The diagnosis of cancer in your animal friend can be a devastating, heart wrenching experience. I empathize with every animal caretaker who receives that diagnosis for their friend. I have had this experience with my own animal friends as well. I will share with you my own thought process that I go through with all my clients as well as with my own animal friends. This is merely an introduction to our comprehensive approach.
When you are confronted with this situation, the first thing I suggest is to stop, sit down, take a deep breath into your abdomen, hold it for a moment and slowly let it out as you feel comfortable. This actually will change your physiology and quiet your mind. This is part of what Dr. Herb Benson at Harvard Medical School calls “the relaxation response”. If you meditate, by all means meditate. This is quite important, when considering your next step.
The next step is to listen to your veterinarian and hear all the different options that he/she may offer. Ask them about the advantages, disadvantages, potential side effects of each therapeutic option. Ask them about the percent success rate and what success means as far as life span and quality of life. If your veterinarian limits your options to conventional medicine, ask if there are any natural, nontoxic, complementary approaches that are possible either as an natural or in addition to conventional medicine. If they are unfamiliar or skeptical of natural options, ask them if they can recommend a veterinarian who has experience in other therapeutic options. If they cannot, check with the different website links that are on this website to locate a veterinarian in your area that practices holistic medicine.
The approach in our practice that Drs. Ehrsam, Rodriguez and I take is to review all the options. If conventional approaches are worthwhile, with a reasonable success rate and minimal side effects, we may recommend them and refer you for an additional opinion from a veterinary oncology specialist in order that you can understand the advantages and disadvantages of all choices. Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University Veterinary School and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine all have excellent oncology specialists. Then we will offer natural approaches, either as adjunctive, complementary therapies or as the sole approach if the success with chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery are poor.
We recommend a balanced, organic, natural, homemade diet as the foundation for our animal friends health. Resources for recipes are listed in our suggested readings. We utilize nutritional supplements, botanical medicine and other natural therapies to support the animals general health, bolster the immune system and increase the animals ability to fight the cancer. We use antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C, E, and minerals such as selenium to assist the body. We use many other nutritional and botanical therapies depending upon the individual animal, the individual caretaker, the particular type of cancer and the ability of the animal to take oral supplements.
One should note that in our particular practice, we do not do phone consultations but require an initial office visit to establish a doctor, client, patient relationship. This is why we provide links in order for you to find qualified veterinarians in your local area. I hope this information is helpful for you. Remember to review all your options and decide what you feel is best for your animal friend and you.
One of the most important things I suggest is to love your animal friend and be positive around them and realize that you can do many things to help them, but no one is immortal, death is not a failure, it is just another step along the journey. The key to all healing is love.