This article originally appeared on PetMD’s The Daily Vet as Supplements Used to Treat Symptoms of Cancer in Dogs
Now that you’ve read The Integrative Approach to Canine Cancer Treatment, you have a better understanding of why I choose to integrate multiple veterinary medical treatment perspectives in managing Cardiff’s T-Cell Lymphoma.
I’m now going to get into more specifics of the nutraceuticals (supplements), herbs, and foods that are part of Cardiff’s integrative health care plan. This article will cover nutraceuticals.
Nutraceuticals for Cancer Treatment
Nutraceuticals are food derived substances with medicinal benefits. Dietary supplements are commonly consider to be nutraceuticals.
Full Disclosure: How Did I Come to Use These Products?
I’ve used some of the below products for years; for Cardiff (as he runs the gamut of sick to healthy and vice versa) and for both ill and healthy patients. Others, like the Canine Matrix products, are new to my nutraceutical arsenal and were recently introduced to me by Terry Simons of the Canine Lymphoma Education Awareness and Research (CLEAR) Foundation.
I work as a veterinary consultant for both The Honest Kitchen (Pro Bloom) and Chuck Latham Associates, Inc. (ActivPhy), as my perspective as an integrative practitioner has synergy with the products made by these companies.
Editor’s note: petMD does not endorse any of the products listed here. The use of supplements and other holistic treatments for pet health is a personal decision that should be made by owners in collaboration with their veterinarians.
Honest Kitchen Pro Bloom
Pro Bloom is a dehydrated, goat milk-based probiotic and digestive enzyme product that has helped jump start Cardiff’s digestive tract during his post-surgical recovery and chemotherapy and Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA) treatments.
Probiotics are essential to maintain normal digestive tract function and competitively inhibit pathogenic bacteria, parasites, and viruses from taking up residence in the small and large intestines. Digestive enzymes help break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates and can be useful when the pancreas isn’t keeping up with its secretory responsibilities.
As a powder, ProBloom can be mixed into moist food or given as a tasty and health-yielding beverage to drink. I’ve had to syringe-feed Pro Bloom to Cardiff, which he readily accepts.
One of my clients who use Pro Bloom for her three pugs and one terrier mix loves the ritual of making “puppy lattes” for her pooches, and they benefit from the dose of probiotics and digestive enzymes.
Rx Vitamins for Pets — Nutrigest
Nutrigest is a probiotic, anti-inflammatory, and intestinal cell supporting supplement. Besides having millions of diverse species of probiotics, Nutrigest contains many ingredients that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the digestive tract, including ginger root extract, Aloe extract, DGL (deglycerrhized licorice), Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia repens), glucosamine (N-acetyl D form), and others.
I like to have more than one option for getting probiotics into Cardiff, which is why he gets both Nutrigest and Pro Bloom.
Nutrigest comes in both a capsule and powdered form, so there are multiple ways to get the product into your pet in need of digestive tract support.
Rx Vitamins for Pets — Amino B-Plex
Amino B-Plex is a B Vitamin complex, amino acid, and iron product that s many benefits for any canine or feline body afflicted by disease or illness. B Vitamins are important for immune system and digestive tract function. Amino Acids are the basic building blocks of proteins, which form muscle and other body tissues.
With cancer there can be a muscle-wasting effect that leads to weight loss and overall weakness. Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, which binds to and transports oxygen around the body. Cancer and chemotherapy can contribute to anemia, so giving an iron supplement to cancer and other chronic disease patients can help combat anemia.
Amino B-Plex has an appealing flavor and comes as a liquid that mixes well into moist food, or it can be given by mouth.
Rx Vitamins for Pets — Glucamune
Glucamune has three primary ingredients that work synergistically: Astragalus root concentrate has digestive and immune system supporting effects, licorice root concentrate helps improve the effects of the other components and supports the mucus layer lining the intestines, and β (1-3),(1-6)-D-Glucan WGP increases levels of an immune system protein called Interleukin-2 (IL-2), which helps regular white blood cell function.
Glucamune is a capsule that can be given whole or opened and mixed into moist food.
Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet
Rich in EPA and DHA, Nordic Naturals’ omega-3 fatty acid product provides the basic building blocks of cell walls and other body tissues. Omega-3 fatty acids also have a natural anti-inflammatory effect, help prevent wasting associated with cancer (cachexia), and promote improved immune system health.
Besides the super-purity of Nordic Naturals’ product, I give it to Cardiff and recommend it for my patients as it is low in flavor and odor.
Omega-3 Pet’s 2 oz. bottle comes with a helpful “eye dropper-type” dispenser that makes it easy to get the product into your pet’s food without leaving your fingers smelling fishy.
Besides having had cancer and immune-mediated disease (four episodes of IMHA in 10 years of life), Cardiff also has arthritis. His toes are the primary places affected by osteoarthritis (where the joint surfaces becomes irregular), and flare ups of inflammation affect his ability to walk comfortably. So, my goal is to prevent him from having joint pain, and giving an oral joint-support nutraceutical likeActivPhy is a crucial component of Cardiff’s multi-modal pain management plan.
ActivPhy contains a blue green algae-derived ingredient called Phycocyanin, which has been shown to naturally reduce the COX-2 enzyme associated with canine arthritis. It also contains turmeric, an herb known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects, along with a potent anti-oxidant combination to help reduce cellular damage in all body systems.
As a moist chew, ActivPhy can be crumbled into food or given as a treat. It even makes a great, healthier version of a conventional “pill pocket or paste.”
Canine Matrix MRM Recovery and Turkey Tail
Both of these products are composed of mushrooms grown on organic oats. I first started Cardiff on MRM Recovery as he was nearly finished healing from his July 2015 surgery and was just starting chemotherapy.
The blend of four mushrooms in MRM (including Reishi and King Trumpet) is packed with L-Ergotheionine, which is touted to have excellent anti-inflammatory properties. I then added Turkey Tail, which is anti-oxidant rich and helps support an immune system stressed by chemotherapy, surgery, or cancer, all of which Cardiff is having or has had in the past few months.
MRM Recovery and Turkey tail are tasteless powders that are simple to mix into moist food.
Pending Cardiff’s particular needs in the face of taking chemotherapy on an ongoing basis or the potential for him to come out of remission, his nutraceutical plan may change to suit those needs.
Stay tuned for Cardiff’s next chapter, where I cover the nutritional aspects of his care, including Chinese medicine food energies and whole food diets.
Dr. Patrick Mahaney
Image: Syringe feeding Honest Kitchen Pro Bloom to Cardiff during his most-recent IMHA episode in October 2014.