A few days ago, I found out that Missy is no longer in remission from cancer. She fell into that category for pretty much exactly 3 years after her initial cancer diagnosis in late 2014. Back then, the thyroid tumor was removed, and her body was injected with intravenous chemotherapy (carboplatin).
If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you’ll know that it was Missy’s cancer diagnosis which prompted me to make several lifestyle changes in her and her brother’s lives, from introducing the raw food diet to eliminating excessive vaccinations and chemical pest preventatives.
Now that our oncologist Dr. Ruslander discovered that the thyroid tumor is back and has spread to her lungs, we started treating with an oral chemotherapy drug called Palladia. I also just began the process of adjusting her diet to her weakened immune system, and will be looking into holistic treatment approaches this coming week.
Oral Chemotherapy Drug Palladia
For now, Missy will be taking Palladia on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday basis. She just had her first 65 mg dose this past Friday and hasn’t shown any side effects yet. Possible side effects are said to be nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of appetite, and tarry stool.
She’ll be taking the drug right before breakfast and will need to have bloodwork done every 2 weeks for the first 8 weeks of treatment. After that, bloodwork is required every 2 months – that’s if we’ll continue the chemotherapy route.
Since the pills can’t be crushed or chewed on, I didn’t just add them to her food dish but pilled her by hand. She didn’t love it, but she calmly let me push the pills down her throat. She’s such a good little patient!!
Main Changes In Missy’s Raw Meat Diet
I checked out the website DogCancerDiet.com and read their 56 page report excerpted from their book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. The report is essentially an ebook that you can download for free in exchange for your email address.
In it, Dr. Demian Dressler goes over the ideal diet for K9 patients whose immune systems have been compromised due to cancer.
The main changes to Missy’s diet are that instead of offering the food raw, I’m now
a) lightly cooking the muscle meat and organs and
b) I’m adding certain types of starch-free cooked/puréed veggies to her meals.
The first batch of veggies I cooked for her consisted of a brussels sprouts/broccoli/shiitaki mushroom blend. She LOVED it! Of course Buzz got a taste as well since he started drooling as much as Missy while I was filling the food processor with the veggies.
Dr. Dressler's thoughts on a raw meat diet for dogs
Other veggies than can be offered to K9 cancer patients are cooked mung beans, cabbage, and red & yellow bell peppers.
Lightly cooking calf liver for Missy
Puréeing cooked broccoli, brussels sprouts, and shiitake mushrooms
Veggie purée, turkey/brown rice mix, and turmeric paste
I also went ahead and made a batch of turmeric paste since it has anti-inflammatory benefits and actively fights cancer cells. I’ll be including it in Missy’s meals on a daily basis again. You can find the recipe for it on my blog by checking out The 5 Key Benefits of Organic Turmeric Paste You Don’t Want Your Dog To Miss Out On … And How To DIY.
I then cooked up a cup of brown rice, as it came recommended by Dr. Dressler. While brown rice is a carb, it is considered a complex carb, which “can be a good source of energy for your dog’s body while she fights cancer” (Grains and Cancer, ebook p.8). He also mentions that rice bran contains polysaccharides which are likely cancer fighters, so I’m giving it a shot.
Cooking for Missy
Dr. Dressler also suggests adding other food supplements such as freshly minced garlic (I wrote about the benefits of garlic in my blog post Myth Buster: Garlic is good for dogs, after all!), cottage cheese, fresh berries, sardines in water, fresh minced leafy herbs, and a few others.
I do recommend you check out his ebook for in-depth information if you’re interested in the topic.
Second Opinion From Holistic Veterinarian
After talking with Lizzy Meyer from WholeHorseConsulting.com this weekend, I will be reaching out to a holistic veterinarian here in NC to get a second opinion as far as Missy’s cancer treatment is concerned.
Lizzy works in holistic animal care education and has a wealth of knowledge about whole food nutrition and energy work, both for horses as well as for dogs. Besides giving me Dr. Charles Loops’ name, she also provided lots of great tips as far as supplements are concerned. I’ll be sharing them here on the blog as I start to learn more about them and will be actively using them. Stay tuned!
2 days into feeding Missy the lightly cooked meat and boiled/pureed veggies, and she seems to be doing great on it.
I’m particularly pleased with this as she did have some instances of diarrhea over the course of the past few weeks. Since she ate exactly the same raw food as Buzz, I’m assuming that they were linked to her cancer and her weakened immune system not tolerating the raw food like it used to when she was cancer free.
I’ll keep you updated as to how she does on her new diet, whether or not we’ll continue with the oral chemotherapy treatment and/or take an entirely holistic approach. Paws crossed for a positive outcome either way!
Update April 2018: We only ended up treating her with the oral chemo for those first 2 weeks after getting a second opinion from homeopathic veterinarian Dr. Charles Loops. She’s also eating raw dog food again – Darwin’s “Cancer Support Formula” to be exact – no more cooking required.
Missy’s taking several homeopathic remedies now along with one traditional anti-seizure medication. You can read more about those topics in the 2 blog posts mentioned below:
Have you had to deal with cancer in your dogs? Which approach did you end up taking? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!