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Sick As a Dog: Cancer Care 101

Neoplasia is the uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells or tissues in the body. The abnormal growth itself is called a neoplasm or tumor, which can be further classified as benign or malignant.

Unfortunately, companion animals are at the same risk level as humans in developing cancer, and approximately one in four dogs will develop it—almost half when they’re over 10 years old. 

Luckily, pets today have a much better survival rate—thanks to advances in early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment.  

Conventional Western medical treatments consist of staging of the cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation; which, for many owners, comes at a high cost with less than desirable results.

Additional treatment options include immunotherapy, which involves harvesting living tumor tissue and developing a vaccination for the cancer so the animal’s immune system can attack the cancer cells, thus keeping the patient in a state of remission. 

For a natural type of chemotherapy, owners might consider administering multiple injections of high doses of vitamin C intravenously, which gets converted to substances that attack tumor cells but don’t affect the normal tissues in the body.

Eastern medicine involving diet therapy, herbal formulations, and acupuncture are other options and can balance and support the pet’s body as well as improve immune system function.  

High-quality food sources/diets, probiotics, and nutritional immune support products are important as well and assist the patient in maintaining the cancer in a state of remission.

Overall, an integrative medical approach is best and results in the greatest potential for the affected animal to live its best quality of life.


—Brad Cahoon, DVM, Owner  //  Veterinary Healing Center  //  120 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 4, Folsom, 916-889-7387,  //  2222 Francisco Drive, Suite 150, El Dorado Hills, 916-933-6030,