Imagine the awful shock!
You are listening to the vet’s voice, and they are telling you that your dog (or cat, or bunny etc.) has Cancer. This is the worst news. Deadly news. And your brain is going to shut down as you go into shock. Because it’s truly a massive shock for you. The vet might as well be telling you all about the next newest model of lawnmower, or some advanced theory in quantum physics, for all the sense you’ll be able to make of what they are telling you.
When you experience severe stress (and this is about as severe as it gets- because your pet is a family member, in many cases, like a child for you emotionally) your front brain shuts down. You won’t be able to understand new information, especially new, complicated information. You won’t be able to make grounded, sensible, well-informed decisions.
You need to stop.
The first thing you need to do in a holistic approach to treating your pet’s cancer is to take good care of yourself. You need to reach out for support, find dear friends who you can talk to, burst into tears with, process how you’re feeling. You may well need some professional support form a therapist (I highly recommend finding a somatic experiencing therapist, they are among the best).
Your first instinct is going to be to do everything you can to save your pet’s life. A deep dive with Dr Google. Researching, researching, and then researching some more. Trying to understand all the options form your regular vet – scans, biopsies, lab results, tumour type and grading, surgery, chemo, radiation, median survival times, talking to specialists.
If you’re not careful, you’ll forget to care for yourself, which is the first thing your pet needs. You must make time to decompress, time to relax. You must eat well. You must go to bed at a reasonable time. If you can’t sleep, you must go to your naturopath or your integrative human doctor and get some help. You must maintain your normal self-care routines (yoga, meditation, whatever recreation you do).
Then you need to talk to a holistic vet
There are many things we can do holistically to help. If you need to talk, if you’re overwhelmed, then call me! Email me! Sometimes an integrative approach, with a combination of regular veterinary treatments plus holistic dietary changes, supplements etc. will be best. Sometimes a totally holistic approach can be the best informed choice you can make for your pet. But you’ll need to have an in-depth conversation with your holistic vet before you can make that informed choice.
A skilled, experienced holistic vet can help you understand all the options.
What can be done holistically for cancer?
I always explain toe people who come to me with a dog with cancer that my holistic cancer treatment protocol is essentially palliative. Yes, I have a very small number of animals who have their cancers shrink away to nothing with this approach BUT this is rare. In most cases, a holistic cancer treatment plan will improve the quality of life and extend the time you’ll have with your pet.
My cancer protocol includes:
- Dietary: You can go the whole hog and put your pet on a strict ketogenic diet. This takes some work, and you need to get a testing machine and be willing to collect a drop of blood from your pet’s ear every day to check the ketone levels. Starving cancer of carbohydrates can make a huge difference. Otherwise, a fresh (preferably raw) whole foods diet very low in carbs is absolutely necessary!
- Cannabis extracts: CBD rich low THC (less than 0.3%) whole-plant cannabis extracts can be a great support. They help in all sorts of ways, and I have seen many dogs show a big improvement in quality of life with this alone. Be sure to get an organically grown one. I recommend Indivita in Australia – but if you want advice on dose rates, you’ll need to have a consult with me. THC containing extracts have a part to play in palliative care with advanced cancer, BUT you need to be VERY careful with dose rates.
- Herbal extracts: I have a special spagyric herbal extract blend which is one of the cornerstones of my holistic cancer treatment protocol. Spagyrics are extracted in harmony with the rhythms of the astrological unfolding, which means that they are effective at much lower doses. Some of the herbs in this preparation are heavy-duty, and this allows your pet to cope better with it. It contains, Boodroot, Graviola, Chaparrel, Ginger and Black Pepper. Please DON’T use any of these herbs without veterinary supervision!
- Mushrooms: there are a whole range of mushrooms that can be amazing in helping animals with cancer. I love this blend from teelixer.
- Supplements: there are many whole food supplements that can help with general support- for example, adding 6 blueberries to every meal brings in powerful anti-oxidant support. There are a lot more, but I need to know your animal’s situation in detail before I can give good advice.
That’s my approach in a nutshell. I hope it helps. And I hope you never need it!