Pets and Cancer
Sadly, animals are not spared the ravages of cancer. This November, as we acknowledge National Pet Cancer Awareness month, take some time to learn the symptoms of this terrible disease, treatment options, and ways to try to prevent it from happening to your animal companion in the first place.
According to MedVet, one in four dogs and one in five cats are diagnosed with cancer. It is the leading cause of death due to disease for dogs and cats in the U.S. with almost half of all dogs older than ten years losing their battle with cancer. Symptoms can include persistent lumps or sores, blood in the urine, behavior changes, lethargy, and loss of appetite, but often, there are no specific symptoms other than a general sense that your animal isn’t feeling well. The most common symptom is significant and sustained weight loss. If your animal companion displays any of these symptoms or just doesn’t seem right to you, visit your veterinarian to get her checked out. If the diagnosis is cancer, there are a number of holistic treatment options, and the prognosis varies depending on the type of cancer and how soon it is addressed.
Holistic Treatments Do Less Harm
From homeopathy to Chinese herbs, there are a variety of holistic methods available to treat cancer in animals. Holistic medicine takes a long view of the entire animal with a focus on strengthening well-being rather than fighting disease. Because cancer is often caused by exposure to toxic chemicals in cleaners, pesticides, and flea and tick treatments, the first step in holistic cancer treatment is to detoxify the animal’s body. This is why many holistic approaches focus on nutrition to fortify the animal while weakening the cancer. A specially prescribed diet made for your animal’s specific health needs is often the first step. Some holistic veterinarians will add herbs, medicinal mushrooms, supplements, and essential oils specified for your animal’s needs depending upon the animal’s age, type of cancer, and severity of cancer.
It is important to visit a holistic veterinarian if you want to avoid some of the conventional cancer treatments that take a disease approach rather than a whole-body health approach. These conventional treatments of radiation and surgery often make your animal sicker while attempting to cure her. At the very least, her quality of life is significantly diminished while undergoing these types of treatments. With a holistic approach, the cancer is treated while maintaining your animal’s overall health.
Start With Prevention
But before you even have to consider treatment for cancer, the best thing you can do is to prevent your animal from getting cancer in the first place. Don’t use synthetic chemical pesticides in your yard where your animal may ingest them and try to avoid taking her to places where you know pesticides are used. Avoid traditional flea and tick treatments and opt instead for all-natural versions, like Nature’s Protection Flea and Tick Prevention which is made with all-natural ingredients. And, most importantly, avoid traditional commercial dog foods in favor of a more holistic diet. Fresh food or raw diets can be delicious and healthful, as can holistically- formulated prepared foods such as Earth Animal’s Wisdom Dog Food.
Getting a diagnosis of cancer for your animal companion is scary. With holistic practices, you can heal without harm, and even ward off this insidious illness in the first place.