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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue 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!!!

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