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

Homeopathy for Dog Cancer?

Updated: August 19th, 2019

Using homeopathy for dog cancer is a mixed bag in terms of the literature, but it may be useful for certain cancers.

What Exactly Is Homeopathy?

Homeopathy is a system of medicine based on the administration of very diluted amounts of substances that mimic the symptoms of the disease being treated.  The underlying idea is that “like cures like.” For example, a homeopathic dose of coffee cruda helps lower anxiety, even though coffee in full dose can cause anxiety. It’s counterintuitive, right? But there are many people who swear by it.

The substances used in homeopathy are diluted so much that there is very little “active” ingredient in the final preparations. Some homeopaths make their own dilutions, and give them to you in droppers. Sometimes you can take the sugar-pill versions found in health food stores, or those preserved in tinctures. In any case, a homeopath has been fully trained in the system, and should be consulted for your dog’s health if you are considering using homeopathic remedies.

Does It Work?

Western medicine usually assumes that a stronger dose of an active ingredient will have a larger effect on the body — but homeopathy says the exact opposite. So when a conventional veterinarian looks at these remedies they often debate their use, arguing there is not enough active ingredient to even do anything.

But it seems there is some evidence that there might be something here, after all.

Homeopathy for Brain Tumors

The most interesting use of homeopathy in cancer medicine is for brain cancer, by far.  In a real clinical study at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Treatment Center in Houston, a number of human brain cancer patients were treated with a homeopathic remedy called Ruta 6.  One type of brain cancer, gliomas, appeared very sensitive to the effects of the homeopathic remedy.

(Remember, humans and dogs are close when it comes to cancer. In fact, dogs are the preferred test subjects in cancer trials for human medicines.)

The Ruta 6 was combined with another agent ( Ca3(PO4)2 ) and used to treat these glioma patients.  Out of 7 patients treated, 6 of them had complete regression.  This is quite an achievement.

Brain cancer, in particular in veterinary medicine, is extremely difficult to treat.  Very, very few have access to the facilities needed to diagnose and treat brain tumors in the dog.

Ruta 6 is made from the common rue, otherwise known as the “herb of grace”.  This is a shrub that is used both in medicine and also as a cooking herb. However, please remember that using the plant itself is not the same as using the homeopathic remedy, and potent extracts can cause some potent effects including causing abortions. Read more here.

Remember, homeopathic remedies should only be administered to your dog by a licensed vet familiar with their use.

More Studies on Homeopathy

Some in vitro (literally, “in glass”, or in test tubes, as opposed to living bodies) studies showed that homeopathic remedies were able to cause cancer cells to commit suicide. Hey, apoptosis is a good thing!

In this study, homeopathy was found to slow the rate of growth of prostate cancer cells that were implanted in lab rats. There were no effects on cancer cells that were exposed to any of the five homeopathic remedies.  It seems that the remedies were able to alter the rats’ physiology enough to increase their bodies’ ability to fight the tumors a bit.

However, the evidence for using homeopathy across the board for cancer does not exist.  Take a look at these tidbits.

Another study, which was a systematic review of a lot of other studies, found no real evidence for the remedies helping cancer patients.  Yet another showed no benefit of Ruta 6 in extending the life of lab animals with solid tumors.

Should You Use Homeopathy for Dog Cancer?

What is the bottom line?  If your dog is suspected of having a brain tumor, contact a vet with knowledge of homeopathy and consider Ruta 6.  Also, if your dog has prostate cancer, you may be well served to get homeopathic intervention. Since options are usually limited in these cases and side effects pretty limited, homeopathy is one possibility that could (maybe) make a difference.

For other cancers, I wouldn’t hesitate to use homeopathy, as long as you are consulting a vet familiar with its use. As long as their reasoning for using remedies is sound, they can’t hurt and may help.

For more on dog cancer treatments that you may have not heard of before, see The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

Best to all,

Dr D

Discover the Full Spectrum Approach to Dog Cancer

Leave a Comment

  1. ZoAnne on December 14, 2018 at 10:31 am

    looking for something to help in lung cancer, with a tumor <5cm. dog eats well, loves to run and play just has the cough.

    • Dog Cancer Vet Team on December 17, 2018 at 8:29 am

      Hello ZoAnne,

      Thanks for writing. We’re not veterinarians here in customer support, so we can’t offer you medical advice. However we can provide you with information based of Dr. Dressler’s writing 🙂

      As Dr. D writes in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, there are many things that you can do to help your dog with cancer, such as conventional treatments (chemo, surgery, or radiation), diet, nutraceuticals, mind-body strategies and immune system boosters and anti-metastatics. Here’s a link to the Dog Cancer Diet PDF that readers of the blog can get for free : https://store.dogcancerblog.com/products/the-dog-cancer-diet

      Dr. Sue has a really informative article on lung tumors that you may find helpful. In this article she discusses diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. Here’s the link: https://www.dogcancerblog.com/articles/full-spectrum-cancer-care/conventional/primary-lung-tumors-part-2/

      It sounds like your dog’s life quality is high if he is still finding joy in many things, like eating and running. As Dr. D writes in this article, knowing where your dog falls on this joys of life scale can be very beneficial in determining a treatment plan, or decision.

      Your vet may also be able to make recommendations on what can be done to help your dog as they know your dog the best, and can provide recommendations that will work alongside your dog’s current treatment plan 🙂

      We hope this helps!

  2. Michele on October 16, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    I’ve noticed that those who have commented they have tried homeopathy are not sharing which remedy has helped or not helped their dogs. Would you please reveal the remedies in a follow up comment as a lead to the rest of us? All conditions are relevant but mast cell tumors and lymphoma are of special interest. Thank you in advance for helping to piece together the treatment mystery.

  3. lost faith on April 22, 2017 at 4:30 am

    I am a nurse and I believe that treating the whole of a being is needed in medicine. That being said I am not trained in homeopathy but seek treatment for myself and family, which pets are part of, from MD/DO/DVM that is educated in a broad knowledge base. Homeopathy is not just a what remedy works for one works for all. A well educated homeopathic Veterinarian gets to know and understand the very personality and symptoms before prescribing treatment. Homeopathy is very complex and just the symptoms or the disease itself doesn’t dictate the treatment.
    Our Boxer was diagnosed 8 years ago with mast cell cancer, the tumor was removed and said to be a success. It showed it’s ugly head later that year and we were told the leg of our dog needed to be amputated and possible chemo. No way would I do that to myself or my family.
    I found a Veterinarian who also practiced homeopathy. Today our Boxer is again showing signs of mast cell in and around her heart. Will her body be able to fight the mast cell this time, I don’t know since she is 11 years old. What I do know is she has lived a happy, full life and we are all at peace with whatever shall come of this.
    After being in the medical field all these years my advise is to keep an open mind. Mother Nature provides many options for us. I am thankful for western medicine too…but research and talk to practitioners of various modalities before making a decision on treatment.

  4. Susan Kazara Harper on December 11, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Hi Carolina,
    We cannot advise on a homeopathic course of treatment, it wouldn’t be appropriate or beneficial to your dog. You need to find a vet who either practices in veterinary homeopathy or can consult with one. You can go to http://www.ahvma.org/ to hopefully find one near your location. You can do a lot to support your dog in the meantime through the best nutrition (www.dogcancerdiet.com), and look at nutraceuticals such as Apocaps (www.apocaps.com) and the K-9 Immunity products. If you have Dr Dressler’s book, he refers to what he calls the heirarchy of recommended supportive treatment on which to focus. I truly wish you all the best. Lymphoma can be very treatable. Get yourself in a good place, take some breaths and plan on a course of action. Good luck!!!

  5. Carolina on December 6, 2014 at 3:44 am

    Hello, my dog (10years old) has lymphoma, he already had chemo. The nodes are very little, but he has the left leg swollen. The vet said he has problems with the nervous plexus and we have to find an alternative treatment urgently otherwise we’ll have to choice more chemo, which we don’t want anymore. Please, advise about a homeopathic remedy. Thanks beforehand.

  6. Susan Kazara Harper on September 8, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    It’s Susan here. I know how distressing it is to have such a diagnosis. You really need a veterinary oncologist, who specializes in cancer to 1) identify what type of cancer it is, and what grade it is, and 2) suggest a treatment plan. This is not to say that homeopathy can’t help… it may very well help a lot. However, you need to find a vet who is trained in veterinary homeopathy. Homeopathy can be very potent, IF you get it right. And it depends not only on physical symptoms but on the nature of the living being as well. You can go to http://www.holisticvetlist.com to find a qualified vet near you. Please consider using a full spectrum approach, that is to say, cancer is a wildfire, and often the best results are attained with a balanced approach to treatment… conventional medicines, surgery etc. alongside natural or holistic support. It’s good that your dog is presently happy and comfortable. Nutrition is vital, so the Dog Cancer Diet will help her stay strong, and take a look at Apocaps http://www.apocaps.com for a nutraceutical to support and help her through this. Good luck!

  7. amar8822 on September 4, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Dr Dressler, My dog is 11 years old, and she is diagnosed with Malignant tumor which lies near liver. Tumor is 14 cm long and may start pushing organs. It lies within upper abdomen. Her behavior is extremely normal. Can you please suggest me any remedy by which we can stop growth of cells.??? Is there any natural artificial medicine which can cure this thing?…. We are thinking of giving her homeopathy. If homeopathy is curable, which medicine in homeopath can at least stop growth?..Thank you

  8. nui loa on July 23, 2014 at 10:05 am

    my dog was diagnosed with breast cancer…..prognosis poor rapidly growing…..i want to try homeopathics and any other alternative ! she has been my beloved service dog and she deserves all the stops! can you please help?

    • Susan Kazara Harper on July 24, 2014 at 12:41 pm

      Hello Nui Loa,
      Very sorry to hear about your girl. It’s understandable to want to do everything possible, in a natural, complementary way. Equally, cancer is highly aggressive, and homeopathics, while very powerful, seem to serve better when used in conjunction with conventional or allopathic treatment. There is little evidence that homeopathics alone produce successful results against cancer. It is a wildfire; we need a strong counter-attack. The Dog Cancer Survival Guide and Dog Cancer Diet (www.dogcancerbookcom and http://www.dogcancerdiet.com) contain invaluable information about supporting your girl nutritionally and the book covers all the aspects of mammary cancer. If your vet is a conventional vet and you truly want to include complementary treatments for her, ask to be referred to a specialist to consult. The effective complementary options are best prescribed by a holistic veterinarian who can work in harmony with your vet. Please consider Apocaps in your treatment protocol. Good luck! We are hoping for the best for you both.

  9. Susan Kazara Harper on May 29, 2014 at 5:42 am

    Hi Kalyani,
    So sorry to hear about your dog’s diagnosis. If you don’t already, you must establish the best nutrition for your dog. Please go to http://www.dogcancerdiet.com. Apocaps could definitely be a good option to include in your treatment plan (always coordinated with your vet). They are available from amazon.co.uk, and viovet.com. Please read about them at http://www.apocaps.com for further information. I’m going to send you a separate msg with contact details about a vet who knows the scenario in India. Take a deep breath and hang in there. There is a lot you can do. We’re wishing you all the best,

  10. Kalyani Singh on May 27, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Dr Dressler, my 7 year old dog has been diagnosed with prostatic neoplasia, the treatment plan is not very hopeful so I am willing to try alternative therapy.Plz help!I am in India and there isn’t a lot in terms of holistic treatment for pets.

  11. Ravi on May 13, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Dear Dr Dressler,

    My dog has been diagnosed with stomach cancer which has spread to her throat. It’s has been deemed terminal by our vet who has recommended only steroid pain killers to help her manage. I know of no homeopathic vets in the United Kingdom despite countless hours of searching on the Internet and asking vets. Would you know of any you could point me towards and any treatments or specific remedies you would recommend?


  12. Jackie on July 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Dear Dr Dressler,

    My 9 year old boxer was diagnosed with an intra axial mass compatable with glioma or metastatic disease 2 days ago after an MRI scan. She had had 3 short seizures within 8 hours. She had a rare adrenal tumour removed in January and recovered well with no further treatment needed at that stage. She has been commenced on Keppra and prednisolone at present. Surgery and radiotherapy are not an option. I have an appointment with my vet, who is qualified in homeopathy, tomorrow. I was interested to read your opinion on Ruta 6. Is there any homeopathic treatment you could suggest which i could discuss with my vet. She has helped many dogs with various cancers but never a dog with a brain tumour.

    Kind regards


  13. Michelle on April 6, 2012 at 4:18 am

    Hi Dr.

    Was hoping you could recommend a homepathic treatment for my 7 year old minature schnauzer “max”. About 2 years ago he went from a normal, playful dog to one that now, 1) walks in circles, 2) drools from one side of his mouth (left side)and the tearing is more prominent on this side as well, 3) sits on the couch all day and night and leans against the left side of his head, If he goes to his food dish (which is rare, I bring the food to him) he pushes the dish with his nose, 4) he has started pushing pillows, etc with his nose as well when we come home and his tall is wagging, 5) his back foot seems unstable and spreads out when he is drinking from his water bowl. I had him at the vet when this started and they took blood and that seemed fine, but they wanted to procede with a nuerologist and MRI, all of which I cannot afford. He does not seem to be in pain, but Max is not the way he was and I am concerned for him and how he is feeling. Also, when I go to touch his right left leg, he pulls this away as if it is painful but there is and was not any injury there that I am aware of. Can you recommend treatment for him. I cannot afford the vet bills but I want to do all that I can to make him happy…. thank you for considering my inquiry.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on April 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      Dear Michelle,
      maybe this will help:
      you could try some of the Ruta 6 anyway with your vet’s supervision. I am not sure though if you are really talking about “homeopathy” as opposed to “alternative” or “Holistic” or “integrative” or “inexpensive”. I would be thinking diet and supplements and oral medication under your circumstances. The Guide would be worth your time and money I believe for more information on these topics.
      I hope this helps
      Dr D

  14. Diane on September 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Hi again,

    I had a look at the abstract and it appears that, although they used Ruta, they did not use the homeopathic version and in accordance with homeopathic rules.

    I’m surpised that, for a study, they used the tricalcium phosphate with it instead of separately first.

  15. Diane on September 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Just wondering why you suggest only allowing homeopathy to be used by a licensed vet.

    That’s the wonderful thing about the modality– if it isn’t the right remedy, it simply does nothing.

    I’ve used alternative practices on my animals and my human family for over 30 years and have found homeopathy to be among the best. It’s not hard to research the remedies, knowing yourself or your dog and the symptoms, and then to pay the 6-8 bucks for a remedy. It can’t hurt the patient if it’s the wrong remedy and might do amazing things if it’s the correct one– without the side effects of traditional medicine.

    So, just wondering…. Since the vast majority of veterinarians and human doctors scoff at homeopathy (in North America), why shouldn’t people who do not have access to the few who will consider it, let alone have any training in it, do the research and give it a try themselves?

    • DemianDressler on September 13, 2011 at 8:51 pm

      Dear Diane,
      I appreciate what you are saying. However, there is a 2-3% adverse reaction rate in homeopathic remedy treatment.
      Many read this blog and the Guide (thousands of dog lovers). If 1000 dogs are treated with homoepathy, this means 20-30 of them will experience an adverse reaction. In my opinion, someone with the expertise to deal with adverse effects should be at least monitoring these patients. My two cents only…

  16. Laureli on August 29, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    My dog was diagnosed with “malignant sarcoma” after a needle biopsy from a lump over the shoulder that appeared overnight. Treated her with natural supplements. 3.5 months later, the lump doubled in size and got hard, again overnight. Had lump surgically removed – surgeon said it was nicely encapsulated that the staff all thought it looked like a lipoma and not cancer. Thank you supplements and Dr. Dressler for your research. Here is the confusing part. The biopsy came back and it showed: Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor” (MPNST) -aka “Malignant schwannoma,” “Neurofibrosarcoma,” and “Neurosarcoma. Was the first biopsy wrong? Are there two types of cancer in her? Is this second type to be treated differently due to being in the nerve sheath? I can’t wrap my head around it. Lastly, does anyone know if there any specific homeopathic treatments for this type of cancer and where I would find them?

    Thank you x infinity!

    • DemianDressler on September 6, 2011 at 7:33 pm

      Dear Laureli,
      the diagnosis of malignant sarcoma is a more general description of the tumors you describe, all of which fit into that larger category. Hopefully that clears up the confusion. Are you giving the supplements, providing the dog cancer diet, and so on?
      Just checking…

  17. Beverly on July 9, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Hello, a very interesting article. The Neurologist we just went to for our eight year old Aussie had prescribed 20mg prednisone for ten days and 1 for the balance til we see him about 20 days after. After 2-1/2 days he was consuming bowls of water and hungry all the time and urinating excessively inside and out. We stopped the pills and I’ve left a message. The first thing he wanted to do was an MRI and we do not want our dog to go thru that. He’s pacing in circles and we think it was a stroke, but it could be a tumor. We just want to now make him comfortable and not worse with medicine or invasive treatments and he just seemed H…* bent on an MRI. and possibly brain surgery. If you have some comments or suggestions I’d sure appreciate it. Thank you.
    is obviously Neurological which I already figured out as did our Vet when he recommended us.

  18. Signs of Brain Cancer In Dogs on September 29, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    […] Other approaches I discuss with my clients in the Guide include diet, supplements like Apocaps, life quality enhancement, touch therapies, and considering homeopathy.  A closer look at homeopathy in brain tumors, in particular gliomas, can be found here. […]

  19. Michael on July 7, 2010 at 3:17 am

    In May of 2009 our Veternarian diagnosed our boxer with bone cancer in his right front leg. He got to where he could barely walk and was taking pain medication so that he could deal with the pain. The Veternarian said this disease would act very quickly and we would soon have to put him to sleep.
    I contacted a homeopathy doctor that treats my wife for Brain Cancer and he prescribed our dog with a medicine that seems to be working great. He stopped limping on his front leg within a month and acts almost like a new puppy jumpimg around playing. It has been over a year now and he is a nine year old boxer.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on July 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm

      Great work Michael!
      Do you remember the name of the remedy?
      DR D

  20. Dr. Dressler on January 9, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Dear Phillip,

    I am sorry you feel this way. You have indeed shared your viewpoint on previous comments, along with the link, and I have kept your post active for those interested.

    here is the still-active link in the blog if you would like to check it out for yourself:
    Scroll down to the comments section to see your comment about your resveratrol-containing product, Canine Resvantage.

    Unfortunately, I am trying to avoid advertising in the comment section of the blog, including your product Canine Resvantage.

    Indeed, the continued onslaught of advertisements for your product, masquerading as information dissemination, has been intercepted. Additionally, I find the evidence for resveratrol use in existing canine cancer patients to be rather flimsy at this time. Perhaps this will change as new data emerge. It is actually funny as I just blogged on it, and then found your comment, so please read the blog post.

    I would entertain all your comments there, and would welcome any new information that is truly relevant to the blog post, and that reveal any areas where my commentary appears lacking or ill-informed.

    You will find that I have investigated it, although I am not condemning it. More precisely, I am suggesting that there are problems in whole-heartedly supporting resveratrol’s use for dogs with existing cancers. I have used the site mostly for people coping with a current canine cancer diagnosis, not so much as a cancer prevention blog.

    There is a difference, one that deserves your attention, between existing cancer treatment, and cancer prevention. There is also a difference between cancer therapy concentrations in a petri dish and cancer therapy concentrations in the bloodstream or in a real life tumor. These differences highlight my lack of unbridled enthusiasm currently.

    I am sorry if this is not in line with sales of your Resvantage Canine, but this is the story as I see it at this time. This viewpoint, as usual, is subject to change with the influx of new data.

    I wish you well in your business endeavor and hope Resvantage Canine is profitable for you. Be well and I look forward to your input in the resveratrol comment section 🙂 !

    Dr D

  21. Phillip Conroy on January 9, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    I hope several of you readers get to see this before Dr. D’s henchmen take it down. Apparently anything useful to fight canine cancer other than what you are told on this site is not worth much in spite of the accredation of the National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute. The supplement is resveratrol and it has be shown in animal studies to reduce tumor incidence.

    Here is a link to the article so that you can see it for yourself.
    After reading it you can contact Dr. D and ask why this beneficial information is repeatedly deleted from the blog in spite of my trying to share this information with the readership who are only here to seek help and ideas for therapies.
    And Dr. D says “you can learn from your patients and you should listen to them with an open mind and not pooh pooh alternative strategies”. Resveratrol for dogs is a great way to help prevent and treat cancer. The lack of recognition of this on this site and the removal of my earlier comments trying to share this It’s known as ‘condimnation
    without investigation’ and yes Dr. D is guilty as charged. The leading
    hypocrite wishing for you to know only what he tells you. Like most
    Vets, out for the serious buck and wanting to control you using your heartstrings; i.e the love of your dog.

    This is the worst kind of censorship.

  22. Millie on January 8, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I was not fortunate enough to have access to a homeopathy vet in the treatment of my dog’s MCT. She lost her lengthy battle with it Dec 24/09. I know I would have lost her much sooner had it not been for me discovering Dr Dressler and purchasing his book. The information I learned from it and his regular blogs have been invaluable. I used the book in her treatment and in my preparing myself for letting her go. I can only say thank you to him for sharing his knowledge in his book and regularly here with those of us who found his website. I do know if his guidance and information is used the cancer can be held in check, more importantly I believe the quality of the dog’s life is greatly improved. My dog remained active and happy until the very last couple days of her life. I attribute that my use of the information I learned and more importantly practiced from the time I received Dr Dressler’s book. He states in it, it is not cheap nor from my experience without commitment on the part of the doggy’s caretaker however it is invaluable if we want to give our furry friend’s the best we can. Thank you Dr Dressler from the bottom of my heart, you are a very special doctor to those of us who have dogs that are suffering from cancer. I guide people here to you site when I hear they have a dog who is dealing with cancer.

    • Dr. Dressler on January 9, 2010 at 7:33 am

      Thank you dear Millie
      Dr D

  23. Lisbeth Gjetnes on January 8, 2010 at 5:13 am

    I am treating my Standard Poodle with Carcinosis and Thuja alternet weeks prescribed by my homeopathic vet. I am also giving him K9 Immunity and K9 Transferre factor daily. He is on a organic raw meaty
    bone and veg diet and following surgery for an agressive giant cell sarcoma which evidence showed was re growing this tumour on his treatment regime has shrunk in front of our eyes. Its a miracle, he is 10 years old but believes he is two, SO full of fun and bounce. Thank goodness for alternet meassures. Lisbeth Gjetnes

  24. LisaT on January 7, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    After my dog developed a mast cell tumor (actually 5 clumped together) from a wasp sting, I did have her treated by our homeopathic vet. The vet said that there is actually a protocol for such a tumor.

    I think these things are difficult to measure, but I know that homeopathy has been a lifesaver in this household on several occasions.

    As for my girl, it’s been 2 1/2 years since the tumors were removed, and she is doing well. It was stage 2, with low mitotic figures, and I treated with surgery, supplements, and homeopathy.

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