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Cancer Care

Helping your pet through a cancer diagnosis

Cancer is always a devastating diagnosis, but there are advantages to be gained from knowing the prognosis early on. This gives you the chance to work alongside professionals of your choice to formulate a recovery plan or ensure what remains of your pet’s life is as good and comfortable as possible.  

At A.P.Vet ltd. we do not carry out cancer diagnostics but can help guide you through this difficult time. Cases are by referral only as we need to understand your pet’s medical history to see how our holistic treatments can most effectively work alongside any conventional treatments your animal is receiving. We are happy to work alongside oncology specialists. The holistic approach to cancer care is very specific to the diagnosis and, even if you opt not to have a growth removed, treatment can make a real difference to your animal’s quality of life.  

To illustrate the importance of early diagnosis, we can take the example of the subcutaneous form of the most common malignant skin tumour, a mast cell tumour. This unfortunately can look very similar to a fatty growth but needs immediate action as both conventional and alternative medicine have promising approaches available. 

Herbs are certainly the mainstay of our approach to holistic cancer treatments. In herbalism it is as important to have a diagnosis as it is for other treatments, if not more so, because certain herbs work better for certain types of cancer. 

Mistletoe is commonly used as a herb for animal cancer care
Mistletoe is commonly used as a herb for animal cancer care

We commonly use three herbs in cancer cases: mistletoe, mushrooms and CBD oil. What they all have in common is that, firstly, they are suitable to be used alongside most conventional treatments for a wide range of different types of cancer and, secondly, they have some evidence base behind them. There will be the odd diagnosis/case where we use none of these three but, in most cancer cases, we prescribe one, two or even all three of them. 

Surgical removal is the gold standard for many cancers, but it is not always possible. We emphasise to our patients that it is very important to consider every aspect carefully before setting off on any one course of action. Importantly, what might be the short-term gains versus long term difficulties? For instance, we often see dogs for herbal consults after they’ve undergone leg amputations and chemotherapy. Removal of a painful bone tumour through amputation offers a short-term gain but, in these cases, we usually offer acupuncture and strongly recommend physiotherapy, especially important in dogs weighing over 20kg. 

We fully understand that many owners are financially unable to commit to this level of treatment and careful thought needs to be given to quality of life and how your pet can best be supported through this period. There will be cases where palliative radiation would be the better option for dogs, but each case needs to be looked at individually for the best outcome. 

For some owners, the path to their animal’s recovery may be quick and relatively easy but, either way, at A.P.Vet we are committed to helping you through this decision process as, understandably, it is not always a straightforward one. 

For more detail, have a read of Iris’ article: