Cancer is an ugly word. It strikes fear into everyone hearts whether it is a family member, friend, co-worker or pet. You can’t hide from it and you can’t wish it away. Did you know it is the leading cause of death in dogs that are 10 years old or more. Let me provide some information to help you recognize the disease and know what to do if this awful disease strikes.
What Is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease in which cells grow uncontrollably, invade surrounding tissue and can spread to other areas of the body. Along with people, animals can get various kinds of cancer. The disease can be localized, in other words confined to one area, like a tumor or generalized which is spread throughout the body.
Cancer cells develop because of damage to DNA. Most often an animal’s DNA becomes damaged by exposure to something in the environment, such as tobacco smoke, pesticides or other carcinogens. Damaged DNA alters the immune system of your pet and it fails to eliminate the damaged cells.
What Causes Cancer in Animals?
Cancer has no known single cause. However, we do know that hereditary and environmental factors can contribute to the development of cancer in animals. In addition, chemical and toxin exposure, radiation damage, poor nutrition and electromagnetic power lines have all been linked to cancer. The flame retardant chemicals on your furniture, drapes and carpet all affect your pet unfortunately; the retardant is on this household items by law. Please be aware that dogs exposed to herbicide treated lawns and gardens have twice the normal risk of developing canine lymphoma and an even higher risk for bladders cancers per Dr. Clifford Packer of Chagrin Falls, OH.
What Are the General Symptoms of Cancer?
Symptoms of cancer in dogs may include:
- Lumps (which are not always malignant, but should always be examined by a vet)
- Persistent sores
- Abnormal discharge from any part of the body
- Bad breath
- Rapid, often unexplained weight loss
- Sudden lameness
- Black, tarry stools (a symptom of ulcers, which can be caused by mast cell tumors)
- Decreased or loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating
- Swollen lymph nodes: These “glands” are located throughout the body but are most easily detected behind the jaw or behind the knee. When these lymph nodes are enlarged they can suggest a common form of cancer called lymphoma. A biopsy or cytology of these enlarged lymph nodes can aid in the diagnosis.
- Abdominal distension: When the “stomach” or belly becomes rapidly enlarged, this may suggest a mass or tumor in the abdomen or it may indicate some bleeding that is occurring in this area. A radiograph or an ultrasound of the abdomen can be very useful.
- Chronic vomiting or diarrhea: Unexplained vomiting or diarrhea should prompt further investigation. Often tumors of the gastrointestinal tract can cause chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea. Radiographs, ultrasound examinations and endoscopy are useful diagnostic tools when this occurs.
- Cough: A dry, non-productive cough in an older pet should prompt chest radiographs to be taken. This type of cough is the most common sign of lung cancer. Please remember there are many causes of cough in dogs and cats.
- Straining to urinate: Straining to urinate and blood in the urine usually indicate a common urinary tract infection; if the straining and bleeding are not rapidly controlled with antibiotics or are recurrent, cancer of the bladder may be the underlying cause. Cystoscopy or other techniques that allow a veterinarian to take a biopsy of the bladder are useful and sometimes necessary to establish a definitive diagnosis in these cases.
- Additional Signs
- Lethargy or Depression: If you notice your pet is not acting like itself – sleeping more, less playful, less willing to go on walks or to exercise – this can also be a sign of cancer. Once again, lethargy or depression is not a symptom confined to cancer, but an accumulation of any of these signs is reason enough to speak with your veterinarian.
- Change in Appetite: Dogs and cats do not stop eating without a cause. While a lack of appetite does not automatically indicate cancer, it is still something to be discussed with your veterinarian. Oral tumors can also cause difficulty or pain when eating or swallowing.
- Abnormal Discharges: Blood, pus, vomiting, diarrhea, or any other abnormal substance being discharged from any part of your pet’s body should be checked out by your veterinarian. In addition to that, if your dog or cat’s abdomen becomes bloated or distended it could be a sign of an accumulation of abnormal discharge within the body.
- How Is Cancer Diagnosed?
- Radiographs, ultrasound, blood evaluation and other diagnostic tests may also be helpful in determining if cancer is present or if it has spread.It seems that older dogs are much more likely to develop cancer than younger ones, and certain breeds are prone to specific kinds of cancers.
- Which Dogs are most Effected
- Boxers, Boston terriers and golden retrievers are among the breeds that most commonly develop mast cell tumors. Large and giant breeds, like Great Danes and Saint Bernards, are much more likely to suffer from bone cancer than smaller breeds. You can reduce your dog’s chance of getting certain types of cancer by having him or her altered at a young age. Breast cancer, the most common cancer for female dogs, can be avoided almost completely by having your dog spayed before her first heat cycle. Likewise, a properly neutered male dog has zero chance of developing testicular cancer. Additionally, it has been shown that adding antioxidants such as vitamins C and E to a dog’s diet will reduce the likelihood of cancer. Listed below are more tips for cancer prevention:
- How Can Cancer Be Prevented?
- If you see or feel a lump, the first step is typically a needle biopsy, which removes a very small tissue sample. Alternately, surgery may be performed to remove all or part of the lump for diagnosis by a pathologist.
- Abnormal Odors: Offensive odors from your dog or cat’s mouth, ears, or any other part of your pet’s body, should be checked out. Oftentimes cancers of the mouth, nose, or anal regions can cause such foul odors.
- Non-Healing Wounds: If your pet has wounds or sores that are not healing, it could be a sign of infection, skin disease, or even cancer.
- Difficulty Breathing: Coughing or abnormal breathing can be caused by heart disease, lung disease, and also cancer. Cancer can metastasize through the lungs and cause these symptoms
- Evidence of Pain: Limping or other evidence of pain while the pet is walking, running, or jumping is mostly associated with arthritic issues or joint or muscle diseases, but it can also be a sign of cancer (especially cancer of the bone).
- Oral odor: Oral tumors do occur in pets and can cause a pet to change its food preference (i.e. from hard to soft foods) or cause a pet to change the manner in which it chews its food. Many times a foul odor can be detected in pets with oral tumors. A thorough oral examination with radiographs or CT scan, necessitating sedation, is often necessary to determine the cause of the problem.
- Lameness: Unexplained lameness especially in large or giant breed dogs is a very common sign of bone cancer. Radiographs of the affected area are useful for detecting cancer of the bone.
- Unexplained bleeding: Bleeding from the mouth, nose, penis, vagina or gums that is not due to trauma should be examined. Although bleeding disorders do occur in pets, they usually are discovered while pets are young. If unexplained bleeding starts when a pet is old, a thorough search should be undertaken.
- Chronic weight loss: When a pet is losing weight and you have not put your pet on a diet, you should have your pet checked. This sign is not diagnostic for cancer, but can indicate that something is wrong. Many cancer patients have weight loss.
- An enlarging or changing lump: Any lump on a pet that is rapidly growing or changing in texture or shape should have a biopsy. Lumps belong in biopsy jars, not on pets.
- Provide a good diet to keep immune system strong
- Minimize vaccinations
- Avoid chemicals in the house and on the property. Don’t take your pet where chemicals are present.
- Provide supplements to your Pet in the form of curcumin (Tumeric) (see section on Protandim)
- Early Detection
- There is a new, simple, inexpensive blood test that bundled together can help vets detect cancer and other problems before they develop in your dog or cat. The test I created by VDI Laboratories and they look at two biochemical markers of inflammation and canter TK (Thymidine Kinase) and CRP (C-reactive protein, cats can be tested for haptoglobin rather than CRP). This test combined with a vitamin D test will give your vet a way to analyze your pet’s cancer risk.If there are high levels of TK in your pet’s blood there maybe cancer somewhere in their body or it will develop within the next 3-6 months unless steps are taken to lower the level. According to vet Shawn Messonnier animals with high levels of TK can be supplemented with herbal remedies of Healthy Chi and CA Support to support their immune system. Blood can be retested after a month on supplements to check TK levels again.CRP levels relate to inflammation. There is evidence that inflammation plays and essential role at each state of cancer and tumors. Tumors and inflammatory cells are able to directly or indirectly inhibit or stimulate tumor growth. Since chronic inflammation leads to many diseases it is important to know if inflammation is present to ensure diseases do not appear. The second part of the blood test, testing of the C-reactive protein (CRP) is performed to show harmful levels of inflammation.
- Currently, many vets do not perform these tests but please ask your vet to run these simple blood tests to help in cancer prevention.
- Vitamin D3 in proper levels can have cancer protective effects. Animals do not absorb Vitamin D3 from being out in the sun unlike humans do. Vets should supplement vitamin D3 until levels reach 100 mg/ml. Pets with a blood level of vitamin D3 lower than 100 tend to have cancer
How Is Cancer Treated?
Treatment options vary and depend on the type and stage of cancer. Common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy. A combination of therapies may be used. Holistic support in the form of massage, TTouch, Bach Flower Essences, Aromatherapy and Acupuncture will help your pet’s disposition and recovery from Western Medicine treatments. Success of treatment depends on the form and extent of the cancer and the aggressiveness of the therapy. As with any illness or disease, early detection is best.
Some dog owners opt for no treatment of the cancer at all, in which case palliative care, including pain relief, should be offered. Again, holistic remedies add to the quality of life for your pet and provide comfort. Regardless of how you proceed after a diagnosis of cancer in your pet, it is very important to consider his quality of life when making future decisions.
Some cancers can be cured, and almost all patients can receive at least some benefit from treatment. That being said, if your dog’s cancer is not curable, there are still many things you can do to make your pet feel better. Don’t hesitate to talk to your vet about your options. In addition, good nutrition and loving care from all the members of your family can greatly enhance your dog’s quality of life.
When Is It Time to See the Vet?
If your dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned in the above list, contact your veterinarian immediately. Should your dog receive a diagnosis of cancer, you may wish to consult a veterinary cancer expert. Many specialty veterinary practices and veterinary college teaching hospitals employ them.
Can you Help at Home? Most pet parents don’t think about the harmful chemicals in the household products they buy, but the fact is many of those products can pose a real health risk. Here are just a few examples:
- Bleach, detergents, wall/floor/toilet bowl cleaners
- Rust removers, metal polish, drain cleaners
- Ammonia, oven cleaners, furniture polish, floor wax
- Lawn, garden, automotive products
- Bedding, resting mats
What’s the answer? Commit to pet safety by eliminating as many of these potential dog and cat cancer sources as possible. It also means reading labels and buying only products that use non-toxic plant, fruit or vegetable oils. Advanced technology has enabled companies to develop products that work as well as more traditional products, but are safer for you, your pets and our planet. Additionally, do not put chemicals on your lawn or garden. Reduce environmental risks by choosing:
- Products with grain alcohol instead of toxic butyl cellosolve
- Plant-based cleaners and detergents using corn, palm kernel, or coconut oil instead of petroleum
- Fragrance-free products because the “fragrance” components (phthalates) have been linked to animal cancer in lab testing
- Plant-oil disinfectants based on eucalyptus, rosemary, or sage rather than triclosan
- White vinegar, which is excellent for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens
What is Protandim
Oxidative stress, generated through the process of living life (eating, sleeping, breathing, exercising), is inevitable for everyone. A company named LifeVantage has the solution: Protandim, the Nrf2 Synergizer®, the most important dietary supplement of our time.
Protandim is a daily dietary supplement that combats oxidative stress through Nrf2 activation. Protandim significantly reduces oxidative stress which is linked to over 200 diseases. Comprised of natural plant ingredients, Protandim is a patented, science-based formula that has been researched, tested and validated by renowned universities and institutions. Protandim activates Nrf2, which communicates with cells, instructing them to do what they’re already designed to do: up-regulate “survival genes,” genes that enable cells to survive in the face of stress from free radicals and other oxidants, and down-regulate other genes to help the body function at an optimal level. In fact, it is the only supplement clinically proven to reduce oxidative stress in humans by an average of 40 percent in 30 days.
Show below is a link to a video explaining how Protantim works.
- Marvin – How and Why Protandim works
Additionally, Protandim not only works on humans- it is now made for animals! Canine Health is the “animal equilivant” for our pets. Canine Health’s unique formulation uses Nrf2-activating ingredients, along with collagen and omega-3 fatty acids and is designed to help the following areas for your pet:
Reduce Oxidative Stress
Support brain, skin and eye functions
Support normal joint function, mobility and flexibility
Support cognitive function
Reducing oxidative stress in dogs may help the problems associated with normal aging in canines—decreased social interaction, loss of prior house-training, sleep disturbance and decreased mobility. The combined active ingredients in LifeVantage Canine Health may provide dogs with the opportunity to be more active and involved in everyday life and family activities. With the tastes of bacon, chicken and liver, all in a chewable tablet, giving your dog Canine Health will be simple. This all-in-one supplement eliminates the need to purchase separate collagen and omega-3 fatty acids supplements.
I also attached a link to a video for you to watch how Protandim helps animals.
Protandim and Dogs
Now with all this information about Protandim you would think I was a distributor, right? Wrong! I just highly believe in the product and I use it for myself and will use it in the future for my dog. The product was highly recommended to me by Dr. Nan Decker, a holistic vet who was giving a seminar on cancer in dogs. I had another product to ask her about and she recommended Protandim instead. My distributor is Kim Gamellia and you may contact her at 440-759-2310 –tell her Diane Weinmann sent you! (I have her permission to provide her number).
I hope you will see that although cancer is a scary subject, we are not powerless to prevent the disease. Taking steps to reduce the chemicals your pet comes in contact with, providing good nutrition and supplements, minimizing unnecessary vaccinations and providing the appropriate amount of exercise will all increase the odds that the terrible “C” word will not affect your pet.
By the way — Protandim is coming out with a horse and cat equivalent in the fall! More to follow….