Got some new stuff for everyone into vitamins and antioxidants in cancer treatment for their loved dogs.
Recall we are talking about cancer treatment, not cancer prevention. These are two different categories gang, with different considerations.
You may recall also that the big deal is that there has been concern with free radical scavenging, which is what agents grouped under the umbrella of “antioxidants” do. Oxidation means to damage something by taking electrons. You lose your electrons and you fall apart.
When oxidative injury happens in healthy cells, they fall apart. When it happens in cancer cells, they blow up. Ah ha. So we see that oxidation can be good and can be bad, depending on who or what is being oxidized.
It would follow then that antioxidants might not all be good under all circumstances. You give a cancer cell that is is the process of being oxidized something that stops oxidation (an antioxidant) and that cancer cell gets happy again and goes on doing the nasty things it does.
I came upon a great review article recently and thought I could share some juicy bits with the dog lovers. This is hard to find stuff (it was for me anyway).
Here’s a little project that you might find surprising. Ask your vet, or perhaps your oncologist, whether a given chemotherapy drug kills cancer by oxidation. You may find a paucity of info. Why? Well, nobody taught us this in vet school. It is just not in the curriculum. Nobodies fault, just not a priority.
What about radiation? Yes, radiation kills cancer cells by oxidation, at least in theory
Why does it matter? Well, maintenance levels of certain antioxidants shorten hospital times, lessen side effects of chemo, and decrease concurrent illness, at least in kids with cancer. So it might follow that there would be good reason to consider it for our dogs, at least maintenance (dietary levels).
Get a copy of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, for more helpful tools and information
So, which chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells by oxidation? In other words, if you give a maintenance (dietary) level of antioxidants, which could interfere with the chemo for a time?
Here are the common ones:
Alkylating Agents: Lomustine, Chlorambucil, Cyclophosphamide
Platinum Compounds: Cisplatin, Carboplatin
Antitumor Antibiotics: Bleomycin, Doxorubicin, Mitoxantrone
Recall that antioxidants can be vitamins, herbs, certain foods (fruits, veggies etc), other supplements and more.
Here is the original article (written for human cancer patients and applied to veterinary medicine).
As a rule of thumb, the peak effect of these after treatment is started (the pills) or a injected dose is given (the others) is roughly 2 weeks. Thus, if a top goal is maximizing the killing effects of chemo, you would want to wait about 2 weeks after the last treatment or pill was given.
Notice I did not mention intentional lessening of chemo’s side effects with the use of agents included in the “antioxidant” group. That is a whole other topic…
Best to all,
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.