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What Causes Cancer in Dogs & Cats and Can We Help Them Avoid It?

By jody Teiche Tumors. Too many pet parents live with them. If we’re lucky, they’re lipomas, fat accumulations just under the skin or between muscle tissue that aren’t malignant and generally don’t become malignant. Then, there’s the dreaded “C” word, whether it’s a sarcolipoma, a malignant form of lipoma, or something worse. The big question is what causes cancer in dogs and cats, and can we help them avoid it? An estimated 6 million dogs and an additional 6 million cats are diagnosed with cancer each year, according to the Animal Cancer Foundation. A study conducted by the Veterinary Centers of America (VCA), called, “Pet Owner Perception of Cancer in Pets”, revealed 90% of pet owners surveyed identified cancer as one of the top 3 threats to their pets’ health, behind arthritis/joint issues and heart issues. It’s scary and becoming more and more prevalent. Cancer seems to be this looming threat we don’t understand, but it’s there in the background, especially as our pets age. Can we prevent it from developing? I believe we have the tools to make our pets’ bodies inhospitable to cancer and that’s what I want to talk about with you. Let’s start with what causes cancer, something most conventional vets can’t really answer. In all cases where your dog or cat is exhibiting any of the signs below that could be cancer, definitely get it checked at the vet. Diagnostics at your trusted vet is critical. What Causes Cancer in Dogs & Cats? Cancer rarely develops overnight, although once it’s discovered, it can be so far along that it progresses very rapidly. Developing cancer is a process of years of the body trying to deal with a number of factors, which may include:

  • Poor diet causing chronic inflammation

  • Toxic overload

  • Suppressive pharmaceuticals

  • Over vaccination

Let’s break each of these down because getting these right means creating a strong immune system, designed to keep your pet healthy and the likelihood of cancer, much more remote. Nutrition A poor diet is like having a weak foundation for your house. Eventually, the elements, the weight and strain on the building will cause a collapse. Diets high in carbs or lacking living enzymes, with which your pet can better assimilate the nutrients in the food, can create unwanted chronic inflammation, an imbalanced gut microbiome and lead to a number of types of conditions and, ultimately, dis-ease. Why is it so important for your pet to eat a fresh food diet? It’s the same concept as why it’s so important for us. If you were to eat McDonald’s for every meal, you’d get pretty sick, pretty fast. That’s exactly what happened to Morgan Spurlock during the making of his documentary, Supersize Me. Within six months, Spurlock was so ill, his doctors weren’t sure if his body would recover. Feeding dry food to your dog or cat is like feeding them McDonald’s for every meal. There is zero nutritional value in the food. Dry food actually keeps your pet in a constant state of dehydration and the flavor enhancers used, like putrecene, are enough to make one us sick but is as addictive as crack for them. Take a look at the kinds of things that can end up in commercial pet food, mostly but not only, dry:

  • Slaughterhouse waste (organs, heads, hooves, beaks, feet)

  • Dying, diseased and disabled farm animals

  • Euthanized pets

  • Road-kill

  • Spoiled supermarket food

The list goes on. You want much more control over what goes into your pet’s body. You can accomplish this by feeding from a small batch manufacturer, who uses human grade ingredients (it must be listed on the label as human grade because then, it’s held to a higher standard in FDA approvals). Better yet, you can feed living food, a wide variety of raw or very gently seared meats, organs, and organic fruits and vegetables. Living food retains the live enzymes essential for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients in your pet’s body. This gives him or her the best chance of a stronger immune system and good health. And, with the toxic environment we all live in today, I am recommending to my clients and students to replace some meat meals with organic vegetable meals and organic fruit meals, not mixed together, as the digestion of fruits and veggies happen at different rates and you don’t want fruits fermenting in the gut as they try to break down faster than vegetable, and releasing toxins.Toxic Overload If diet alone were enough, it would be amazing. However, living in the world today means a heavy toxic load on our pets’ bodies. Where does it come from? The environment, meaning pesticides and herbicides on the grass your pet walks on, or in the food or water your pet eats or drinks, or the cleaning chemicals you’re using in your home, or the air they breathe. It’s everywhere! Our pets’ bodies are amazing. They produce their own antioxidants to help rid the body of toxins. However, when the toxic load is too great, their natural antioxidants can’t clear toxins fast enough and an overload develops. Even most of our known antioxidant foods and supplements aren’t enough to rebalance our pets’ bodies and give them the chance to do what they were designed to do…heal. So, what can we do to offset this? Here are some tips.

  • Keep off of grass with signs its been sprayed, and soak your dog’s paws after walks to make sure any toxins from neighbor’s lawns are removed.

  • Make sure all cleaning supplies are natural with no toxic chemicals to you or your pet

  • Buy organic when feeding your pets, re fruits, veggies and try to source meats that are free range and herbicide/pesticide free grazing.

  • Use filtered water for your pets to drink

  • Wash their bowls daily so germs don’t accumulate; they bring toxins into your pet’s body

  • Look into Carbon 60 or C60 for short, the most powerful antioxidant we have discovered. C60 rids the body of free radicals (also called oxidative stress) 172-270 times better than Vitamin C or E. For more info on Carbon 60, go here.

Suppressive Pharmaceuticals When your pet gets sick, the symptoms he or she is exhibiting are your friends. Why? Think of them like the flashing red lights on the dashboard, telling you something is wrong with your car. Their body is telling you there’s an imbalance that needs fixing. If you choose to give your dog or cat a pharmaceutical that suppresses those symptoms, meaning they disappear rather quickly and don’t return, the imbalance hasn’t been cured, only the symptoms have disappeared. Your pet’s body will still need to express that imbalance. If it’s blocked from doing so one way, by the drug, it looks for another outlet, usually deeper into the body, and expresses it with other symptoms, often of a more serious nature. The body’s number one goal is to survive and do what it must for survival. That’s why, at first, it chooses a way to express the imbalance through a fairly superficial means that doesn’t threaten survival. Over time, using suppressive drugs to make symptoms go away causes the body to continue going deeper and deeper to express the continuing imbalance until, one day, it’s gone into the what it can no longer avoid, the key organ systems, and you have kidney dis-ease, heart dis-ease, brain dis-ease…cancer. Learning natural methods and practices to help your pets’ body heal itself is the best way to insure true cure and a stronger immune system. Over Vaccination This is a sensitive and a bit of a tricky topic. As a generalization, conventional vets often pressure pet parents to vaccinate every year or every 3 years when it comes to rabies, dependent upon the term of the rabies vaccine they last received. The problems with this are many and varied. First, a puppy’s rabies vaccination can sometimes last a lifetime but can definitely last longer than one to three years. So, from the early stages of a puppy’s life, they are being injected with rabies to stimulate antibodies that are already in place, and the vaccine ingredients are acting as an onslaught on that pup’s body. Between the heavy metals like aluminum and the actual rabies disease being injected, there can be a number of symptoms, some that are quite serious. The range of symptoms from over-vaccinating for rabies includes:

  • Dogs who furiously bite at a running hose or sprinklers.

  • Dogs agitated by streams or waves

  • Dogs who can’t resist chasing cars, bikes, joggers

  • Cats who madly chase a laser beam

  • Wild thunderstorm phobias (especially flashes of lightening)

  • Dogs who are overly aggressive, suspicious of strangers, quickly aroused to fighting and biting

  • Hydrophobia – aggravated by water, bright shiny things, motion

  • Eating indigestible things

  • Destroying toys, blankets or bedding

  • Convulsions, seizures, incoordination, twitches, tics, jerking

  • Restlessness and a tendency to roam

  • Hysterical behavior on confinement or restraint

  • Biting oneself, to the point where some allergic dogs have actually chewed off toes or a foot!

Pretty disturbing, right? Through over-vaccination, a state of chronic rabies is created which, in homeopathy, is called vaccinosis, a term coined by Dr. J. Compton Burnett in 1884. These types of symptoms would usually begin after rabies shots, but not necessarily right away. It could be a month or two after a round of rabies shots and then you see behavior changes. Studies show that the fallout of close to 70 years of vaccinating against rabies has created a rise in chronic dis-ease, inherited illness and behavioral illness. If your dog or outdoor cat lives in an area where rabid wildlife could potentially bite them, it is the recommendation of holistic vet, Dr. Will Falconer, the expert on rabies, to get 2 rabies shots after 4 months of age. Give the first dose at 16 weeks or later, if the animal is unwell, and the 2nd dose at the animal’s one year birthday. The distance between the two allows the body more time to cope with the vaccine’s fallout and heal between doses and the second dose boosts what the first dose started. Because today, all rabies vaccines are killed vaccines (meaning they don’t contain modified live strains like the parvo or distemper vaccines), the effect to immunize your animal with one dose is much less. Hence, the second dose is needed to finish the job. When it comes to distemper, parvo, those combination puppy vaccines, they last a lifetime and don’t need to be given again. You can do titer tests if you want to put your mind at ease. Over vaccinating for anything causes tremendous stress on the body, potential dis-ease and is something you want to be very thoughtful about and do your research. I will be writing a more in-depth post on rabies in the near future. Lipomas Tumors, even lipomas, those mostly benign fatty ones, are the body’s attempt to isolate and consolidate toxins into one spot as close to the outside of the body as possible (remember, the body wants to protect its vital organs for survival). That is a red light on the dash. Pay attention to it and find ways to offload those toxins, to get your pup or cat’s lymph system moving so the body can get rid of it. Natural ways to stimulate a sluggish lymph system also serve to help shrink tumors. If you think about it, that makes sense. If fatty tumors are the body’s attempt to consolidate and isolate toxins away from vital organs, stimulating the lymph system to process and move out toxins can get a fatty tumor to disappear. It’s really pretty exciting when you start seeing the bigger picture of how the body is meant to heal and its innate intelligence to protect and heal itself. Then, you start understanding how putting things into the body that keep it from doing its job, over and over, can lead to dis-ease. Violet – AuthenticaPets.com shares something interesting about Violet. “Violet’s astrological ruler is Venus. In medical astrology the planet Venus rules the core of the body, the veins and the cells. It also has an affinity to the skin, the lower back, kidneys, urinary system and reproductive organs. Many Venus-ruled plants are moist and alterative in action and of the element of water.” Alteratives affect how waste is processed in the body via the cells. Violet supports the lymph system, as well as the kidney and liver, the key organs that process waste out of the body. Violet is a cooling herb and a demulcent, meaning it coats and acts as an anti-inflammatory. AuthenticaPets, experts in herbs, suggest using an infusion for dealing with the intestines and the lymphatic system, instead of a tincture. They caution to be sensitive to violet’s mild laxative effect, so to back off a bit if diarrhea occurs, but if your pet has constipation, violet is a great choice to coat the intestinal tract, lubricate the stool and stimulate getting the lymphatic system moving, a common cause of constipation. To make an infusion, use 2 tablespoons of high-quality dried herb in almost boiling water and then cover and let steep for 20-30 minutes. I’ve ordered beautiful organic violet herb from the Etsy store: Our Land Herbs Dosage: Small dogs – 1 tsp of the concentrated infusion in a half cup of filtered water and give it morning and evening Medium dogs – 1 tbsp; same as above. Large dogs – 2 tbsp; same as above. Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris): Prunella vulgaris, commonly called self-heal, heal-all, and also called woundwort, heart-of-the-earth, carpenter’s herb, brownwort or blue curls, is a herbaceous plant in the mint family Lamiaceae. The entire plant can be eaten; it has a slightly bitter taste. It’s been used medicinally for centuries to treat wounds and other conditions. It is often overlooked as a wonderful lymphatic tonic and stimulant. The possible health benefits of this plant are attributed to several of its compounds. These include flavonoids, tannins, and ursolic, rosmarinic, and oleanolic acids, which may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties The phytonutrient, betulinic acid, found in Self-Heal, has antiretroviral, anti-inflammatory and has more recently been discovered to have anti-cancer properties. Another phytonutrient in self-heal, lupeol, also has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. According to Healthline: Specific carbohydrates in the plant have been shown to induce cancer cell death and prevent tumor growth in test-tube studies. Test-tube studies also show that caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, and other plant compounds in this herb may act as antioxidants that fight underlying cell damage. This damage is caused by reactive molecules called free radicals, which are linked to cancer development. One study in human liver cancer cells found that Prunella vulgaris stopped the spread of cancer by inhibiting certain enzymes that promote cancer growth. Applying Self-Heal to tumors have been shown to help shrink them, as well. Dogsnaturallymagazine states: “It’s great at moving fluids in and out of tissues downward through the kidneys. Self-heal removes heat in the liver moving stagnant fluids and improving circulation. Use self-heal internally and externally to redistribute and break up fatty tissue.

  • Give as a tincture. 1/2 drop of tincture for every pound of weight twice daily.

  • Rub a few drops of tincture into your dog’s lipoma twice daily”

I’ve ordered Self-Heal tincture from this shop: Other herbs like dandelion, chickweed, chamomile and turmeric are helpful in shrinking lipomas, as well. A Powerful Natural Support For Their Bodies and Health Medicinal mushrooms, more and more, are being looked to as a way to maintain overall health and support the immune system, gut, brain, heart and much more. And, not all mushrooms are created equal. You’re looking for a broad array of medicinal mushrooms, grown organically in pristine conditions and a product that includes the mycelium of the mushroom. The mycelium is the intelligence of the fungi, the underground network that brings all of the nutrients to the mushrooms to grow and thrive. Including the mycelium in the blend packs a powerhouse of benefits to your dog or cat as the potent trigger of immune cell function, improved brain and nerve health and more. The mushroom blend I use for me and for my animals is a 10 medicinal mushroom blend called HighVibe Mushrooms Limitless product. You can get it here. Symptoms You Should Get Checked for Cancer If something more sinister is going on, here are some signs to look for and get examined by a vet, when it comes to cancer:

  • Lumps and bumps: It can often be difficult to tell the difference between a general mass and a cancerous growth, so definitely get any growths you notice checked out by your veterinarian, especially those that seem to be growing.

  • Decreased or loss of appetite

  • Decreased movement or reluctance to exercise, when that is not normal for your animal

  • Difficulty eating or swallowing

  • Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

  • Vomiting or diarrhea that lasts longer than a few days

  • Persistent lameness

  • Recent onset of a persistent offensive odor

  • Unexplained weight loss or gain

Here are the common types of cancer:

  • Lymphoma is one of the most common cancers seen in dogs and cats. The usual sign in dogs is swollen lymph nodes under the jaw, in front of the shoulders, or behind the knees. For cats, it’s weight loss and anorexia.

  • Mast cell tumors, which typically form on the skin, can vary from relatively benign to very aggressive and often spread to other parts of the body. A pet suffering from a mast cell tumor may experience symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, or inappetence.

  • Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer in dogs, occurring most frequently in large and giant breeds. Osteosarcoma routinely attacks the long bones in the limbs but can affect any bone. Pet owners notice swelling, lameness, or pain in the affected limb in the early stages.

  • Hemangiosarcoma develops from cells that line the blood vessels, most commonly attacking the spleen, liver, heart, and skin. There are seldom any signs of illness until the tumor ruptures, causing shock.

  • Soft tissue sarcomas are tumors that emerge in a cat’s muscle, connective or nervous tissues anywhere on the body. A lump is often the first sign of illness.

  • Squamous cell carcinomas are malignant, aggressive tumors that often show up in a cat’s mouth, leading to pain and difficulty eating.

How Can We Avoid Cancer In Our Pets? The objective is to not arrive in this place, by feeding your dog or cat a fresh food, nutritious, varied diet, by adding powerful antioxidants into his or her health plan and by avoiding suppressive pharmaceuticals through using natural means to heal issues that arise. Spaying/Neutering: Is It Unhealthy? It is now agreed by many holistic vets that spaying or neutering too young or at all can be detrimental to their health. If you think about it, it makes sense. Imagine what would happen if a 10-year-old girl’s reproductive system was removed. Those hormones are needed by her body for functions as varied as blood sugar regulation to blood pressure, growth and fertility, sex drive, metabolism, and even sleep. In dogs and cats, hormones are messengers that help in regulating bodily functions, such as temperature, hunger, growth, development, reproduction and more. So, if a puppy loses its ability to produce hormones, there are significant repercussions in the body. Do research and give careful thought to this if you are getting a puppy. Summary

  • Tumors can be benign, like fatty benign lipomas or more sinister. When a pet is diagnosed with cancer, it doesn’t usually happen overnight. It is the result of years of imbalances in the body, suppressed with pharmaceuticals, over vaccination, poor diet and the toxicity in the environment or a combination of these.

  • We can make our pets’ bodies inhospitable to growing cancer cells by strengthening their immune system through a diet containing live enzymes like a raw diet and more plant-based foods and supporting their bodies with offloading of oxidative stress or free radicals created by the toxins they come into contact with all around them every day.

  • If your pet develops a fatty tumor that is benign, it is the body’s way of consolidating then isolating toxins as far from vital organs as possible. It is also a sign the pet’s lymphatic system may be stagnant and need stimulating to move those toxins out. There are herbs that are wonderful lymphatic system tonics and stimulants that also support the liver and kidneys, which process and move those toxins out of the body.

  • Know signs to look for that should get checked out by your vet. And, know and do research about things like spay/neuter, vaccinating to make sure you’re not contributing to the overload of toxicity in your pet’s body.

  • Consider and do your research around natural ways to heal tumors and to address things like cancer. And, work with a holistic veterinarian for serious illness.

I hope this post has been helpful in giving you an overview of this pervasive health challenge for pet parents. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

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