Sunday, February 4, 2018

Canine Cancer: A Progressive Approach to Prevention and Treatment.

- By Dr. Lynda Loudon

Note from the editor: For those who consider our pets to be a true member of the family,  we dedicate this special prevention article to keeping our furry loved ones safe and cancer-free.

(Updated Oct 1, 2018)
Cancer is a sad reality for many dog owners that often cuts short precious time with beloved pets.  Cancer is currently the leading cause of death in canines with every dog having a 50% chance of dying from cancer.  It is more important than ever for pet owners to understand how their pets may be at risk for cancer, how to help prevent it and how to find the best treatment in order to prolong the life of their dog.

As with all cancers, genetic, environmental factors, and toxins all play a role in the development of cancer.  Certain breeds are more prone to developing cancer.   However, I along with many other veterinarians believe that the commercial diets we are feeding and over-vaccination also play major roles in the massive amount of cancer we are seeing in our patients.

The problem with the majority of today’s commercial canine diets is that they have strayed far way from the natural diet that our dog’s ancestors thrived on.  Dr. Greg Ogilvie, who was head of internal medicine and oncology at Colorado State University, researched the correlation between diet and canine cancer.  One of the major findings was that the by-products of grain metabolism –glucose and lactate-feed cancer cells.  He strongly recommended avoiding grains and carbohydrates especially in canine cancer patients.  Many of these diets not only have excessive carbohydrates but many of these carbohydrates are GMOs that are exposed to high levels of pesticides.

Commercial dog diets are also processed and exposed to high heat altering the food’s nutritional value. There are often antibiotic residues, mycotoxins and storage mites in the food.  Chemical preservatives such as ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT are also often used.  

There is compelling evidence in veterinary medicine implicating vaccines as a trigger for immune mediated diseases and various types of cancer in dogs.  There is also vaccine-associated sarcoma (VAS) or feline injection-site sarcoma (FISS) that is a type of malignant tumor found in cats (and less commonly in dogs and ferrets), which has been linked to certain vaccines.  It is important to tailor a vaccination protocol to the specific patient.  I recommend a protocol that includes three rounds of puppy core vaccines starting at 9-10 weeks of age then a vaccine booster at one year.  After that the dog can have a serum antibody titer performed to test for immunity to the core diseases. When considering non-core vaccinations for your dog it is important to consider the risk of vaccine vs risk of disease. For example, kennel cough is usually a self-limiting condition and is therefore not a disease worth vaccinating against, in my opinion.  Lyme disease may be prevalent in your area however there are precautions that can be taken to avoid tick bites in the first place.  Dr Jean Dodds is very well-known for her minimum vaccine protocols and is a great resource of vaccination information.  She has authored several articles such as "Changing Vaccine Protocols". 

There are many conventional methods such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation that are sometimes necessary and may be effective in treating cancer.   I personally perform surgery on a regular basis removing abdominal tumors in order to save a cancer patient’s life.  However, the treatment cannot end here.  Every patient must be treated as an individual and the tools available must be utilized and tested in order to find the best therapy for each patient.  The more tools that can be provided for a cancer patient the better chance of prolonged survival.  The difference between conventional medicine’s approach to cancer treatment and functional medicine’s approach is that conventional targets the cancer; integrative or functional medicine focuses on the body as whole.  The cancer is part of the whole body and not considered separate.

The purpose of integrative treatment is strengthen the immune system, alleviate pain, reduce stress, heal wounds and to diminish the toxic load created by traditional chemotherapy.

There are many options to helping the body fight cancer.  It is important to seek out the expertise of an experienced holistic veterinarian to formulate a plan that will work best for your pet.

1) I.V. antioxidant therapy containing carotenoids, vitamin C and E and selenium.  The purpose is to improve immune function, decrease toxicity to non-cancer cells, reverse metabolic changes and increase tumor response to chemotherapy and radiation.   IV administration of these supplements is much more effective because it bypasses the liver and gastrointestinal tract and is delivered directly to the bloodstream.

2) Ozone therapy: 
is a very potent form of oxygen.  Healthy cells thrive on oxygen and the microbes that cause cancer are typically anaerobic, meaning they thrive in the absence of oxygen.  It is most often administered as an IV solution mixed with saline or as a  topical gel that is applied directly to tumors or skin lesions.  It can also be injected directly to cancerous tumors.

3) Hyperbaric chamber therapy: In a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, the air pressure is up to three times greater than normal. This causes the lungs to collect up to three times more pure oxygen than is possible when breathing atmospheric oxygen. The pure oxygen is transported throughout the body via the blood stream, which encourages the release of growth factors and stem cells that promote healing.

4) Pol-MVA therapy- this combines the vitamin lipoic acid with the trace element palladium. It supports oxygenation of cells and tissues and improves cellular function.

5)  Neoplasena-  this is a formulation created by Dr. Terrence Fox at Buck Mountain Botanicals.  It recognizes and kills cancer cells.  It is made up of alkaloids found in the bloodroot plant, Sanquinaria    Canadensis.  It comes in a topical ointment and injection.

1. Turmeric and its active ingredient Curcumin. Stat 3, a protein that helps tumors metastasize and defend against chemotherapy, is inhibited by curcumin.

2. Antemissin:  This Chinese herb has been used to treat malaria and has now been shown to destroy many types of cancer cells as well.  Unlike conventional cancer drugs like chemo, Artemisinin seems to target cancer cells and leave normal cells unharmed.research is needed to find the most effective dosing.

3. Max’s formula created by Dr. Huisheng Xie, founder of the Chai institute in Reddick, Fl.

4.Fish oil. Dose: 1400mg per 25lbs daily. 

5.Natural antioxidants: such as are berries, pomegranate, green tea, cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

6.Vitamin A, C and selenium

7.Immustim Complex by professional formulas- provides an excellent balance of antioxidants.

8.Hemp seed oil provides a healthy balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fats. Dose: 1 tspn/lb of food fed.

9. Apocaps was created by Dr Demian Dressler, author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. It contains the apoptogens luteolin, apigenin, curcumin and silymarin, as well as gingerols, beta glucans, and l-glutamine.  Apoptogens support the body’s natural process of aptoptosis – the clearing out of old and damaged cells from the body.

In cancer patients, the body is constantly looking for more protein because the immune system is weak.  They body ends up drawing protein from muscle. This creates a wasting condition and is why so many cancer patients are emaciated.
The ideal diet for a canine cancer patient is high in protein, high in fats and low in carbohydrates. A raw grain free diet high in antioxidants and essential amino acids is ideal.

What to look for in a commercial raw diet:
1.     Protein quality
2.     Organ meats should be part of the blend
3.     Good balance of bone and meat
4.     No more than 15% fats
5.     Low carbs
6.     Contains vegetables
7.     Contains supplements such kelp, spirulina, apple cider vinegar and EFA oils
8.     Price- if its cheap its probably not the best quality

An exception to feeding a commercial raw diet is the dog that will not eat it.  It is very important that cancer patients receive adequate nutrition.  You can try a balanced home –cooked diet in these pets.  A good resource for balanced home-cooked diets is

 Cancer is far too common in our beloved canine friends. It is important to know that a healthy, appropriate diet may prevent cancer in our dogs.  Over-vaccination has been implicated in the rise of canine cancer and therefore vaccination protocols should be tailored to each individual patient.   And lastly, there are many treatment options out there beyond the conventional surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  Do your research, find an experienced holistic veterinarian and be the voice for your dog’s best interest.


Dr. Lynda Loudon is an accomplished emergency veterinarian with 15 years of experience in her field. She is currently Medical Director of Animal Emergency Services in Selden and Commack, Long Island. Dr. Loudon’s professional interests include emergency medicine and critical care, nutrition, pain management and holistic medicine. As an emergency veterinarian, Dr. Loudon was too often confronted with a situation where an animal in need of care could not receive treatment due to lack of finances. She could no longer allow this to be a factor in her patient’s care and therefore founded Healing Haven Animal Foundation. (

Aside from her current position as Medical Director, Dr. Loudon has always had a passion for helping injured or sick stray animals. She has personally rescued and treated more than 200 injured stray dogs and cats in the past 20 years. She has also fostered and rehabilitated many of these animals until they were ready to be adopted. Dr. Loudon has dedicated a large amount of time volunteering for local shelters and rescue groups. In addition to her work helping stray animals, Dr. Loudon has been the primary veterinarian to large profile abuse cases such as Maximus, the pit bull who was set on fire by his owner in 2007 and Joey, the pit bull who had been thrown from a moving car in 2012. Dr. Loudon’s purpose and mission is to create a place where animals will get the veterinary care they deserve despite finances, where animals will have a safe haven to live, and a place where the love from animals will help people heal and grow. This is where Healing Haven Animal Foundation is heading.

Integrative Medicine of NY

Bard Cancer Diagnostics (link)

Modern Pain Relief (link)