Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sickness from the Chemotherapy

Last night was pretty tough for Laura.   After her chemotherapy (doxorubicin) session on Monday, she came home and acted normal.  She ate her regular dinner.  The next day she seemed fine too.  She ate all of her breakfast and all of her dinner.   About 11pm last night as we were laying in bed together, her stomach started gurggling and she started chomping her gums.   I could tell she was feeling nauseous.

For the next two hours she puked almost non stop.  I went through four changes of sheets and was up steam cleaning carpets half the night.  Poor thing was feeling pretty bad.   It almost made me wish I hadn't gone through with the chemotherapy.  At about 1 am she finally vomitted for the last time and went to sleep alongside her brother.   I tried giving her a benadryl and some pepto chewables, but she couldn't keep anything down. 
Gipper and Laura

I called Dr. B in the morning, and he didn't seem too concerned.   He said it was to be expected from the chemo.  He prescribed some Reglan (Metoclopramide) to calm her stomach down.  I gave her one of the pills first thing this morning and she has been holding water down all day, so hopefully the side effects of the chemo are over with.  I'm hoping she will feel well enough to eat her dinner tonight.

Monday, February 21, 2011

2nd Round of Chemotheraphy Over

Laura on the way to Chemo
Laura went in this morning for her second round of chemo.  Dr. B decided to increase the doxorubicin by about 30% since she handled her first round of chemo so well.   She came through again with flying colors.  When I picked her up this afternoon she ran out and smothered me with kisses and was definitely ready to come home.   She is resting comfortably -- waiting patiently for her dinner.

The best part about the visit was her blood work.   Everything came back normal.  Her red blood cells and platelets were back to where they should be.  What a relief and hopefully a sign of good things to come.

And thanks to her diet, her weight increased from 51 to 54 pounds.  Another great sign.

She goes in for another round of chemo three weeks from today.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Laura's Cancer Diet

Many of you have emailed me asking about Laura's cancer diet.   I believe that her diet has kept her strong and healthy and the number one reason she is still alive today.   I have probably spent about more than 30 hours researching various cancer diets for dogs and the best vitamins and supplements to include.   The following is the result of my extensive research.  This diet should work well for any type of dog cancer.

Since cancer cells thrive on the energy that carbohydrates give the body, you must include foods with fewer carbohydrates. Foods with higher fat content, contain lipids. Cancer cannot thrive in the presence of lipids; this allows more amino acids to replicate and aid in the fight against cancer. White rice, wheat and breads have extremely high amounts of carbohydrates, and should not be fed to a dog with cancer.  Cancer cells feed on sugar. We are attempting to starve those cells.

Protein is the most essential part of a cancer diet, since protein is responsible for tissue repair. Foods high in protein, like fish, beef, chicken, pork and eggs, are ideal for cancer sufferers. Not only does protein promote tissue repair, but it also aids in the prevention of cancer in dogs, since cancer cannot thrive on protein.

Below is Laura's Cancer Diet.   I'm including links to the actual products that I give her in the event that you would like to purchase them too.   After the recipe for the diet, I will explain in detail why I choose each ingredient.   Laura is a 54 pound dog, so you will need to adjust the recipe accordingly.

Morning Meal
1 cup of cooked chopped Chicken or Turkey
1 cup of steamed pureed mixed green vegetables
1 cooked scrambled egg
1/4 cup cooked chopped liver
2 tablespoons raw chopped parsley
1/2 clove chopped raw garlic
1 tablespoon raw chopped ginger
Evening Meal
1 cup of cooked chopped Chicken or Turkey
1 cup of steamed pureed mixed green vegetables
1/3 cup of smashed mackerel
1/4 cup cooked chopped liver 
2 tablespoons raw chopped parsley
1/2 clove chopped raw garlic
1 tablespoon raw chopped ginger
1 Vitamin A (10,000 IU)
2 Vitamin C (1000 mg total)
1 Chinese Ginseng (500 mg)
1 IP-6
1 CoQ10
1 Milk Thistle
1 Thorne Vet Immugen
1 L-Arginine
1 Reishi Mushroom
1 Spirulina
1 Tumeric Curcumin
1 BioPerine (Piperine)
1 L-Glutamine
1 Astragalus
1 Tablespoon Essiac Tea
2 Tablespoons of Yogurt (given after her dinner)

Snack: (given 2x per day in-between meals)
2 Tablespoons of cottage cheese
1 Tablespoon of Flax seed oil mixed well with the cottage cheese

Rotating Supplements:   I do one week on of these and then one week off
5 drops of Echinacea 3x day
1 capsule of Yunnan Baiyao at each meal

1 Melatonin (3mg)

Detailed Explanation of Ingredients:

The herb Ashwagandha may slow and even stop the growth of cancerous cells or tumors in the canine body.  Regular use of Ashwagandha also increases hemoglobin levels. Its anti cancer, anti-inflammatory and soothing attributes can assist in providing the dog with an improved quality of life. 

Recent research confirms the positive effect of Astragalus on immune functioning and its ability to help the body fight against illness and disease.  Astragalus may aid in restoring the function of the canine immune system. It also may prohibit the further growth of cancer cells and tumors. Astragalus is considered a supportive herb because it also enhances the effectiveness of other herbs that may be used in homeopathic treatments. Specifically, astragalus treats fatigue, high blood pressure, shortness of breath and helps the body fight colds. 

Recent research indicates that Bromelain, an enzyme that comes from pineapples, may have an anti-cancer effect. 

Chicken or Turkey 
Great source of high quality protein.  I generally use the thighs, legs and breast.   I throw as much as I can in a large crock-pot and let it cook all day.  When it's cooked, I de-bone it and chop it. Some people recommend only using skinless breasts -- but for a cancer dog you want the high fat content.   Remember, a diet with a high fat content may slow tumor growth, and make the body resilient to fight tumor cells.  Leave the skin on! 

Chinese Ginseng (500 mg)
Ginseng has antioxidant properties, protects against cancer formation, stimulates natural killer cell function, inhibits tumor invasion, and has antiangiogenesis properties. 

Cottage Cheese and Flax seed oil
The Budwig Protocol of cottage cheese and flax seed oil found that tumors gradually receded, weakness and anemia disappeared and life energy was restored. Symptoms of cancer, liver dysfunction and diabetes were alleviated.  

Coenzyme Q-10 is a supplement with antioxidant properties. It is a compound produced by the body and essential for the production of energy at the cellular level. Coenzyme Q-10 helps protect the heart and helps boost the immune system. . Both these benefits can be very helpful in dogs fighting any form of cancer. Some chemotherapy drugs such as doxorubicin can cause side effects such as heart toxicity in dogs, so CoQ-10 can be given as a supplement to dog cancer patients, especially those on doxorubicin. Incidentally, in humans, supplementation of CoQ-10 with other cancer treatments has been shown to improve survival times. 

This is an herb that has long been used in Europe (and now North America) for boosting the immune system. Dogs with cancer have compromised immune systems, which can be further weakened by chemotherapy. Echinacea can be used re-establish a weakened immune system. 

Essiac Tea
The blend of Essiac tea may help your dog strengthen its immune system, help the body to destroy benign growths and tumors, and strengthen muscles, organs and tissues. The formula also may remove toxic accumulation in your dogs' body, aid in detoxification and elimination, and purify the blood while it adds strength and flexibility to bones, joints and lungs. 

Garlic stimulates immune functions in the bloodstream by increasing the activities of killer cells (cells that seek out and destroy invading microbes and cancer cells). It is therefore beneficial for dogs with suppressed immune systems and dogs fighting cancer. 

Ginger is great for relieving vomiting and queasiness, which is a common side effect brought on by chemotherapy. In addition, ginger can stimulate appetite, so that a dog patient with cancer can eat more which is important for fighting cancer. 

A number of studies support IP6's (inositol hexaphosphate) cancer-fighting properties. Additionally, IP6 has been shown to have potent antioxidant properties. IP6 has been shown in more than 25 studies to prevent the growth of tumors and shrink existing tumors.  

L-Arginine is an essential amino acid required for the normal cellular growth, metabolism and organ function. However, L-Arginine also plays a vital role in inducing cell death. L-Arginine is the common substrate for two different enzymes namely arginase and nitric oxide synthase (NOS). NOS catalyze the conversion of L-Arginine to Nitric Oxide. Arginase catalyzes the conversion of L-arginine to L-ornithine. L-ornithine is an essential component of cell proliferation whereas Nitric Oxide inhibits the proliferation of many cell types. Hence, L-Arginine can be used as a treatment option for curing certain specific types of cancers.
In a recent study conducted on dogs suffering with lymphoblastic lymphoma, researchers were able to increase survival time to a significant level by providing L-Arginine and fish oil as a dietary supplement. L-Arginine was found to lower the levels of lactic acid and insulin in the blood and also reduce the levels of cytokines that can help in the growth of cancer. L-Arginine also helps in enhancing immunity in cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy or surgery. Certain cancer types do not require L-Arginine for their growth. Studies have shown that overloading such cancer cells with excess L-Arginine has resulted in decreased tumor growth. 

L-glutamine is useful for fighting muscle wasting associated with cancer and also shows promise as an immune boosting supplement and may even be useful as an antioxidant. It is useful in this capacity to help support the dog’s immune system and help maintain body weight. 

A dog with cancer is building a lot of new tissue, and adequate proteins and cell membrane compounds (omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids) are required to do this. Lipiderm is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids. 

Contains a lot of nutrients and large amounts of vitamin A and iron.  I usually use a mixture of beef and chicken. 

Certain fatty acids called Omega 3, 6 and 9 are required in fighting cancer. Fish oil is a good source of these specific fatty acids.  In a diet supplemented with fish and the amino acid arginine appears to increase survival time in dogs with cancer.  Sardines may also be substituted, but they are expensive.   Amazon has a great deal on a case of Mackerel (Roland brand).    

Melatonin used with chemo versus chemo alone more than doubled the survival time of human cancer patients.  A study looked at over 600 cancer patients with a variety of solid-tissue tumors received melatonin.  The 1 year survival time of the group that took melatonin was more than a third greater than those that did not.  

Milk Thistle
Thіѕ herb саn protect thе liver against harmful bу-products οf thе cancer. Aѕ well, milk thistle іѕ effectual іn protecting thе body frοm liver destruction resulting frοm chemotherapy. 

Mixed Green Vegetables
Cancer dogs need antioxidant-rich vegetables to strengthen their immune system. Choose dark green vegetables.  I use a mix of broccoli, spinach, asparagus spears, cabbage, brussel sprouts, celery, collard greens, mustard greens and bok-choy.   These are great sources of  many important vitamins and they are all very low carb.   I use a large steamer to cook them until they are mushy and then puree them in my food processor.  Make sure to puree the vegetables, since dogs do not possess the enzymes that break the layer outer cellulose layers in vegetables.  I also throw in about a teaspoon of ground up egg shells in the vegetable mixture for the calcium. 

Parsley acts like an antioxidant in that it neutralizes the negative effects of the environment by eliminating toxins and maintains the elasticity of the blood vessels. It is very beneficial for the liver, digestive system, to re-boot the immune system, reduce stress levels in the endocrine system and will benefit every area of digestion.  

Pet Tab multi vitamin
Pet tabs is a great multi vitamin to make sure your dog is getting all the nutrients it needs.  Vitamins and supplements play an important role in maintaining health and vitality.  

Reishi Mushroom
Reishi mushrooms work to stimulate the immune system. By doing so, they restrict and prevent the growth of cancer cells.  Reishi is known to stimulate the production of potent natural anti-cancer substances that inhibit the growth of tumors. It can prevent the growth of secondary cancers, and reduces side-effects of chemotherapy. 

Has the ability to prevent and slow down cancer growth in dogs, due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.   

Scrambled Egg
Good source of protein.  Protein repairs damaged tissues.  

A mineral and a major antioxidant nutrient. Selenium protects cell membranes and helps prevent free radical generation.  Selenium can deliver a real punch against dog cancer. There have been over one hundred studies done in animals that yielded some fascinating results. As it turns out selenium has the ability to prevent numerous types of cancer. How important is selenium in the fight against cancer? One study found that high doses of selenium were able to stop cancer from forming by eighty to ninety percent.   

Spirulina increases the level of white cells in the blood and of nucleated cells and DNA in the bone marrow of mice that had been subjected to chemotherapy and radiation. In dogs, the spirulina extract additionally increased the level of red blood cells. Spirulina "has chemo-protective and radio-protective capability, and may be a potential adjunct to cancer therapy.  Studies show Spirulina or its extracts can prevent or inhibit cancers in humans, animals, and fish. 

Thorne Vet Immugen
Comprehensive immune support product that contains vitamins, minerals, glandular, and herbs with immune-supportive properties.  Activates natural-killer cells and promotes the body's innate resistance to pathogens. 

Tumeric Curcumin
Studies done on laboratory animals suggest that curcumin has significant anti-cancer activities and properties. Curcumin is making huge strides in cancer cures, as it not only inhibits tumor growth, but it shrinks existing tumors and prevents new ones from growing in carcinogenic cancers.  

Vitamin A (10,000 IU)
Vitamin A is an important antioxidant which may protect against certain forms of cancer in dogs. 

Vitamin C
Antioxidant.  Vitamin C works with vitamin E and helps regenerate vitamin E, potentiating its antioxidant effect. Vitamin C supplementation does no harm, since the excess is excreted through the kidney. While dogs produce vitamin C in their bodies (unlike human beings who must have it in their diet), under stress or disease, they may need vitamin C in excess of their manufacturing capacity.  

Vitamin E  
Evidence suggests that Vitamin E prevents cancer.  Vitamin E does stimulate immunity and may help counteract the side effects of chemotherapy.  

Yogurt can boost immunity, is a rich source of calcium and and improves the bioavailability of other nutrients. 

Yunnan Baiyao
If your dog has hemangiosarcoma, leukemia, or any type of bleeding tumor, you’ll want to know about Yunnan Baiyao (aka Yunnan Paiyao), a Chinese herb that stops bleeding. Yunnan Baiyao has been used in Asia for more than one hundred years and is considered a miracle drug for wounds and hemorrhage. It first gained recognition by western practitioners during the Vietnam War. The Vietcong carried it with them and took it if they were wounded to stop bleeding and recover more quickly.  It is now recognized as an effective remedy for reducing clotting time by as much as 55%.  Hemangiosarcoma is a very deadly cancer in dogs,  which generally isn't diagnosed until the dog collapses or dies. This sort of cancer is genetic, hereditary, and it runs in bloodlines. It causes a tumor in the heart (also seen in the spleen, and other organs) that leads to fluid build-up in the pericardium. Yunnan Baiyao has been used successfully to relieve the fluid build up and help with the dog's comfort level.