Because clinical signs of pancreatic cancer do not become obvious until the disease has progressed into its later stages, treating pancreatic cancer in dogs is difficult and usually not effective at providing a cure. Surgery can sometimes be successful, but chemotherapy and radiation are rarely effective. In many instances, care will be palliative in nature and the prognosis is considered to be grave. However, there are some holistic treatments you can use to make your dog more comfortable and improve his quality of life.
If you plan to use holistic medicines for your dog with pancreatic cancer, discuss this with your veterinarian. Many conventional veterinarians are incorporating holistic treatments into their practices, especially in cases where palliative care is all that can be offered. You may also consider consulting with a veterinarian specializing in holistic treatments. You can locate a holistic veterinarian practicing in your area by visiting the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s website at http://www.ahvma.org/.
With any illness, holistic veterinarians begin by examining the pet’s diet. This is especially true in the case of canine cancer. Many holistic veterinarians believe that preservatives, additives and chemicals in commercial pet foods can contribute to cancer development in dogs and cats. They often recommend changing a dog’s diet to one that is made at home and created from human-grade ingredients. This may help to slow the progression of your dog’s pancreatic cancer.
There are many supplements, herbs, and vitamins that may be prescribed for a dog suffering from pancreatic cancer. Zinc, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil and flaxseed oil are among the top recommendations. Mushrooms, including reishi, shiitake, maitake and cordyceps, are also known to have cancer-fighting properties. The herb astragalus is commonly prescribed for cancer in canines. The herb is thought to support the work of other medicines and herbs and make them more effective. It also has properties that boost the immune system. Bee pollen and bladderwack are also sometimes used in cancer treatment. Herbs are most often given to dogs in liquid form.
It may be that the therapy you provide to your dog with pancreatic cancer is hospice care. The primary concern should be pain relief. Talk to both a conventional veterinarian and holistic veterinarian about pain relief options. You may need to provide your dog with a cushioned bed as his disease progress. Heat can also help to ease some of his pain and provide additional comfort. You can use a heating pad, on its lowest setting and covered with a towel, in his bed. Do not use the heating pad unless the dog has the ability to get up if he gets too warm. Your dog’s resting place should be near the family so that he doesn’t get lonely, but not in the middle of the hustle and bustle of daily life.