Dr. Elliott: Alternative Therapies for Canine Cancer

Treatment options for dog cancer beyond just surgery and chemotherapy.

First, please discuss everything with your vet. Caring for a dog with cancer must be teamwork. If you’re working with a holistic veterinarian, then perhaps a lot of this information is already known to him/her; that saves a step. If you’re working with your regular vet, you may have to educate him/her to some new ideas. Most vets are totally open to learning about new ways of treating an old enemy so don’t hesitate to open discussions.

Any surgical procedures that are available should be used to remove primary tumors since it is the primary tumor that can send out seeds for metastasis. Other cancers like leukemia, lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma are usually cancers of the blood, lymph system or blood vessels, which make it more difficult to locate and remove a primary growth. In these cases, it’s probably not going to be operable but that does not translate to hopeless.

Current research points to a simple fact that cancer has many names but only one cause--a breakdown of the naturally occurring process of APOPTOSIS.

Apoptosis is genetic program in all of us and our pets that signals cells when it’s their time to go. Apoptosis is regulated by the P53 tumor suppressor gene (the gene has been directly linked to osteosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma in studies done with Rottweilers). A mutation occurs in this process that allows mutant cells to grow out of control and that is cancer. The different names of cancers are usually given to the type of tissue, area of the body, or system that harbors the mutant cells. For example, mast cell cancer forms from mast cells which are naturally occurring cells in the body, spindle cell carcinoma derives from naturally occurring spindle cells etc. I’m making this as simple as possible but it is far more complex in reality.

People and animals are born with a genetic predisposition or flaw in their DNA that allows a “trigger” to set in motion the failure of apoptosis. The trigger can be a failure to provide the right nutrients, or an inability to absorb one or more nutrients. Triggers are environmental—exposure to a toxin through inhalation, absorption or direct contact. Triggers can be a combination of all of these and more. Scientists are just beginning to understand these mechanisms.

In addition to the many chemotherapeutic drugs available, there are alternative therapies that do not cause serious or fatal side effects. Most of these are too new to say with certainty that they work for all animals with all forms of cancer but they are well worth using either alone or as an adjunct to chemotherapy. Again, discuss this with your vet.

Because the Internet is such an evolving world that changes from day to day, your best sources for these products is to use Google and do a search or call me at 805-991-7449. Here are a few of the more promising alternatives:

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Beta Glucan Supreme

For decades, the word was out that something in cruciferous vegetables protects animals from cancer; in 1992, scientists from Johns Hopkins University identified the active constituent as a chemical called sulforaphane. Broccoli contains more sulforaphane than the other vegetables. The best source of it comes from sprouts that have grown to the second leaf stage; these seedlings contain between 10 to 100 times as much sulforaphane as a full-grown broccoli.

To date the sulforaphane research focusing on cancer has discovered that this protection results from stimulation of the body's own antioxidant and detoxification system, which is comprised of what scientists call Phase 2 Enzymes. The enzymes eliminate carcinogens from the body before they can cause DNA damage. This action protects healthy cells from cancer triggering chemicals.

More exciting from a cutting edge point of view is a paper in the March 2000 issue of Cancer Research which reported for the first time that sulforaphane can cause cancer cells to self-destruct, that it triggers programmed cell death or apoptosis. Research that is more recent reports on the genetic mechanisms by which these broccoli chemicals work. For example, a recent study on breast cancer showed sulforaphane binding to mammary tissue after just a single dose of broccoli sprouts. Earlier studies from 1997 and 2000 demonstrated that sulforaphane prevented carcinogens from triggering cancer in breast tissue. Other benefits of this supplement include increasing the liver’s capacity to detoxify potential carcinogens. Sulforaphane glucosinolate is the precursor of sulforaphane and Beta Glucan Supreme contains sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS). Great Life Pet Products formulates their dog foods with Broccoli, Kale, Barley and Fenugreek sprouts for added protection against cancer.


Neoplasene is an exciting and very effective treatment available from Buck Mountain Botanicals. There are many people who use this topically for external growths and have seen some miracles, and as an oral treatment it works this way: A small amount is ingested with food twice a day. It circulates within the bloodstream and attacks and kills the mutant cells wherever it finds them. It takes over and induces apoptosis. Where the genetic program has broken down, Neoplasene takes its place. There is some controversy over its use because it is very powerful but it is also very effective. You need to contact Dr. Terence Fox at Buck Mountain Botanicals to discuss its use and dosage since it is his treatment protocol. His phone number is 1-406-232-1185.

The key to giving Neoplasene is to prep the stomach because it will induce vomiting—it is an emetic. The vomiting is not terrible but it’s not going to help treat the cancer so prepping the stomach is vital. You must also make certain a large amount of food and water is present to make the Neoplasene absorbable.


Avemar is derived from fermented wheat germ; it comes in powder form—in packets. For dogs, you can add it to yogurt or put it into capsules. Make sure you provide lots of water to dilute the Avemar. Results of studies show it greatly improves survival and quality of life. There are no gastric side effects with the exception of a possible soft stool periodically; but with Avemar, there is no fear of intestinal necrosis. Avemar is an immune modulator which is important for overall health. We know that cancer is also an immune system failure.


The next effective treatment is Artemisinin (Arte) which is an extract from the wormwood plant. Arte is used successfully to treat malaria throughout the world.

Cancer cells have the highest concentration of iron in their cells because they need that iron to stimulate growth, get a good blood supply going and eventually kill the host! Arte attacks cells with the highest concentration of iron much like the malaria parasite which also contains a lot of iron.

An article appearing in Life Sciences in 2001 by Drs. Singh and Lai at the University of Washington detailed the rapid and complete destruction of a radiation-resistant breast cancer cell line in vitro. The destruction occurred within 8 hours and had little effect on normal cells.

Artemisinin has two semi-synthetic derivatives: Artesunate and Artemether. A paper published in Oncology in 2001 described the cytotoxic effects of Artesunate against a wide variety of cancers including melanomas, breast, ovarian, leukemia and colon cancers. The growth of all of these cancers was inhibited by 50%.

A source for this combination of Arte and its derivatives is Wellcare Pharmaceutical Co.

The source for the high quality Arte used at Washington State University is Holley Pharmaceuticals.

Arte must be given on an empty stomach. Allow at least 3 hours to elapse after feeding and then give the Arte; wait one hour before feeding again. Holley Phamaceutical will advise you on dosage. Using fat helps with absorption, therefore, give the capsules with some wild caught salmon oil gelcaps in organic butter or frozen yogurt.

IP6 with Inositol

As mentioned above in the discussion on Arte, tumor cells utilize iron as a growth factor. Researchers are constantly searching for a drug that would be able to attach to iron molecules and remove them from the body, producing an effective anti-cancer drug, without harming the patient. The chemotherapy drug, Adriamycin (doxorubicin), is an iron binder, but comes with severe side effects, including heart damage.

There is a naturally occurring compound that chelates (attaches to) iron without side effects. Inositol hexaphosphate (IP6), is found naturally in seeds and bran; it selectively removes iron from abnormal cells without side effects.


Dr. Charles Loops, a renowned veterinary homeopathic uses cell salts and nosodes in his cancer protocol. The aim with homeopathy is to do no harm whatever decisions you make. http://www.charlesloopsdvm.com/

Supplements that have shown benefits include:
AnamuDragons Blood
Yew Tips
Shrimp Flower
Agaricus Blazei
Cats Claw
Reishi mushroom
Turkey Tail mushroom
Milk Thistle
A plant based digestive enzyme

Good Nutrition is needed: Great Life Performance Pet Products makes KrunCheros dog food and a line of grain and potato free treats with immune boosters such as: acai berries, goji berries, mangosteen, sprouted chia in their very tasty biscuits.

The goal in fighting cancer is to make your beloved friend as comfortable as possible and prolong life; so remember, as long as there is life, there is hope. Stress is very damaging to all cancer patients so you are encouraged to keep a very positive attitude in the presence of your pet. They are so in tune with our body language, our moods and our thoughts, that your stress is their stress! Why waste your time on feeling negative as long as your pet is there with you, you are winning the war.

For additional information:
Dr. Elliott at 1-805-991-7449
email: 4greatlife@sbcglobal.net

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