Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fighting Canine Cancer - the Diet

I feed our dogs twice a day.  Jake needs a lot more protein now.  The tumor uses protein, so his body doesn't get what it needs without extra.  I shoot for 1/2 to 3/4 of his meal being a protein source, with the rest being vegetable and fats.  Extremely limited carbs.  I also believe the supplements are important.

My favorite protein sources for most meals:

Eggs  - I have hens, so almost organic eggs are in abundance

Chicken - plop leg quarters into a pressure cooker, add water and a couple glugs of apple cider vinegar, pressure for 45-50 minutes.  After it cools, you can mush the ends of the bones, they are that soft.  Called bone broth, lots of nutrients.  The dogs can eat everything in the pot. You can also save chicken bones in the freezer.  When you have enough, do a pressure cooker's worth of bones, water and apple cider vinegar.  Pressure for about an hour if you're starting with frozen chicken bones.  Add lentils or TVP to the broth afterwards for more protein.  OR cook chicken quarters in a stock pot, save some meat and jars of chicken stock for yourself, then put everything left over in the pressure cooker.  I love saving chicken or turkey stock in the freezer.  I'll let it thaw, then cook lentils or TVP in it for the dogs.

Lentils - easy to cook in about 15 - 20 minutes.  Add it to about anything.

TVP - textured vegetable protein - easy to add when I need more protein.  You can read about vegetarian dogs, it's kind of interesting.

Once every couple of weeks:
Canned Salmon
Chicken Livers
Venison, when we have it
Hamburger (when you add some TVP, it's not too pricey!)

I used to feed some raw meals (chicken wings, etc), but Maisy's been having some issues afterwards, so it's mostly cooked now.  I still give them a few raw, meaty thigh bones to gnaw on sometimes, but I cut the meat of the sides of the thigh.

When you feed them regular food, it's pretty easy.  I just make enough for them when I'm making supper. The dogs and I like ham and beans, split pea soup, stuff like that.  They aren't big on black beans.  There are a lot of beans that they haven't had yet as lentils are so quick and easy to make.  I also haven't tried tofu, but I slipped both dogs a little cube of fried tofu once and they snarfed it down.  Not all meals will work, of course.

My favorite vegetable sources
Green beans
Lambsquarter - it's an edible weed that tastes like mild spinach, but better
Dandelion - another edible weed.  LOTS of good stuff in these weeds.

Fats: a couple tablespoons at each meal
Coconut oil - yes
Bacon grease
Flax seed oil - I bought for myself, it tastes terrible, but the dogs like it.
The fat from chicken stock or their chicken dog food - as it cools, the fat rises to the top (you knew that already, right?).
Tahini - if you just happen to have some in the frig

Supplements and Vitamins and other stuff - Important!

A couple big spoonfuls of yogurt.  I use a homemade, countertop yogurt called viili (starter purchased from http://www.culturesforhealth.com/ ).  Add cold milk to the starter, leave it out on the countertop until the next morning and refrigerate.  After your initial $ outlay, it's just the cost of your milk for some good-for-your-gut probiotics.  OR
A couple big spoonfuls of cottage cheese.  I've been putting the flax oil on top of the dairy products with no problems.  Some dogs don't do well with dairy, but mine love it.

Vit D - 1000 IU per day
Salmon oil - at least 6 every day, pretty much almost every time he comes in from peeing, which is often.  Helps to shrink the tumor.  DO NOT add Vit E like some say.  Latest research shows that tumors grow much slower or shrink without it.  In the latest studies, tumors grew faster when Vit E was given.

Our noggins have a good way to keep bad stuff out of our brains, but it also makes it harder to get good stuff in.  These break the blood/brain barrier:
Acetyl-L Carnitine - This is for 'cellular energy'.  It helps transport fat to cells and 'supports brain function' .  500 mg per day.
CoQ10 - Also helps cellular growth.  100mg per day.
MSM - A joint suphur, helps with inflammation and pain better than glucosomine.  1000 mg per day.

And the list continues:
L-Carnitine - also helps with cellular energy.  500 mg
Vit C - did you know that dogs make their own Vit C?  But when they're sick, they could use some help.  500 mg of Vit C makes a big difference, even that same day!

Glutamine helps muscle growth for the wasting and I may add that.  Since it's in chicken, eggs and dairy, I didn't think it was necessary.  I'm still scratching my head on that as they get so much of those foods, but the muscle wasting seems to continue.

Since I don't give the dogs commercial dog vitamins, I make a supplement.  Check out all the vitamins and minerals on these products!  Here's the recipe as it was given to me:
2 cups nutritional yeast - Here's what I use: Azure Standard Nutritional Yeast

1 cup soy lecithin - again, what I use:  Azure Standard Soy Lecithin . Bob's Red Mill has one that I like, too.

1/2 cup kelp powder - I'll pass on tasting this one by itself: Azure Standard Kelp Powder

3 tablespoons of eggshell powder (I don't use this because of all the chicken bones, salmon, etc that the dogs get regularly.  I use this supplement for my ancient cat's food and just add some eggshell powder to her chow when I make it.)

Add a couple teaspoons of this mix to a meals at least once a day.  I just sprinkle it on their breakfast eggs.  It actually tastes pretty good, good for us, too.  Once in a while, I'll add a pinch of taurine to their food or add a Vit B 50.

AND of course, how in the world am I giving all these pills and stuff to the dog?
Pierce the end of the salmon oil capsules and after the first couple of tastes, they'll just eat 'em like they were candy.
The Vit D is a teeny capsule so I just drop it on their chow.

The rest?  I mix some raw hamburger with some rehydrated TVP, add an egg.  I also add a teaspoon of unflavored gelatin, but you probably don't have to.  I think it just makes it all firmer, again it's good for them.  The egg adds more protein and vitamins, helps hold everything together.  I make small batches, enough for a couple of days.  They get a meatball with a pill, no problem.

NO Essiac herbs for brain tumors - human or canine.  Tumors often enlarge before they shrink (according to the Essiac people, so they don't recommend using it).
NO Vitamin E (see above)

The Battle with Canine Cancer - a change in our lives

Our oldest boxer, Jake, has a brain tumor.  He's at least 10 years old.  We adopted him from a shelter when he was full grown.  He'd been abused and was skin and bones.  At the same time, we adopted a boxer puppy, Maisy.  She was 8 weeks old and only had one eye.  I'm a sucker for needy critters.

Two months ago, Jake had 8 grand mal seizures before we got him to our regular vet.  She gave him a 30 second exam, said he didn't have epilepsy and yelled at us for a couple minutes for not having current vaccinations.  She said they'd take some blood and walked out.  We won't go back to her.

The student vets at Kansas State Veterinary Health Center in Manhattan, Ks have been wonderful. Especially one - when she told us that Jake had the tumor, she said that now was not the time to be thinking of putting him down. He could have weeks or months, they just didn't know.  They gave him a thorough checkup, blood and urine analysis.  They would have done an MRI had we wanted, but it was $2000 and the treatment would be the same no matter what.  In the end, they prescribed Phenobarb and cautioned us about liver damage with long term usage.

On a side note, no one mentioned all the bizarre behavior dogs have after seizures like that.  No one mentioned how long it would take for his post seizure behavior to leave.  It's been two months, so I think part of his odd behavior is permanent.  I read that there is some brain damage associated with a series of hard seizures like his.  Add to it that his tumor is most likely in the front of his brain, on his right side, which is in the area of his behavior and thought processing... and affects the left side of his body.  The left side of his body is still somewhat shaky, he stumbles, has some difficulty with stairs.  Unfortunately K-State vets found that he also has an ACL injury on his right knee.  Jake also has muscle wasting in his hip and left rear leg.

So, in trying to extend his life, perhaps keep the tumor from growing (even shrink it??), I have spent hours researching.  Maybe this will help Jake, maybe it won't, but at least I'm doing whatever I can. 

Sorry, I can't post WHERE I got this info as I just took written notes and did not take the time to jot down or save sources.  It's good though, you need to do your own research and decide which course is better for your dog.  You may not feel comfortable with everything that I'm doing.

Since I'm frugal by necessity, I tend to think out of the box.  I also have made pet chow for some time, and there will be things that I have available that others won't.  I buy some things from Azure Standard (they have a drop delivery system or ship UPS) and other things from Amazon.

If you found your way to this page, you probably are dealing with the same issues.  I truly wish you and your dog good luck and good health!

Go to the diet page here

PS - I'll add links to the other pages as I get them typed out.