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

Clinical Trial Enrollment Available

Updated: May 15th, 2024

A distressing part of dealing with dog cancer is data on the current standard of care in veterinary medicine for our dogs with this disease.

Conventional veterinary care includes chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, with a little emphasis on diet.  The problem we are facing is that most people are a bit surprised at what we gain using these tools.

The data varies depending on the individual cancer type and the stage (how far along the cancer is), among other things.  If we were to make a very rough estimate on what we are looking at overall, one could guess at somewhere in the area of six months.  Some more, and some less.

The Dog Cancer Survival Guide was written to arm guardians of dogs with cancer with information to help increase longevity and life quality beyond what is achieved in conventional veterinary care.

These extra steps include the use of diet, supplements, herbs, activation of cancer-fighting brain chemistry, touch therapies and more. There is quite a lot out there that a guardian can use to help a dog with cancer in addition to chemo, radiation, and surgery.

One of the strategies discussed in the Guide is artemisinin.  This substance is extracted from an herb in the wormwood family.  Artemisinin is an apoptogen, which is a substance that activates “suicide genes” in cancer cells, among other things.

Suicide genes sound rather nasty and violent, but in this case, they are good things.  When a cell is damaged, deranged, infected or aged, it is supposed to dismantle itself (commit suicide) in an effort to help the body.

This process is genetically controlled in the cancer cell.  And the good news is that apoptogens, substances that turn on apoptosis genes, are found in plants and natural sources.

Apocaps is a combination apoptogen supplement that was designed for patients under my care.  Using this apoptosis strategy, a large number of dogs have benefited from apoptogen supplementation.

One of the barriers that we face is getting research institutions the funding and interest needed to assess the best use of all of these new treatments for canine cancer.  Thankfully, the minds of parties in these institutions has started to open.

For example, I was speaking with Dr.Susan Lana, who is an oncologist at Colorado State a while back.  Her group is looking at the effects of silymarin, one of the substances included in Apocaps. And now we have another university, Washington State, starting clinical trials with artemisinin.

This clinical trial has opened enrollment for dogs with multicentric B-cell lymphoma.  Lymphoma is the same as lymphosarcoma, a cancer of the white blood cells.  The type (B-cell or T-cell) can be determined with a biopsy.

The dogs in the trial will receive the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin, which is effective against lymphoma in causing the signs of the disease to go away and extend the lifespan of these dogs.  One group of dogs will receive this conventional approach, and the other group of dogs will receive this treatment along with artemisinin.

Even if your dog does not receive the artemisinin he or she will still receive high-quality oncologist care.  And the price is right, with the guardian’s costs limited to a $300 cap.

To get more information and enroll your dog, click here.


Dr D

Leave a Comment

  1. Pam Moench on February 15, 2019 at 2:34 am

    Wondering if Apocaps ok to give a dog with diabetes and lymphoma taking Vetsulin. Do Apocaps affect blood sugar? Can they be used with CBD Oil?

  2. robert smith on October 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Good to see someone looking at artemisinin !!

  3. robert smith on October 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Saw the recent news on Metformin and how it prevented breast cancer in diabetic women who were taking this drug to lower their blood glucose. Turns out it gave them considerable prevention from breast cancer, probably by lowering sugar and the studies claim it also acts on mTOR like rapamycin and ribavirin. Since lowering glucose limits the energy available to cancer for high energy producing glycolysis, it reminded me of Dr. Mikelakis’s work at U of Alberta on sodium dichloroacetate (DCA) ,oral, in water, he found that it stopped glycolysis in cancer cells, shrunk human tumors in mice, and actually returned cancer cells to normal mitochondrial energy production. A careful trial using both Metformin and DCA might be significant. Stackpole did considerable studies, with dosing, etc., with DCA in dogs when it was a drug candidate for use in newborn babies with congenital lactic acidosis.
    Since cancer cells run on sugar, this two pronged attack might work out, great care would be needed. Coincidentally, Metformin can cause lactic acidosis in diabetics, and DCA was studied to treat lactic acidosis.

  4. TRACEY ANN ARMES on October 15, 2010 at 10:13 am


    Arnold my 7 1/2 yr old Shar-pei is undergoing treatment for mast cell tumours grade 3 in his hock for the last 4 weeks, all his major organs at present are clear but unfortunately he has a large number of these cells in his lymph gland. He has been given a cancer drug called Masivet we are still in the early stages with him at present but the oncologist is happy with his progress at present combined with some steroid treatment. I have all booked appt for animal healer would you please advise any further that I could do for him.

    Thanks Tracey & Woof woof Arnold

    • DemianDressler on October 16, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      Dear Tracy-
      This is a huge question. For example: diet (download the pdf at the top of this blog), Apocaps, immune support (beta glucan- in this blog) , other supplements(krill oil, modified citrus pectin, low dose doxycyline), touch therapies, anti-cancer brain chemistry promotion (lowering cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine with exercise, providing manageable challenges, social interactions), boosting melatonin levels, and more. You should take a little time, get the Guide and read it. It is easy reading and will help you tremendously. Work with your vet for any steps in treating your Shar Pei.
      Dr D

  5. Eric Boles on October 15, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Dr. Dressler,

    I bought some of the Apocaps but after I received them they are for pets over 5 pounds. My Gizmo is a Maltese and he weights 4 1/2 to 5 pounds. His normal weight is about 4 pounds but we have relaxed on his snacks so he put on a a little weight.

    My question is can I open the capsules and sprinkle half on his food and give it to him that way or would this be dangerous? I could use half the powder in the morning and the other half in the evening.

    Thank you
    Eric Boles

    • DemianDressler on October 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm

      Dear Eric-
      that sounds good! It was just a dosing issue, that’s all.

  6. Helen Sanderson on October 15, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I have a dog, Vince, that has Thyroid cancer. It was removed 3 years ago, received chemo, was in remission for a year. Went out of remission, another round of chemo, and at the 3 mo. checkup, the spot on his lungs had gotten bigger and a new spot started. Back on a different chemo , has had 2 sessions with 4 more to go.
    I was hoping you can give me some advice. He gets veggies in his food, is on Evo with some raw.
    Thaks very much

    Helen Sanderson

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