Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

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Diet for Dogs With Mast Cell Tumors

Friends,

Today’s post will likely be met with some skepticism from those immersed (and confined) to our Western medical approach.  So if this is your framework, please keep an open mind.  You will be pleased to know that the information here is taken from little known, but still Western, data banks.

I have recently been looking into some ways of decreasing some of the horrible effects of severe mast cell tumors in dogs.  Lots of talk these days about Palladia, but there is more you can do!

As many of you are well aware, these cancers are able to release, on an intermittent basis, large amounts of chemical signals that produce nasty effects on the body.  There are many different ones, and to avoid being utterly dull, here are just a few:  histamine, substance P, and heparin.

The one which we have traditionally focused on is histamine.  Histamine is the same stuff that our bodies, and those of our canine companions, release during an allergic reaction.

It does bad things like create swelling, redness, pain, blood pressure changes, vomiting, loss of appetite, acid stomach, and more.

Much of the sickness that dogs afflicted with mast cell tumors suffer from is caused by histamine excess.

Some focus has been placed on blocking the effects of histamine with various medications.  However, very little has been placed on cutting off the body’s supply of histamine.

This is an intriguing and quite novel approach to dealing with histamine excess, and to my knowledge has not been tried in dogs.   So here’s the info…give it a try, see if it helps the dog you love, and let our community know!

The basic story is you cut out foods that eventually end up increasing active histamine levels,  by hook or by crook.  Now, most of you know that carbohydrate restriction is important is helping with cancer generally.  I discuss details of the dog cancer diet at length in the e-book, The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

Here’s a new twist for those caring for a dog with a mast cell tumor diagnosis, especially the more aggressive ones (Grade 2 and 3).

Turns out there is some cutting edge new research going on in human medicine about ways to combat digestive upset, depression, anxiety, allergies, asthma, and more.  Many cases of these syndromes involve excessive histamine effects in the body.  There are very few diseases like mast cell tumors in people, but we humans do suffer from a close relative of mast cell tumors called systemic mastocytosis.

Anyway, those in the inner circle promote cutting off the wellspring of histamine in the body by simply not eating foods that promote histamine levels. Why not use a similar approach for dogs with mast cell tumors, another condition with histamine excess?

The biggies are those foods that are fermented as a part of processing.  Dogs usually don’t eat or drink a lot of those (drinks with alcohol, the more “moldy” of the cheeses like blue, sauerkraut, and vinegar).

But…. there are some out there who feed their dogs tofu.  Be careful!  Practically speaking, tofu could be viewed as a histamine brick.

Another big no-no, if one were using this approach, is fish!  Bacteria in the intestine of fish are quite busy making a lot of histamine, and levels rise after the fish passes away (but before the remains are gutted for food).

Dyes in food and the benzoates (BHT, BHA, sodium benzoate, benzoic acid) are also excluded from the diet.  Read those labels!

Note that the items on the restricted list not only contain histamine, but also are more prone to causing mast cells to release their illness-causing histamine reserves.  This only matters if there is a large mast cell burden (lots of tumor cells in the body) and we are wanting to lessen histamine release. In addition, this is all extrapolated from human information.  The inappropriate human foods should be excluded from the dog diet even if the list says they are “ok”.

I hope this helps-

Best,

Dr D

About the Author: Demian Dressler, DVM


Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM is known as the "dog cancer vet" and is author of Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog's Life Quality and Longevity. Visit his blog and sign up free to get the latest information about canine cancer. Go to http://www.DogCancerBlog.com.

  • http://www.louiesbathhouse.com christina

    should I stop giving my dogs brewers yeast tablets then???
    i have 2 dogs with surgically removed mast cell tumors…

  • Shirley

    Dear Dr. Dressler,
    In a previous newsletter you said that the use of Curcumin(95%)powder, in the amount of 1gr, mixed with lecthin could be given twice daily to help reduce or remove tumors that are present on a 60-65lbs dog. In your “Dog Cancer Survival Guide” on page 199 you suggest giving a 64lb dog three equal doses of 250 mg Curcumin powder(95%)mixed with the lecthin. I am wondering which dose would be the best to use and also if you have heard of using Coconut milk or cream instead of the lecthin as the base for the Curcumin mixture. It has been nearly a year since our Lucille was first diagnosed with Mast Cell, Grade 2, Intermediate Stage and by following your ‘Blog’ and reading your book she is doing well so far and while we have had to have another growth removed it was benige thank heavens and not the Mast Cell reocurring. So thank you always for your wonderful work that you are doing to help give us the knowledge to make the lives of our sweet companions better. Shirley and Lucille

  • Doug

    Please include a link so this page can be printed. I’d like to keep these in the binder I put your book.

  • Kammee

    Thank you or the great web site. I will obmit some of the vegs and fruits that cause a release of histamine in my dogs raw food as well as dhicken to.

  • Thresia

    If fish causes histamine, does that mean it is not good to be adding cod liver oil to the dog food? And to avoid dog food with fish or fish meal in it?

  • Mary K Chelton

    I was told by a vet who is, respectively, a DVM, a Chinese herbologist, and an alternative medicine specialist, to avoid carbohydrates in my dog’s diet, after he had a mast cell tumor removed from his ear. The mantra was “Cancer loves carbs.” She also suggested Pepcid to block histamines, while you suggest Tagament in your book. What confuses me is that the unrestricted list on the anti-histamine diet linked to your post includes carbs, so how do I resolve this inconsistency? My dog is a male, neutered Vizsla whose cancer was grade 2 and who does have the cKit genetic mutation for mast cell. I’ve had him since he was 9 weeks old. He is now 11.
    Thank you,
    Mary K. Chelton

    • Dr. Dressler

      Mary, the list is on a human medical site concerning histamine-generating foods. Yes, avoid carbs, as a generality. Diet is discussed at length, among other things, in the e-book.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Chris

    Hi Dr. Dressler,

    So with a low histamine producing diet in mind for dogs with mast cell cancer, I now wonder is the “conventional” combination of fish oil (as well as krill oil) and cottage cheese is now a “no-no,” as both seem to be on lists as histamine producing foods. Does this mean we should revert back to the age-old flaxseed oil?

  • Helen Morrill

    There are so many dog foods available today, it is difficult to know which one to feed your dog. What dog foods would you recommend? I try to be careful to avoid dog food with animal by-products and dyes (food color).

    Thanks fo ryour help.

    Helen Morrill
    St.Petersburg,FL

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Helen,
      I like making your dog’s food at home following a recipe to make sure you are giving everything you need. Without knowing if your dog has cancer or what type, recommendations are a little tough. Good brands are Evo, Blue, Healthy Kitchen, Solid Gold, and others. Change foods slowly by mixing over at least a week.
      Best,
      D

  • Candy Smith

    I am confused… I went to the Histamine restricted diet link, and found ‘chicken’ on the Allowed AND
    restricted lists. My dog has had 2 mast cell tumors removed and I don’t want to add to the problem. I give her 1/2 chicken breast- I buy it frozen- cooked and served right away with her kibble.

    Thank you,
    Candy

  • Cristina

    Just found your website while doing some research, great site! Anyways i took my 3 year old staffie to the vet yesterday for the 2nd lump I’ve found on her within the year. Earlier this year she had a mast cell tumor removed with clean margins on her left rib cage, now she has a lump on her right shoulder area. The vet took an aspirate of it and told me there were a few scattered mast cells in there along with some inflammatory cells. He told me about a new medication for dog mast cells called Palladia and referred me to a dog oncologist. I called there and found out just to talk to him would be much more money than my budget will allow and that especially considering the next step might be surgery again etc, not to mention how much this medication will cost and the side effects. I’m learning more about dog diet and cancer. Should I change her diet as my first step? Is there anything more you can tell me?

  • Lisbeth Gjetnes

    Dear Dr D.
    My 10 year old Standard Poodle neutered has been dx with mast cell tumour and is awaiting referral to VRCC Essex UK. I am interested to cut out carbohydrates from his diet. Can I feed him fresh meat daily?
    I take it no veg at all any more and can I continue giving him salmon oil on his daily meal? I have known that flax seed oil is very good and will get him some if you feel this will work for him. I am so grateful for any advice.

  • Bruce

    Recently our Scottish Terrier- Maggie, passed away aged nearly 15..
    9 mths previously she was CAT scanned following a biopsy which essentially confirmed that secondary cancer was sited in a liver node.
    At this point she was not a well unit…had trouble getting her head down to her food bowl, and had quite a bad breath.
    After consulting a surgeon we decided to not risk an operation but to rather attempt a palliative treatment regime which would support what good liver function remained.
    To that end, we had remarkable success and we shared another 9 reasonably happy months with her.
    While I can’t detail here all the “tricks” we tried..the essential strategy for helping your dog in this situation is to be prepared to alternatively move from protein rich food to carbs and back again, and note how your dogs responds. I our case, Maggie had largely rejected dried dog food herself so we moved onto small but frequent meals of low fat cooked meat/mince, mashed cooked egg, cooked mashed potatoe/carrots, linseed oil, a little white raw lamb fat, a little cooked rice, cottage cheese and a few other different “human” foods.
    The impact of this changed diet was nothing short of miraculous..her bad breath disappeared, the head wobbles were fixed and we only had one or two occasions where she didn’t hold her food down.
    Our experience with Maggie’s condition did illustrate that diet plays a substantial part in supporting a dog living with liver cancer

    • Dr. Dressler

      Bruce,
      I thank you for your input. Nothing like experience from the real world that can help others in similar situations. Thanks!
      Dr D

  • http://geoffreycamp@shaw.ca Geoff

    HI Dr. D.
    My 12.5 year old miniature pinscher has Grade 3 Mast cell tumours. She had 5 removed and now lots have come back. I am trying whatever I can to keep her happy. I cannot afford Chemo, nor radiation. I have JUST started her on the diet and she eats it well. I would love any info that I can do to ease the lumps appearing. She has been licking and chewing at them. She is also on Benedryl 12.5 mg 3x a day to ease the itch from histamine. I am fearful I won’t get to help enough before it is too late. She is loving walking still and eating is not an issue.
    Geoff

  • David

    Hello all
    I have no idea about blogs and I do not even know if I am doing this correctly. Maybe some one who has can help me out and post this in the correct area. I am a bit stressed at the moment.
    I have a 2 year old male Golden retriever.
    He had a small growth removed from his little toe on his hind leg. 2 months ago
    It was a Mast 2 tumor grade 6 with clear margins.
    I just discovered this morning he has a swollen leg and it is painful just thought it was to much running at the beach the night before.
    Off to the vet, they said it was a enlarged lymph node did a needle test and came back with tumor cells in it.
    I am devastated not sure what to tell my 5 year old who loves him so much.
    I am in a state of panic so if someone can please put me in the right direction I would be extremely grateful.
    I have bought the PDF book but I need to get it printed tomorrow.
    Please help
    David

  • Ellen

    Please help! I need direction.
    My precious 10 lb. chihuahua had a thyroid carcinoma removed in July of 2008. He also had radiation on remaining portion because it was through vessel. I was told then chemo would not work. I just found out that he has advanced lung tumors and that it would have worked by different vet.
    In all, he is still active, great appetite, however the gagging on and off is so upsetting and he has always had allergies and basically lived on benadryl and chlor trimeton.
    For some reason everytime I brought him to get checked he got a clean bill of health and sent home. I don’t understand how his lungs could have sounded clear, and never thought necessary to get x-ray due to his symptoms were most likely due to collapsing trachea.

    Is there anything I can do? IIs it too late? I have him on shark cartilage, kyolic and selenium now. He used to be on K9 Immunity which I thought really helped.

    Thank you for any advice or direction, I would be so extremely grateful. I am and will be lost without him. He is truly loved as a child.

  • Addie

    Hello,
    I have read over the materials in your free e-book sample, which I found to be very helpful. I have an unusual question, however, that I feel certain will not be addressed in the book itself, and am hoping to have it answered here by Dr. Dressler.

    I have an 8 year-old very active Boston Terrier/Pug mix who had a small mast cell tumor recently diagnosed. It’s just above his tail on his back and in two days, he’s going to have it removed surgically. I would like to begin cooking his food at home; however, he has had two previous intestinal surgeries due to ingestion of certain impassable objects and as a result, his intestines are far smaller than they used to be. I was told by my vet after his last surgery a year ago that I should never feed him “vegetable matter” or home-cooked grains because of the potential for them to get stuck in his gut. I’ve considered pulverizing oatmeal or brown rice before cooking it, but I’m not even sure this would be safe…and of course I’m nervous about taking such a risk considering that I can’t continue to pay for additional surgeries!

    Any ideas you have as to how I might adapt your diet to his situation would be enormously appreciated.

    Thanks so much.
    Best Regards,
    Addie

  • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

    Dear Addie,
    One of the things discussed in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide is pureeing the food. This would be a thought for your dog- make a smoothie out of the food to help it pass. Of course, your vet needs to be in on this decision as he or she knows the details of your loved dog.
    Best,
    Dr D

  • Denise

    Hi
    I’m finding the website incredibly helpful in regards to diet, but I’d really like some advice about diagnosis.
    I have an approximately 16 year old Irish Setter, I’ve had him for only about six years (he was a ‘rescue’ dog, and he was approx ten years when I was priveliged enough to adopt him.) He started to develop a ‘growth’ above his right eye about three years ago. I was originally told by the vet that it was cyst, and could be removed, but that I would have to be aware of the risks that he might lose the sight in that eye, might not survive the op, and indeed for them to do the op they would have to do a pre op check. All of which started to run into thousands. At the time the growth only bothered me, he seemed largely unaware of it, and it certainly wasn’t affecting his quality of life. Three years later, it is significantly bigger, and we’re now talking about a tumour. He is still a very happy and relatively lively dog, and I think doing well for a 16 yr old setter. However the tumour is now ulcerated, and I must be honest the smell from this tumour is absolutely vile. I’ve tried bathing it, but that seemed to make things worse.
    I called the vet today and was told that there was little they could do apart from surgery, as Antibiotics will work for only so long, and at my suggestion of Antihistamine treatment, that it would be purely hypothetical as they would need a pathologist report to diagnose a mast cell tumour. I’m assuming from their response that the only way to get a pathologist report is to do surgery.
    He’s at least sixteen, with a heart murmur, and I really don’t want to run the risk of losing him now,and paying several hundreds of pounds for the sake of an odour.

    He clearly finds the tumour uncomfortable at times, as I’ll sometimes see him scratching it, but for the most part, he’s happy and just wants his food, company and walks.

    I’m really gutted to be given options of :

    Have surgery and take the chance
    Don’t have surgery and deal with the smell
    Have him Euthanised

    Are Anti histamines terribly bad? Would it not be a good idea to prescribe a course of them to see if there was any improvement? I am a little bit staggered that I’ve been left with no realistic options.

    (I’m in the UK if you hadn’t already realised!!)

    Thanks

  • Gin

    Hi Doc Dressler,

    Help, I have a major problem with my dog. He has 2 mast cell tumors on his belly the size of hard balls. The one grew in a matter of weeks. Took him to the vet. The one started oozing & had 2 holes in it. It looked really red. The other just looked like a tumor. The vet gave him prednisolone, famodine (acid-reducer) and benedryl. He has been on the combo for almost 3 weeks. He was doing okay then he got into something he shouldn’t have eaten. It took 2 days of throwing up to get it all out of him and he seemed to be back on track.

    I left him for a few hours and when I came home, he was all bloody. He started eating the 2 nd tumor. I think that’s why the first one started oozing too. I cleaned it off, put a pad over it and wraps around his torso. What is going on with him? It’s freaking me out. He’s mostly down for the count, what with all the benedryl (9 caps daily), I have a victorian collar for him, which I will use on him when I’m not around, but I don’t know where this behavior came from, and it’s gotta be painful. Do you have any recommendations? I’m feeding him ground turkey & oatmeal with veggies in it. He was eating cottage cheese, but doesn’t want that either. I’ve been giving him fish oil caps 2-6 daily (don’t want him throwing up any more) and a little slightly cooked liver. I don’t know what else to do, but carry on…are the meds making him behave like this?
    Thanks for any help you can give me.

    Gin

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Gin,
      my feeling is that these tumors should be removed. Unfortunately, surgery is still one of the most effective ways we have of removing cancer cells, even if it is a bit primitive. I hope you can get these tumors excised, with appropriate follow up therapy. An oncologist consult would be a good idea too!
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Michelle

    My 9 yr old Maltese had an abdominal MCT removed last week. Most of the info I find is regarding skin MCT. Presley is already on a raw food diet that includes lots of cruciferous veggies, brown rice and raw chicken necks. He is now on prednisone. What other therapies should I explore?

  • Lynda

    Does this original topic mean to alter the Dressler Diet for Mast cell dogs? My Grade 3 Vinblastine pit mix is loving the diet and doing well, but I will change it if it’s hurting his chances. I’m confused—

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Lynda,
      This is a great question, and the short answer is no. However, if one has a dog with a lot of histamine-related problems, one could avoid the items in the post and see whether that cuts the histamine load.
      Best,
      D

  • Jane Hush

    Dr Dressler,

    What do you feed a dog with TCC/prostate/bladder cancer and chronic
    renal failure?
    The vets at the teaching hospital where Mell was diagnosed said to feed him
    only the canned prescription diets with epatikin. He is also supposed to take
    azodyl twice a day. Mirtazapine as an appetite stimulant.
    He hates this food and doesn’t want to eat it.
    He was acting better until they started this and it was due to his creat at 6.4
    and BUN at 134 and elevated phosphorus.
    Any advice would be very much appreciated.
    He is also getting lactated ringers sub Q once a day.
    Thanks,
    Jane Hush, Mell schnauzer 24lbs/14yrs/TCC prostate,bladder,right anal sac(removed)

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Jane,
      eating is better than not eating. First we have to meet caloric needs, and secondly we have the option to meet those needs with the best diet…but only after we have some eating going on.
      Perhaps you should download the cancer diet on the top of this blog? You can cut the protein down by half and replace it with potato or more oats, just for the time being, to minimize the elevation in kidney markers. You might add ginger and glutamine as discussed in the Guide too. I might also add famotidine or cimetidine and also try Cerenia. Don’t forget to warm to food to increase aroma.
      Please have all treatments supervised by your veterinarian.
      I hope this helps,
      D

  • Jen

    I read this with a lot of interest. Have there been any new studies on the connection between diet and mast cell cancer?

    I am asking because, in a strange twist of fate, both my 11-year-old Lab and I have mast cell disorders. I have a form of mastocytosis, which you mentioned above. Over the past nine years, my Lab has had 16 mast cell tumors removed (all Grade 2; all in new locations on his body, so no re-growth at the same place after the tumors were removed with wide margins). So, once or twice a year he has gone in to have malignant tumors surgically removed.

    The amazing thing is, after I switched him to a raw food diet about 12 months ago (based on my own experience and that of many other human mast cell patients– see below). I feed him a diet made by a dog food manufacturer that is raw meat with ground up vegetables and some vitamins. Since then, he has had NO mast cell tumors. He has had four small lumps develop, but they all came back as benign fatty tumors–something he has never had before. For the past year, his food is the only real external variable that has changed much in his life. This could just be a coincidence. Or not.

    I have learned a lot from my own first-hand experience and research on human mast cell disorders. All the symptoms you mentioned dogs get from histamine, I get, as well. And yes, reducing histamine reduces my symptoms….somewhat.

    The thing is, mast cells produce many chemicals (called “mediators”) like histamine. Each mediator is responsible for some action in the body. When a person’s (or, presumably, a dog’s) mast cells are especially sensitive and are triggered, the cells dump histamine–as well as many other mediators. Western medicine doctors–even specialists in mast cell disorders–admit that there is a lot about the effects of those mediators that they simply don’t understand yet. So, I’m not sure if giving up histamine-rich foods alone will do it.

    For us human mast cell patients, we have certain “triggers” that cause our mast cells to degranulate in an abnormal way and cause a wide variety of allergic symptoms all at once. So, for instance, things as varied as a particular food, chemicals (like perfume or air fresheners), stress or heat can cause a severe allergic reaction. So, anaphylaxis along with terrible hives and nausea at the same time. Fun! But, not all people have the same triggers. Yet, what is clear to people familiar with mast cell disorders is that there are a few patterns.

    Clearly, some of the most serious triggers are foods. Grains in particular. For me, gluten and corn are the worst! Soy is bad, too. Can these things in conventional dog food be causing certain dogs to react? And, instead of breaking out in a rash like humans do (because mast cells are dense in the skin), dogs’ misbehaving mast cells create tumors? When was the last time you saw a dog grazing on a stalk of corn or wheat? No wonder their immune systems would react – eating these grains in their conventional dog food that are not naturally a part of their diets doesn’t make much sense to me.

    For 10 years I fed my Lab conventional dog food. I didn’t think too much of it. I’m not one of those people who is prone to try all kinds of alternative therapies and I generally trust Western medicine. Yet, since my mast cell disorder came on two years ago I have learned a lot firsthand and through research. I really believe there is a connection between diet and canine mast cell cancer.

    I hope other veterinary researchers have or will look at this more closely and will draw from lessons learned on human mast cell disorders. (If you know of any, please post!)

    In the mean time, I will keep my Lab on the raw food diet and keep my fingers crossed!

    If you would like to read more about the experience of hundreds of humans with mast cell disorders, browse the forum on mastcelldisorders.wallack.us

    (and apologies for the extra long post)

  • Tracie

    Help!!!! I have a 10 year old Boston Terrier with mast cell tumors. She had surgery 2 years ago. Most of her tumors were grade 1 and 2 were low grade 2 . She is now starting to get more tumors. The oncologist suggest not to do surgery because more will pop up on her body. I feel like this is a death sentence. I have changed her diet. What else do i do? I feel pretty helpless. What else should I do for her? Also do you think she should get benadryl daily? Thanks, Tracie

  • Kathy from Maine

    The low-histimine diet says to avoid things like eggs, herring, cheese products, tomatoes, etc. In your response to one of the commenters who asked what brand of food to feed her dog, you replied “Good brands are Evo, Blue, Healthy Kitchen, Solid Gold, and others”

    I checked, and the ingredients for Evo Red Meat food are Beef, Lamb Meal, Potatoes, EGGS, Sunflower Oil, Buffalo, Lamb, Venison, HERRING Oil, Natural Flavors, Apples, Carrots, TOMATOES, Alfalfa Sprouts, and COTTAGE CHEESE.

    Is there perhaps a better food, or perhaps a different version of the Evo? I’ve been feeding my dog Evo Red Meat since we got her at around 6 months. She’s 11 now and has some mast cell tumors.

    Thanks in advance for taking the time to respond.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Kathy,
      we need to widen back on the interpretation and look a bit deeper at the topic. Avoiding histaminergic foods is a high priority for patients with high histamine levels (a lot of mast cell tumor cells secreting a ton of histamine). This would be appropriate to consider after the use of antacids and benadryl are not effective any longer. Since the information is taken from human literature, the avoidance of these items is NOT a blanket recommendation for dogs with mast cell tumors, just those having large histamine excess as an option to try. I hope this clarifies
      Dr D

  • Tracie Wichman

    My dog has mast cell and I was wanting to start taking Apocaps but one of the ingredients in the Apocaps is Soy Lecithin ! This seems to be somewhat of a concern for me. I have read that Soy Lecithin can increase cancer growth and also cause cancer. I guess I don’t understand why this could be put in your product. Please give me your thoughts on this. I have your book and have been following your diet. Lots of great information in your book. Thanks, Tracie

  • Tracie Wichman

    Also, I forgot to ask if you thought chicken was ok to feed a dog with mast cell. Thanks, Tracie

  • Nancy Graef

    Hi Dr. Dressler,

    I have two dogs with cancer, one (corgi) with mammery cancer and one (pointer) with Low end Grade Two Mast Cell. I bought your Cancer Survival Guide and implemented your cancer diet along with Apocaps and K9 Immunity capsules. The corgi is eating it right up and loving it, they are just 3 weeks out of their surgeries. The pointer however is very hard to get her to eat, we make all this wonderful food and she will sniff it and try to bury it with her nose or just walk away from it, it’s so sad. Sometimes she will eat it if I spoonfeed it to her and sometimes once she gets started she will eat it all up; but often times she simply won’t eat it. She’s only four years old (approximately she’s a rescue) She’s not vomiting at all she’s acting normal. She will eat what she’s not supposed to, i.e. feces, garbage, whatever she can score counter surfing. Why can’t I get her to eat this good food? Please help!

    Regards,
    Nancy

  • terri staudt

    thank you.

  • Becki Bradford

    Dear Dr. Dressler,

    My Rusty (6 yo Beagle) has just been diagnosed with a mast cell tumor on his left year thigh muscle, inside the muscle belly. Amputation is recommended, followed by chemo (starting with vinblastine), but because of finances, we’re needing to postpone the surgery and will start with chemo to, hopefully, shrink the tumor first to give us a better chance of wide margins, as the tumor is close to the pelvic are at this point. I’ve downloaded the cancer diet from your site, but notice in the above article that fish should be avoided. Since krill oil and fish oil are mentioned for the cancer diet, should those ingredients, as well as all fish ingredients, be avoided when putting a mast cell cancer diet together?

    Thanks!
    Becki Bradford

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Becki,
      I might lean towards krill as opposed to fish oil here, especially if the tumor is large. I would be talking with your vet about apocaps and maybe a low dose of oral neoplasene (with mirtazapine) as well…
      I hope this helps
      Dr D

  • Cassandra

    Dr. Dressler,

    If certain food contain histamines such as cranberries for example, Does the extract also contain histamines? If so are histamine in the extract at a higher concentration then the actual food?

    Thanks

  • Sallie

    I was a breeder of Goldens but have stopped due to MCT, among other cancers, were found in our line. Right now, there are three siblings 7.5 yrs of age that have been diagnoised with MCT GRADE 2 with mitotic index of 1 or lower. I have had the whole pack on food with fish and fish oil to help with their joints. I have not done chemo or radation to date and am considering it. We went through all of that with their grand mother years ago.
    My concern now is the diet. Please advise.

  • Cassandra

    Dear Dr. Dressler,

    If certain food contain histamines such as cranberries for example, Does the extract also contain histamines? If so are histamine in the extract at a higher concentration then the actual food?

    Thanks

  • maddy

    Hi – I’m waiting to buy Apocaps but also want further information on why soy lecithin has been included, as asked by Tracie Oct 5 2012. Hoping you have time to respond soon. Thank you for all your research and dedication to help us Guardians help our beloved dogs.

  • Tracie Wichman

    Please respond to the question about Soy Lecithin. This is not only a concern of mine but others as well. My initial questions was posted Oct 5 2012. There has been no response to this question.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Hi Tracie,
      unfortunately this is a question with a significant amount of misinformation being circulated. It started when a chiropractor, without a veterinary license, began to give medical advise concerning dog cancer, and unfortunately a lack of actual clinical experience in real veterinary practices and appropriate medical training may yield some unfortunate and incorrect conclusions. The short story is this: soy contains phytoestrogens. There is concern about the endocrine disrupting effect of some of these compounds (which is discussed in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, and on this blog at times), as there may be a link between these compounds and human breast cancer, among other things. An interesting tidbit however is that there are also soy containing compounds such as genistein and diadzen that have quite a lot of published cancer fighting effects.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12549765
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14628433
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18492603
      http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/7884554/reload=0;jsessionid=OtGtH3bmsbwfR9gYyzfp.4
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20404023
      etc etc. this list could go on for quite some time.
      At any rate, the concern here is very low, as the actual lecithin content is very low, but also that there are aspects of the molecule that aid the apoptogens potency in the body. There have been no known cases of Apocaps causing tumors, in spite of over 6000 dogs using this supportive strategy. I hope this answers your question… :) Best, Dr D

  • Chrissy

    Dr. Dressler,

    I know you are busy, however, we have a little pug girl who needs help. We adopted her a little over 2 years ago and she means everything to us – she has been through so much in her little life span that this news we are getting is so hard to hear. We adopted her knowing she had special needs – she was rescued out of a hoarding house, where she was used for breeding despite the severity of her orthopedic conditions. She has the most severe orthopedic conditions (bi-lateral hip displaysia, bi-lateral luxating patellas, spondylosis : all beyond grade 4, severe alignment issues from not developing and growing properly, as well as osteoarthritis. She just turned 4. She is the happiest little girl and compensates so well for all that is going on with her. When she first came here we took her immediately to the University Hospital to one of the best Orthopedic Specialists and he agreed surgery was not in her best interest – we were to medically manage her with medications and supplements. Time after time we were told by Vets not to waste our money, PT and other things would not help her remain mobile, keep her on the rimadyl and not to worry too much about supplements – it was frustrating. One vet even told us that this would be her demise if she didn’t get something terminal, like cancer. Well, we are facing cancer with her now. We accidentally stumbled onto a card of a veterinarian who does acupuncture, traditional forms of therapies, but also works with natural supplements as well. She comes to work with her monthly, got her off of the rimadyl, placed her on Herbsmith Chinese Joint supplements/herbals, had to keep her on daily tramadol (she does have some pain) – however, she has continued to grow and has come so far. She is walking faster, even running at times, keeping her footing on slicker forms of tile, up more and playing more. Her orthopedic specialist saw her a year later and could not believe is was her – he said whatever we were doing to continue it – she had a little movement in her hind legs again(which they thought would never happen) and the vet and orthopedic specialist knew each other so that made things a lot easier. We were also feeding her fish based foods, as well as salmon oil.

    Our little girl came to us with a really odd spot on her inner thigh. I asked everyone about this spot and I was told that it was a scar from the situation she grew up in. I went through 4 vets and her specialist and all told us the same thing. I feel terrible. Then my husband hears that and keeps telling me not to worry – everyone says it is a scar – she came from really bad situation, etc.

    Then, a few months ago two spots show up on her L and R hock – identical and in identical places. Again, it was thought she rubs her heels together a lot – but then these grew pretty fast, so aspirating them took place. First round we were told most likely benign, however, the lab would like to do another free of charge. The repeated one came back positive for mast cell and we were sent to specialist. The specialist then aspirated the other two – the L hock and the right inner thigh I had always questioned along the way – the results: R hock and R inner thigh are definitely mast cell tumors and the L hock was inconclusive, however, they highly suspect it is one.

    The protocol at that time was to begin her on Vinblastine to try and shrink them, so then they could surgically remove them. She was told to take pepcid (or an acid reducer), prednisone (which was a large dose starting off and she could not handle this – she is now down to 1/4 tab daily, but does so much better when that is every other day), 1/2 tab benadryl daily, her chemo, and her usual – tramadol, Herbsmith entire Joint line supplements/herbals, salmon oil.

    The location of the mast cells are really bad for her – on those hind leg areas right almost on her heels – amputation is not an option for her due to her severe orthopedic conditions. We began with Vinblastine and after one week it looked promising. We did 2 or 3 injections and then the specialist said that they were not shrinking as he liked, so we then went to Palladia. He gave us 2 weeks worth of this. She did alright with week one, however week two was extremely rough for her and another lump appeared on her face area while on the Palladia – Mon Oct 28 the new spot appeared. She also was not herself at all that second week – she was not getting out of her bed, she was not responding to much at all – she did not go outside to the bathroom for over 24 hrs and after that it was just a little here and there early in the AM and that was all, she had sudden onset of bad breath, she sounded awful in her breathing (and this is something we still struggle with – she sounds crackly/nasallyl a lot louder than normal and pants heavily). He told us to stop the Palladia Friday Nov 1 – with it being every other day her last dose was then Wed. By Fri. night she began getting up a little more, going outside, etc and by Sat/Sun she was herself again.

    We went back in on Mon. her new spot tested positive for another mast cell. He gave us another chemo medication (chlorambucil) to try for 5 days and then would like to put her through to surgery early than expected. There was an ultrasound done at the start of all of this and nothing had spread internally. He checks her lymphnodes when she is there every time. He told mw I was very quiet – but I was in shock that another one had come up and just upset, all I could say was blood work, she needs blood work. The blood work came back and they said all of that kidneys, liver, WBC, RBC, platelets, etc all look great – that just looking at blood work alone you would never know she had cancer because it all looks wonderful.

    She is restless at times, pants hard and a lot, crackly breathing – I told then they have to check her upper airway before any surgery – she is a pug and there are issues sometimes with airways.

    I am also upset – we fed her fish based foods for her joints and I now read how horrible that is for MCT’s. We need dietary advice or supplement advice – something to help her fight through this. She has so much going on and I think these MCT’s are not going to stay away from her if one popped up while she was on chemo treatments.

    We have other pugs – our other little girl we rescued just started having focal seizures. We think a lot of the “nervous” behaviors may be seizure activity, or neurological symptoms. We could use advice, help, assistance, support – anything. We want her to live a long life – she has come so far and is such a brave little girl. It just breaks our heart. She is just the sweetest. Thank you for your time and I am so sorry this is so long.

    Chrissy

  • Susan Kazara Harper

    Billy, I apologize for the delay. The link was indeed broken, and we had to replace it with a new, appropriate reference. I hope the edited information helps. All the best.

  • Maddy

    This was my post, I did my research and decided soy lecithin was OK in Apocaps, and have now replied to Tracie’s post above also if anyone’s interested. :)

  • brittandpuggle

    Dr. Dressler,
    My 8 year old Puggle was just diagnosed with a Mast cell tumor on her paw. Her toe was removed and biopsied and came back as a Stage 2 with lymph involvement. She went in for her second round of surgery to remove the affected lymph and tighten the margins of the toe. I am waiting on your book to arrive in the mail. In the meantime, while she recovers I want to switch up her diet. Reason being, she starts chemo in a few weeks. I don’t want to upset her stomach and confuse the doctors by switching her food when she starts chemo. She is currently eating “Prairie” dog food. We change the flavor occasionally but never get the salmon because it stinks so that’s good! I am noticing not only Prairie but many dog foods contain the no no’s on the list you have provided. Mainly the fruits and vegies. Prairie has almost all of the vegies and fruits described as histamine releasers in the no column. Honest kitchen has a lot of these ingredients as well. I am willing to cook for her and do whatever I can. However I am feeling overwhelmed! I need more direction. HELP!

    • Susan Kazara Harper

      Hello Britt (and Puggle),
      I know it’s overwhelming, but take a deep breath. You’ve caught it, and you’ve got a treatment plan. Smart to get started on nutrition now… well done. Until the book arrives, you can go to http://www.dogcancerblog.com, and underneath the blue arrow on the right is a place you can get an instant download of most of the dog cancer diet. To get mor especific info about histamine foods, there is a blog article at http://www.dogcancerblog.com/diet-for-dogs-with-mast-cell-tumors/#.UxSTAvTV_X0 (you can find it on the blog as “Diet for Dogs With Mast Cell Tumors” which lists more specifics. In the last paragraph of the blog post on histamine foods, there is another link to a chart of human foods, which pertains to dogs. I know this is a lot of linking, but I think it would be better for you to read the blog article and go to the chart. Although the blog says this, remember that even if a food (like a sugar) is on the human chart as being OK for a histamine situation, that food is not OK for a dog with cancer. You have homework to do, but I promise it will be worth it. For further help with commercial foods, check out http://www.dogcancershop.com and go to the “Quality Dog Foods” tab. There are some wonderful brands you can choose from… check out Halo… several options and you should be able to find an ingredient list in the description.
      I’ve loaded you with a lot, but I’ve had two dogs with cancer, and at this stage, you need a lot :-) But you need those Puggle cuddles as well, and the quality time to sit together and love each other and talk about getting through this together. Explain things to her as you go. Let us know if you need any other help along the way. All the best!

      • brittandpuggle

        Karen,
        I have decided to go with Honest Kitchen as I have had no luck finding dog foods that don’t contain the list of “no” foods. I have one more question. I bought NUPRO “lyfe spyce” supplements and one of the listed ingredients is fermented soy. I have read so much about soy being bad for cancer dogs. Is fermented soy ok?!

        • Susan Kazara Harper

          Hi Karen, I’d skip it. Soy is not easily digested by dogs, but further, anything fermented is not advised for dogs with MCT. Can you return it?

  • Susan Kazara Harper

    Apocaps has the perfect amount of tumeric plus other incredible ingredients, specially designed to help dogs in Puggle’s situation. And Aloha Medicinals provide an amazing mushroom-based supplement (Cordyceps). You can find both at http://www.dogcancershop.com. Do you have The Dog Cancer Survival Guide?

    • brittandpuggle

      Thanks for all your help Susan! I am going to check out the supplements suggested. I did purchase the book, it has been very helpful!

  • brittandpuggle

    Hello,

    I have found that honest kitchen “thrive” and “keen” have the lowest amount of histamine releasers. They aren’t grain free as they contain rolled oats and quinoa. They are also not as high in fat and protein as the others. Is this ok? Is there a way to suppliment if not? Also, are those particular grains ok? Thanks again for all the information!

    • Susan Kazara Harper

      Hello again, You’re doing great, investigating the various foods for your dog with MCT. Rolled oats are one of Dr. Dressler’s recommended grains and on the ‘ok’ list for MCT. Of course organic is better if possible. We’re still checking all the resources on quinoa and will let you know as soon as we have a good recommendation. All the best to you and Puggle!

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  • Maddy

    I posted on Eisen’s wall asking him to validate his erroneous claims about soy lecitihin. Every time I posted they removed it, so obviously they can’t substantiate what he said (apparently he’s dead now but unfortunately his misinformation is still believed). I also sent them emails they refused to respond to, but when I changed the subject to something else they’d respond. To me this is an obvious reflection of their disinterest in even investigating this. Shame on them. I can’t stand it when people in yahoo groups etc recommend this shonky chiropractors advice and diet. When I question them they say I’m for the ‘competitor’ cancer doctor – Dr Dressler. All I can say to them is at least he’s a VET as most don’t even know Eisen was a chiropractor.