Cancer is a diagnosis no pet owner wants to hear from her veterinarian, yet cancer is unfortunately diagnosed with increasing frequency in our dogs and cats. When the diagnosis is confirmed, it can be confusing to decide which therapy is best. And treatment does not come cheaply: the typical cancer treatment can easily run $5000-10,000 or more, depending upon the type of cancer and treatment chosen.
Julie and Jim Brooks faced this diagnosis several years ago when their beloved dog Kelsey was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. According to Julie, upon hearing the diagnosis they were “devastated, confused and felt like Kelsey had been handed a death sentence.” The veterinarian who diagnosed Kelsey’s condition offered Julie and Jim only 1 treatment option for Kelsey, who was diagnosed at a local emergency clinic after not feeling well for a few days (after 2 other doctors misdiagnosed Kelsey’s cancer as back pain or a stomach blockage): emergency surgery with little chance of making it through the surgery.
Despite the poor prognosis, Julie and Jim consented to the emergency surgery as they wanted to give Kelsey a chance. Fortunately, and against the odds, Kelsey did survive the surgery where the diagnosis of intestinal cancer was confirmed.
Following surgery came more decisions. Because Kelsey had such a love of life and brought Jim and Julie so much joy, they felt they owed it to her to give her the best chance even if it wasn’t a very good possibility that she would live much longer with her cancer. As Jim explains, “We weren’t ready to give up so easily. Putting extra money on the credit card was worth it to try to save her life. With only a 10% chance of surviving surgery, we really didn’t think she would make it, but we sure are glad we gave her a fighting chance since she surprised us and pulled through!”
As they expected, following surgery their veterinarian referred them to a local cancer specialist who recommended the standard chemotherapy regimen for pets with Kelsey’s kind of cancer. However, Julie and Jim weren’t in any rush to jump right into chemotherapy unless absolutely necessary. Due to their own natural, healthy lifestyle, they made the decision to use a holistic approach to cancer treatment for Kelsey.
“There were too many horror stories online about chemotherapy and the oncologist didn’t really convince us that it was the best route. We wanted Kelsey to enjoy the rest of her life, whatever time she had left. We didn’t want to put her through the bad side effects of chemotherapy, especially with no guarantees that chemotherapy would extend her life any more than holistic treatments, which we preferred to use. When we asked the oncologist about Kelsey’s prognosis, he told us that she had a 6 month survival rate without chemotherapy and possibly 12-18 months with aggressive chemotherapy, but that nothing could be guaranteed.”
In order to help Kelsey, they turned to Dr. Shawn Messonnier in Plano, Texas, for his expertise in treating cancer patients like Kelsey with natural medicine.
Julie states that they found Dr. Messonnier after talking with friends and family members who knew of him.
“We did a lot of research online about chemotherapy and holistic veterinarians and his name kept popping up” says Julie. “He literally wrote the book about treating cancer in pets, and even the oncologist with whom we consulted recommended Dr. Messonnier if we wanted to pursue the natural route.”
Interestingly, Jim talked to his mom and dad about Kelsey and as it turns out they had brought their Scottish terrier to Dr. Messonnier for cancer treatment several years prior to Kelsey’s diagnosis, travelling all the way from Oklahoma. Their dog lived another year with holistic medicine despite her cancer being very advanced and considered “incurable” by her other doctors. Plus a colleague of Jim’s had heard that Dr. Messonnier was considered the best in the area.
According to Dr. Messsonier, “Pets like Kelsey can do really well thanks to dedicated owners like Julie and Jim. They are really good about giving Kelsey all of the therapies I prescribed, and Kelsey is easy to treat. She’s a fighter, and her immune system is responding as expected to the treatment. Most of my patients like Kelsey live much longer than expected if we can help their immune systems keep the cancer in check.”
To date, Kelsey has lived 2 years following her initial diagnosis. She has had 1 follow-up surgery for a few small tumors that developed 1 year after her initial surgery. To date, her cancer is in remission using ongoing treatment with herbs, homeopathics, nutritional supplements, and stem cell therapy using her own blood stem cells, a new treatment now being offered by Dr. Messonnier for pets with cancer and other chronic diseases.
As Julie states, “Our expectations so far have been exceeded already since we didn’t expect her to make it this long. But going forward we are hoping to at least keep any tumors from growing too fast so that we can keep her around and enjoying her life pain-free for at least 2-3 more years.”
Based upon his experiences using natural medicine to help pets like Kelsey, Dr. Messonnier would not be surprised if this occurs!
A recent article in Veterinary Practice News showed a disturbing trend.According to the article, approximately 60 percent of veterinarians continue to over-vaccinate their adult canine and feline patients by administering “core” vaccinations annually, even though it is well known that most vaccines can protect pets for many years.
What’s wrong with pets receiving vaccines every year? In addition to wasting money on a medical procedure that offers no protection for your pet, each and every vaccine is associated with potential risks as well as potential benefits. Possible risks include vaccine reactions, autoimmune diseases, worsening of preexisting diseases (which is why pets with chronic diseases should not be vaccinated,) and cancer (pets with cancer or suspected of having cancer should NEVER be vaccinated.) As with any medical procedure, it is logical to administer a vaccination ONLY if the pet truly needs it and if the potential benefits outweigh the risks. Giving regular vaccines means that the patient is exposed to all the risks of the procedure with absolutely no potential benefit.
In place of unnecessary annual vaccines, insist on a simple and inexpensive blood test called a vaccine titer. This titer measures antibodies in your pet’s blood; if enough antibodies are present (they typically are,) then vaccines are not needed that year. In effect, the titer test allows your pet to tell us if and when vaccines may be needed.
Many pet owners have asked me to offer my fatty tumor formula for sale on my website www.petcarenaturally.com
I’m happy to report it is now available! When you go to the website, click on the link on the left side of the page that says Dr. Shawn’s Naturals Store, then click on Immune Support/Cancer to see all my formulas.
My Fattty Tumor Formula is used to support the immune system of dogs with fatty tumors (lipomas.) Since this is not an FDA approved medicine, I can’t make any claims about its ability to shrink fatty tumors. What I can say is that I use it in practice to help pets with fatty tumors in order to avoid surgery or make surgical removal of the tumors easier. Individual responses vary: some tumors shrink, and some do not.
To increase the chance of achieving the desired results, combine Fatty Tumor Formula with CI Support and use for at least 90 days. If tumors have not decreased in size within 90 days of using both formulas, they are unlikely to do so.
As is true with all natural therapies, it is always best to advise your doctor when using any natural remedies.
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Pet owners really do have a lot of control when it comes to keeping their pets healthy. It’s never too late to start, and there are some simple and inexpensive things you can begin immediately. Here are 5 simple things you can do to keep your pets healthy for many years.
The basic part of any health care program begins with diet. Diet is something you can totally control, as you decide what you feed your pet. There are many decisions to be made, and sometimes it’s easy to be swayed by fancy ads or advice from well-meaning friends and family members. I prefer to go with the science and feed foods that are devoid of chemicals, by-products, and artificial ingredients. I also appreciate the concept of feeding the most natural diet possible, and for many pets this means a raw diet. The concept of the raw diet is that it mimics the diet our pet’s ancestors ate:wholesome ingredients in a fresh, minimally processed state to ensure living nutrients. Raw diets provide nutrition the way nature intended, and are generally formulated like the diets eaten by your pet’s ancestors, composed of mainly meat, organs, and raw ground bone, with a small amount of fruits and vegetables, and little to no grain. Additionally, raw diets are also about 60-70% moisture, serving as an excellent source of dietary water. If you don’t want to feed a raw diet, feeding a homemade cooked diet or one of the many great natural processed foods is also acceptable. And to find out which ingredients should be avoided in your pet’s diet (some pets may react to various food sources,) ask your doctor to perform a simple food hypersensitivity saliva test.
While vaccines can be beneficial, too many vaccines can do more harm than benefit. Over the last 10 years, several veterinary organizations, including the AVMA, American Animal Hospital Association, and American Association of Feline Practitioners have changed their recommendations for pet vaccines. In general, their recommendations are for fewer vaccines for all pets, with doctors and pet owners working together to determine the vaccines most likely to protect the pet based upon various factors, including the age of the pet and its lifestyle. And for those pet owners who want to be as natural as possible, I recommend a simple blood antibody test called a titer test to determine exactly which vaccines are most likely to benefit the pet. Doing this, I have found that none of my patients require vaccines any more often than every 5-10 years. And pets with any sort of chronic illness, especially cancer, are NEVER vaccinated as vaccines can make their illness worse or bring the pet with cancer out of remission.
3.Practice Preventive Care
Preventing problems is easier and less expensive than treating disease. The best way to prevent disease, in addition to feeding a great natural diet and minimizing the use of vaccines, is to visit the veterinarian BEFORE your pet becomes ill. In our practice, this means annually for pets under the age of 5 and twice annually for pets 5 years of age and older. A simple but thorough physical examination, and testing of the blood, urine, and feces, will often discover serious problems in their early stages. This is the best time to intervene and literally save the pet’s life.
4.Don’t Forget the Teeth
Dental disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats. It’s easily diagnosed and treated. Don’t ignore your pet’s teeth, as infection in the mouth can easily spread to other parts of the body, causing serious problems. Regular dental cleanings can be done safely under light anesthesia using a holistic, balanced approach, and will not only save the pet’s teeth but keep its entire body healthy. Every pet, especially older pets, can be safely anesthetized for this important procedure.
I believe that my healthiest patients are those that get the least amount of chemicals and medications. When medications are needed, they are used at the lowest dosage possible and only as long as needed. Natural therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and herbal medicine often work equally as well as conventional therapies without the risks of side effects or toxicity. Most patients can recover with natural therapies with minimal or even no use of conventional medications.
By following my simple suggestions, you can begin your pet on a program geared towards health and longevity. Feed your pet the best food possible in its natural state, practice preventive care, and only use vaccines and medications when absolutely necessary to help maintain health and prevent disease!