Chemotherapy Side Effects: How to Help Your Pet Feel Better
In today's article, we are going to teach you how to ease chemotherapy side effects and help your pet feel better.
Many pets undergo chemotherapy each year.
However, many pet parents don't really understand how chemotherapy works or about chemotherapy side effects.
What is Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is a pharmaceutical treatment using powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in your pet's body.
Chemo is most often used to treat cancer, because cancer cells grow and multiply so fast.
Veterinarians choose from several different chemotherapy drugs, using the drugs best suited for your pet's particular condition.
Some vets use chemotherapy alone. Others use chemo in addition to other pharmaceuticals, herbs, and natural treatments. And, protocols vary depending on the type of cancer your pet has.
Although chemotherapy is an effective way to treat many types of cancer, chemotherapy treatment also has risks and side effects.
For example, chemotherapy is used to destroy cancer cells, but it may also destroy healthy cells.
Consequently, pets undergoing chemo often feel weak and have a compromised immune system.
Chemotherapy Side Effects
Sometimes chemotherapy is the only option for certain types of cancer.
The good news is, there are things you can do at home to help combat chemotherapy side effects.
Common side effects of chemotherapy drugs include:
- Appetite loss
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
Luckily, you can prevent or treat many chemo side effects. And, most of the side effects will go away after the treatment is over.
How to Help Your Pet Feel Better
There are many different things you can do at home to help your pet feel better after chemotherapy.
However, if you plan to use any of our suggestions, please discuss everything with your vet prior to starting.
Food, herbs, and supplements work on your pet's body through different physical channels than chemotherapy does.
This is great because you can use natural solutions to help combat side effects and also rebuild what chemotherapy has broken down in your pet's body.
But, you need to make sure the natural solutions you choose won't interact with the particular medications your vet is using for the chemotherapy treatment.
So, please discuss everything with your vet before starting!
Diet to Combat Chemotherapy Side Effects
A quick and easy way to help your pet feel better after chemo is feeding an energetically appropriate diet.
TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) experts agree most forms of chemotherapy affect the “Blood” component of the body.
Therefore, we recommend a Blood-building recipe as a chemo diet for pets.
According to TCVM theory, “Blood” in Eastern Medicine has a different meaning than blood in regular Western medicine.
Likewise, Eastern philosophy views “Blood” as a substance providing nourishment and moisture for the entire body.
For example, The “Blood” component keeps skin, hair, and tendons healthy, strong and flexible.
“Blood” also nourishes the mind, lubricates the joints, and ensures good, restful sleep.
The classic signs of "Blood" deficiency are:
- Cruciate rupture
- Depression, apathy, lack of spirit
- Dry skin and hair
- Pale, dry tongue
- Pulled ligaments
- Sallow or dull coloring
You can boost your pet’s "Blood" component by adding more blood building foods to his/her current diet.
To take it a step further, your pet's entire diet can be Blood-building for maximum benefits.
PET | TAO has some great blood building recipes:
As mentioned earlier, double-check with your veterinarian before supplementing with medicinal mushrooms.
It's especially important to make sure they won't cause an interaction if your pet is still undergoing chemotherapy. Medicinal mushrooms are very powerful!
Our founding veterinarians recommend PET | TAO Complement Immune medicinal mushroom supplement for all their patients suffering from cancer.
Complement Immune is a synergistic blend of four medicinal mushrooms: Reishi, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, and Maitake.
- Reishi mushrooms enhance immune function through their effect on white blood cells, which help fight infection and cancer.
- Shiitake mushrooms contain the antioxidant l-ergothioneine and the immune-boosting polysaccharide lentinan.
- Turkey tail mushrooms contain a compound called polysaccharide-K (PSK) that stimulates the immune system. PSK is so effective that it is an approved anticancer prescription drug in Japan.
- Maitake mushrooms enhance macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells, and cytotoxic T-cells.
When a dog has cancer and goes through chemotherapy, often he/she is achy or uncomfortable.
Most vets recommend NSAIDs to help ease the discomfort. Unfortunately, though, NSAIDs often cause unwanted side effects.
For this reason, Dr. Smith and Dr. Damron recommend PET | TAO Comfort.
Comfort is a blend of Eastern herbs and Western nutraceuticals to help your dog feel better and make him/her more comfortable.
Supplementing with probiotics and digestive enzymes has several benefits.
First, they help ease your pet's stomach upset naturally. Many dogs undergoing chemotherapy suffer stomach upset as well.
PET | TAO Harmonize GI naturally provides all the digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics your pet needs for optimum gut health.
Secondly, digestive enzymes and probiotics help your dog better digest and assimilate food.
The extra help is very important, as pets with chronic health conditions often also have trouble with nutrient absorption.
Liver Support & Detox
Unfortunately, chemotherapy causes extra stress on the liver. And often, older dogs are already prone to liver problems.
Therefore, you should should find a really good liver support supplement for maintenance and prevention of future liver problems.
Dr. Smith and Dr. Damron recommend Harmonize Liver.
Harmonize liver combines milk thistle with other synergistic liver support herbs and supplements to help support and detoxify the liver.
Vitamins & Minerals
Giving your dog the right multivitamin helps supply nutrients he many not be getting from his regular diet.
And, it's especially important to add in a good multivitamin and mineral supplement if you are home cooking.
By giving your dog a daily multivitamin, you can help promote overall health and vitality.
Dr. Smith and Dr. Damron recommend PET | TAO Daily Vitamins.
Need Extra Help for Your Special Needs Dog?
If you ever feel like you need extra help in managing dog's cancer naturally or with TCVM herbal blends we can help.
TCVM Pet Supply cofounders Dr. Marc Smith and Dr. Casey Damron offer TCVM telemedicine consultations.
If you get a TCVM telemedicine consultation ($125), you'll get personalized TCVM recommendations specific to your pet, including:
- TCVM Evaluation
- Food Therapy Recommendations
- TCVM Herb Recommendations & Veterinary Authorization
- Supplement Recommendations
- Alternative Medicine Recommendations
If you reside in the Middle Tennessee area or would like to commute, you may choose an in-clinic appointment instead.
You can learn more about each vet and contact the clinic you prefer directly:
We hope this information helps you, and wish you the best in helping your dog feel better.
If you have any other questions or if we can help you in any way, just let us know!
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