Chemotherapy agents are used to help slow the growth of tumors, improve life quality, and decrease tumor spread in dogs. Although the doses used are less than in humans, toxicity of chemo drugs is still a concern.
The big problem is that things that decrease toxicity of the chemo drugs often will decrease the effectiveness of those drugs as well. So we end up with an overall neutralization of the chemo drug effects, both good and bad.
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One contender I’ve come across to help with chemo toxicity, and possibly with no reduction in chemo effect, is Acetyl-L-Carnitine.
This amino acid derivative was shown to reduce the nerve toxicity effects seen with platinum compounds. The platinum compounds used in dogs are cisplatin and carboplatin, usually for osteosarcoma (bone tumors), transmissible venereal tumor, and mast cell tumors.
Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) can cause irreversible injury to the heart. This drug is used often with lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, other sarcomas, and carcinomas. There is some new evidence that ALC is able to block this effect. Here is the paper for your reference.
According to the University of Maryland, this effect may occur without decreasing the effectiveness of the doxorubicin. Another study showed that there was a reversal of heart toxicity due to doxorubicin in rats without decreasing its effectiveness using ALC.
Side effects are minimal in dogs. Some develop digestive upset (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
The lowest published dose is 1 gram twice daily.
As always, make sure you are in touch with your veterinarian and/or oncologist regarding any treatment plan in dog cancer, as the info here is not a recommendation for any individual, specific dog. Each animal needs to have its own case evaluation….
Hope this helps!!
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.
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