Unfortunately, there are a lot of things I could write about when it comes to cancer in our pets so I had a hard time deciding, but I thought I'd start with sharing an important topic: things we do to try to keep Rita from getting cancer.
Note that I'm not a vet or a doctor or an oncologist. These are things we do based on research done over the years or habits we've gotten in to. Who knows if they'll work. Here's hopin'. I've divided the list of our 8 ways we try to prevent cancer into 7 things you probably do too, and 1 that I'm guessing you don't!
Seven things we do to Give Cancer the Paw, that you probably do too:
|Waiting her her I and Love and You to rehydrate
2. Drink good water: when my friend's dad passed away from cancer, his oncologist told my friend to pay careful attention to the water she and her family drank. Ever since then, we've been drinking filtered water, and so does our dog.
|"Does this angle make my butt look big?"
4. Get good sleep: We don't take melatonin supplements (and neither does Rita), but we do try to get a decent amount of sleep in a nice, dark room. The hormone melatonin is thought to be an important part of the body's natural cancer-fighting system.*
|"Let's hit the hay! I need my melatonin."
|Bailey, snuggling on our cancer-coated couch
I admit we do still use a topical flea killer on Rita, but I only give it to her every three months. Fleas are BAD here in So Cal, since it never freezes, and I'm very allergic to the bites. But I do try to limit Rita's exposure by only giving the treatment every 3 months. (Our old vet told us that the flea treatment works for 3 months, but the companies tell you to use it every month because the tick treatment only lasts 1 month. Since ticks aren't bad here - as long as you don't go off-trail while hiking - we don't worry much about the tick fighting.)
6. Supplements: Okay, I confess I've been bad about this part recently, but for a while we were giving Rita a bit of coconut oil with her food, as it has many health properties, which include possibly reducing the risk of cancer. (According to the article cited, you can give 1 Tablespoon/30lbs of dog, but I never give 44lb-Rita more than a tablespoon.) Anyway, writing this up has reminded me that we need to start giving it to her again. We'll start slowly and build up to the 1T.
7. Limit stress: Everyone knows that many studies link stress with cancer. Rita is a worrywart (like her Momma) and afraid of many things, but we're working on exposing her to things more so that she doesn't have so many fears. Fewer fears = less stress = (hopefully) less cancer risk.
And 1 thing we do that you probably don't:
Okay, so here's the one kinda unusual thing we do to hopefully keep cancer from taking hold - in ourselves and in Rita. We take artemisinin for a few days of each month. Ever heard of it?
When Abby had cancer, I did a lot of research on artemisinin - an herb (wormwood extract) that has been used for ages as a malaria-fighter (like, thousands of years in China), and is known to have a low toxicity level. I could write a lot about this. I wrote a blog post about how we used it to help fight Abby's cancer here, and there's more info here (this is a good cancer prevention article in general for pups) about taking it as a preventative. It has not been studied as a preventative, but Dr. Lai from the Univ. of Washington (one of the experts on its use in treating dogs with cancer) takes it, so we figured what the heck, we'll try it too. Who knows if it will work, but we're giving it a shot. Check back with me in a decade or two. I'm not necessarily saying you should do this too - but, if you are interested I would suggest doing some research, and I'm happy to answer any questions.
* From Dr. Dressler's "The Dog Cancer Survival Guide" (which I think is a nice overview book of cancer in dogs with lots of info about both traditional and holistic treatments).
Hope you've found this helpful and hope you'll join us in the hop!Remember, you can write about whatever pet-cancer-related topic you want: a tribute, info on treatments or research, a cancer walk you participated in, or a support post for a furry family member or fuzzy friend!