ideas, especially cutting out those excess carbs and an overall healthy diet and exercise routine. I’m glad Sheba has healed from the surgery, I’m sending lots of positive thoughts.
Thank you so much, Elaine, I think everyone’s positive thoughts have helped so much. They’ve at least helped to get me through the tough times, and I just hope things will stay calm for a while!
Thanks for the insight on these aids. I’m hoping Sheba is full recovered and the cancer doesn’t come back – but agree, anything you can do nutritionally to help her…DO IT!
Thank you for your support, it helps me to feel like I’m doing the right things.
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Jan, there’s a book out there that I bought the Kindle version of a few years ago when Shadow’s littermate, Emma, was diagnosed with the osteosarcoma. I’ll look for the title and put it in a new comment. It was, in my opinion at least, an excellent source of info.
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Jan, that book is “the Dog Cancer survival guide” by Dr. Demian Dressler.
I, too, hope that Sheba continues to feel better. And I will continue to keep her in my prayers that the tumor is, indeed, gone for good.
Thank you for that information, Sue. I will look for that book. Thank you for your prayers and wishes, those are such a big help as well!
We hope Sheba continues to feel better and any changes you make will help her out at well.
Thank you so much, Emma!