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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

Leave a Comment

  1. 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.

  2. 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 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 for a nutraceutical to support and help her through this. Good luck!

  3. 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

  4. 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 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.

  5. 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 Apocaps could definitely be a good option to include in your treatment plan (always coordinated with your vet). They are available from, and Please read about them at 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,

  6. 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.

  7. 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?


  8. 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


  9. 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

  10. 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.

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