Mushrooms: An Unconventional Dog Cancer Treatment Option?
An unconventional fungi may help prolong the lives of dogs affected by hemangiosarcoma.Published September 26, 2012
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Just like humans, pets are also at risk of being affected with a wide variety of cancers including bone cancer, skin cancer, cancer of the lymphatic system, mammary cancer, and ovarian cancer (along with others).
One of the most mysterious and formidable forms of cancer encountered by veterinarians is hemangiosarcoma. According to an article recently published on the National Canine Cancer Association website, this incurable tumor of the cells lining the blood vessels occurs more commonly in dogs and accounts for five to seven percent of the types of canine cancer seen by veterinary practices. While this condition may occur in dogs of any age, it is more commonly found in middle aged or older dogs. It also more frequently affects breeds including the Portuguese Water Dog, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Skye Terrier and Boxer.
According to the results of a survey published by the Golden Retriever Club of America, the risk of the breed being affected by hemangiosarcoma is one in five, pointing out its significance.
While the cause of this dog cancer is still not fully understood, scientists believe that factors contributing to its onset are both hereditary and environmental.
Unfortunately, there are no effective tests available at the present time to make an early diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma. Additionally, few advances in its treatment have been made over the past 20-30 years. Since the disease cannot be diagnosed in its early stages, treatment options are limited. Treatments presently include surgery and chemotherapy with disappointing and frustrating results. The median life expectancy of dogs treated with surgery alone is 90 days and just six months when chemotherapy is coupled with it.
Fortunately, there is heartening news on the horizon. A recent study made by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine discovered that the lives of dogs with hemangiosarcoma may be significantly extended by a compound derived from a mushroom called Coriolus Versicolor, otherwise known as the Yunzhi or turkey tailed mushroom. While they are not found in supermarkets, the promising compound contained in these healing fungi have properties thought to boost the immune system and have been used in traditional Chinese medicine with good results for ages.
Commenting on their research findings, Dorothy Cimino Brown, the chair of the Department of Clinical Studies and Director of the Veterinary Clinical Investigation Center said, "We were shocked. Prior to this, the longest reported median survival time of dogs with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen that underwent no further treatment was 86 days. We had dogs that lived beyond a year with nothing other than this mushroom as treatment.” The researchers also found that no adverse reactions occurred. More about this encouraging news can be read at the UPenn website.
It’s fascinating to learn that the treatment techniques used by alternative and holistic veterinary practitioners, often pooh-poohed as “woo woo” by many traditional veterinarians, is at long last becoming incorporated into the art of mainstream veterinary medicine. What do you think? Share your views in a comment.