Posts Tagged ‘Complementary and alternative veterinary medicine’

Natural Cancer Therapies

Exposure to Toxins

Cancer has quickly become one of the top causes of death in our companion animals.  It is well accepted now that the primary cause of many diseases is inflammation, from heart disease, to allergies, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease to cancer.  Over the decades of pioneering holistic integrative veterinary care, I have witnessed a tremendous increase in the incidence of cancer.  I believe it is naive to believe that it is just because we have better diagnostics.  Certainly there is a genetic predisposition for certain types of cancer in certain dog breeds, yet, a large percentage is secondary to all the toxic environmental exposures stimulating a chronic inflammation as well as the build up of toxins in the body.   There is a great deal of debate as to what role overvaccination, poor quality pet foods, chronic exposure to pesticides, herbicides etc. have on the body often then manifesting as cancer.  Personally, I am of the belief there is a tipping point of a toxic overload that then can result in the development of cancer.  This article on the use of baking soda, sodium bicarbonate, as a possible treatment for cancer stimulated the writing of this post.

Throughout my career I have been studying, searching and evaluating various natural, nontoxic therapies for cancer.  I have found that a combination of appropriate dietary management, nutraceuticals, chinese herbal formula’s, medicinal mushrooms and vitamins can cause a significant improvement in cancer, sometimes leading to complete remission or at least improving the quality and length of an animal’s life.  Recently I came across this interesting article on the use of baking soda in the treatment of Cancer.  The study is actually being conducted at the University of Arizona Medical School.  I have been aware of this treatment approach, but have not used it extensively in animals.  After reviewing the article, I find that there is indeed some merit in exploring the use of sodium bicarbonate, baking soda in the treatment of cancer in animals.  I will be exploring this approach more and discuss possible studies in animals.  I will keep you posted.

As with many conditions, the ideal is prevention rather than treatment.  The more we can optimize an animals nutrition and minimize exposure to toxins, the better the odds that one will not develop cancer.  Unfortunately with the increased exposure to more and more toxins, pesticides, poor quality food, and the so called “elephant in the living room”, the exposure to the increased radiation from the Fukushima diseaster, we will have to deal with cancer in animals as well as humans more frequently.  I will continue my commitment to explore natural, nontoxic approaches to help all of us live longer, happier, healthier lives.

Natural, Innovative Approaches to Cancer

Cancer in animals is increasing dramatically and in some area’s it is the leading cause of death in dogs and cats.  There is great speculation on all the potential causes.  In my practice I have treated hundreds of animals with cancer with an integrative approach over twenty years.  My attitude has always been to present to clients all the different therapeutic options in order to allow them to make an educated decision based on their own attitudes and perspectives on treatment.  I find some clients prefer a conventional approach based on their personal beliefs and positive experiences with family and friends who had responded well to chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.  Other clients prefer a completely natural approach based on their own personal beliefs and negative experiences with family and friends who did not respond well to chemotherapy, surgery or radiation.  I honor all people’s opinions and then offer an integrative approach based on the research results regarding a particular tumor type, the age of the animal, quality of life and the individual animal and the family situation.  Taking all of this into consideration is a more holistic approach. I have always stated that no one form of medicine has all the answers and it just seems reasonable to offer a more integrative approach.

Ideally, I also try to find the cause of the cancer wherever it is possible and see if there is something we can do based on the cause.  Some cancers in animals have a definitive genetic predisposition with all the inbreeding.  Others appear to be environmental or nutritional or possibly medication induced.

I have always searched for complementary, natural, nontoxic approaches wherever possible.  Recently, there was a documentary on Dr. Burzynski and his approach with antineoplastins in humans.  I remember working with Dr. Burzynski almost twenty years ago looking at the potential of using his approach based on proteins in the urine that were killed cancer cells.  I also explored antiangiogenic approaches as well as different nutritional and nutraceutical approaches. I have also used different Oriental medical herbal approaches with great success.   In most cases animals were able to live a longer, happier, healthier life with few if any side effects, though I cannot say that we ever cured cancer.  Clients were quite happy that there animals lived a quality life for a longer period of time.

I continue to look at for new innovative, nontoxic approaches.  I have recently been reviewing a number of these approaches and will share them with you periodically.  I recently came across this fascinating article on a bacteria found naturally in soil that unlike current chemotherapy, the natural bacteria treatment causes only the cancer cells to be destroyed while healthy cells are left unharmed.  This is the goal with most of the approaches that I search for.   You can learn more at:

As we work together to create a more compassionate society, offering an integrative approach to cancer care is an essential component to allow our animal friends a quality life as they get older and confront health care crises.  It allows us to confront our own choices on what we might do if confronted with our own personal crisis like this.  It allows us to develop a more compassionate approach to death and dying.  It also allows us an opportunity to develop a more compassionate approach to life with all other beings and for being in the moment and appreciating each moment.

Prevention of course is a key to cancer care.  Nutrition and nutraceuticals are a key component in preventive cancer care.  We will discuss this in more detail in future posts.

Be well, Be happy, Be peaceful, calm and alert!

Kindred Mushrooms Creating a Trans-species Compassionate World

Paul Stamets on Ted Talks on Six Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World

I just returned from a fascinating workshop on medicinal mushrooms with world famous mycologist Paul Stamets and his wise, wonderful, supportive wife, Dusty.  He presented an abundance of information on the scientific basis and cultivation of medicinal and edible mushrooms and how they can help save the world.  The workshop was at  a beautiful, mountainous retreat known as Foxglove Farm on Saltspring Island, where a good friend, author and bioneer, Michael Ableman is offering courses on self-sustainability.  Paul Stamets ( shared his decades of experience, filled with hilarious anecdotes about how he pioneered the discovery of numerous new uses of mushrooms for medicinal purposes, for bio-remediation of toxins as well as for beneficial food sources in times of need.  Paul presented a superb lecture at TED Talks summarizing his vision of how mushrooms can save the world in 6 easy ways.

Personally, I have used medicinal mushrooms in my veterinary practice for decades.  They are an instrumental component of my integrative approach for the treatment of immune mediated conditions, cancer as well as supporting health and wellness in the geriatric dog and cat.  They are an integral part of Traditional Chinese Herbal medicine as well.  Paul and I briefly discussed his beneficial anecdotal use of medicinal mushrooms in many species great and small over the decades. (more…)

A Root Question for Kindred Spirits

Is there a root question for kindred spirits?

In the mid 1990’s,  when I was one of the pioneers in integrating complementary and alternative veterinary medicine into conventional veterinary medicine, I was often confronted with a great deal of  skepticism and criticism from veterinarians who either were just unaware of all the research and documentation of these modalities or chose for whatever reason to be extremely adversarial against them.   As I was lamenting about the weariness of debating with some of these individuals who were really not interested in debate, but just proving that they were right and you were wrong, one wise friend of mine calmly suggested that perhaps we were asking the wrong questions.  The details of these debates can be reviewed in the Textbook of “Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine” edited by myself and Dr. Susan Wynn (see book section).   I was momentarily startled by her suggestion, but then listened intently to her discussion.  Her suggestion was that perhaps rather than debating about the quality and quantity of documentation, qualifications of various practitioners, the politics of it all, perhaps we should ask “What is best for the animals?”  Though the question seemed so obvious and so appropriate, so often we end up in a corner, because another party is framing the debate in order to get to a certain end result or solution.

Soon after that, I was invited to be on a committee to develop guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine (CAVM).  Eight of the veterinarians were representing various fields of veterinary medicine, from small animals to large animals, from wild to domestic and exotic, from academia to veterinary practices, and from medicine to surgery.  They were all quite reserved and skeptical to say the least.  There were two veterinarians on the committee who were representing the field of CAVM, myself and one other.  As we introduced ourselves to each other and stated our qualifications for being on the committee, who we were representing and what our perspectives were, I quickly realized how it seemed like the odds were completely stacked against developing guidelines that would be supportive of CAVM.  Fortunately, I was the last person to introduce myself.

In addition, to diverge for a moment,  I had just completed a weeklong intensive in Aikido with John Denver’s bodyguard (yes, the folksinger had a bodyguard), Tom Crum.  Tom had just written a fascinating book called “The Magic of Conflict”, which essentially took the philosophy of Aikido to verbal debate.  Essentially, in its most basic form, one might briefly describe Aikido as the martial art of not fighting.  Every evening after a long day of practice of Aikido, we would have discussions on the skills of verbal Aikido, the martial art of not fighting, with words and language.  Perhaps this was one of the precursors to the approach of Nonviolent Communication.

Now, back to that moment when I was in front of this committee and was asked to introduce myself and what my perspective was.  After stating my background and qualifications, I suggested that even though the questions being asked were interesting and valid,  perhaps there may be even a broader, more encompassing question that may embrace all the varied perspectives on developing new guidelines for CAVM.  Perhaps, the base, root question should be “What is best for the animals under our care?”  After all, that is part of the Hippocratic Oath that we take when we venture forth on the journey of being a veterinarian.

There was dead silence for a few moments as they were all so taken back by that essential question.   As faces rumpled up, brows raised and jaws dropped, there seemed to be a moment of cognitive dissonance.  Interestingly enough though, one by one, smiles came to the faces of all these rather reserved, professional veterinarians and it seemed to touch them at their core, at their original desire in their hearts of why they chose to be veterinarians.  By the end of the first day of our meetings, they had all agreed with great comraderie,  that indeed, that should be the root question of all our discussions.  Fortunately, by asking the right question, we were all able to develop respectful, balanced guidelines to assist veterinarians in the professional integration of CAVM into conventional veterinary medicine and it was for the best for all the animals under our care.  Certainly, there were still some extremist skeptics with their own personal agenda’s that despite all discussion, would still choose to disagree with that point, but rarely is it possible to please everyone.

With that in mind, I invite all kindred spirits to ask themselves, if we are all working together to create a new, more compassionate society with the intention of it being for the benefit of all beings, what are the right questions to ask ourselves and others, as we make future decisions on how to be in this world.  What if as we go about our daily responsibilities, chores, interactions with others at work, in school, at play, and everywhere in each and every moment, we ask ourselves if  our choices are the best for the benefit of all beings.  How would that look?

What are your thoughts on this?  If you have been or are asking this question in certain situations, how has it impacted on your choices and actions?  How has it impacted on others? How has it impacted on your contributions to the future of a new, more compassionate 21st century?   Thoughts?