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

Support Chemotherapy and Radiation with Botanicals: Dr. Dressler’s Article in Innovative Veterinary Care

Updated: May 15th, 2024


A new Innovative Veterinary Care journal article shows veterinarians how to support chemotherapy and radiation with botanicals.

Dr. Demian Dressler doesn’t just write articles for this site. He is also asked to speak at veterinary conferences and events and to contribute articles to veterinary publications. I’m pleased to announce that a new article on how to support chemotherapy and radiation with botanicals has just been published in Innovative Veterinary Care (IVC).  This journal aims at veterinary professionals bridging the gap between conventional (allopathic) care and integrative (holistic/complementary) care.  (Sounds like Full Spectrum vets to me!)

If you use conventional treatments (surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation) you will want to share Integrated approaches to canine cancer: Mitigation of treatment side effects with your veterinarian.

 Early implementation of these therapies can potentially address adverse consequences of both canine cancer and its treatment. This aids in establishing a sane, compassionate balance between patient life quality and longevity.
– Dr. Demian Dressler

Note: This article addresses the first step of Full Spectrum Cancer Care: Conventional Treatments. The other four steps will be covered in a future IVC article.

Support Chemotherapy and Radiation with Botanicals

Dr. D goes into some detail about how to support conventional care (especially chemotherapy and radiation) using integrative techniques. He also provides plenty of citations 🙂

Dr. D’s take-home message is this:

We know that these chemo and radiation are toxic by definition …  so why not pre-emptively treat for toxicity?

Readers know that Dr. D included these strategies in chapter 11 of his book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. Strategies include:

  • Using non-pharmaceutical COX-2 inhibitors with metronomic chemotherapy protocols to improve life quality. In plain English: pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories like piroxicam have unwanted side effects, so use a botanical anti-inflammatory like Apocaps CX to do the same thing (and more).
  • Reducing toxicity from radiation and chemo treatments by taking pre-emptive measures. Cordyceps, a specific fungus, has been used for over 15 years to protect the kidneys, bone marrow and other internal organs. It may even enhance the effects of chemo and radiation!
  • How glutamine supplements can be used to reduce diarrhea caused by chemo and radiation, and even address muscle wasting from cancer (cachexia). With the exception of brain tumors, this is an important supplement for dogs on chemo and radiation.
  • Using silymarin supplements (like Apocaps CX or Denamarin) to proactively protect the liver, kidney, heart, and central nervous system from chemo and radiation toxicity.
  • How CoQ10/ubiquinone protects the heart, particularly from the toxic effects of doxorubicin.
  • The use of antioxidants during chemo and radiation, and why dietary levels are safe and healthy and helpful.

Share This With Your Vet

Keep in mind that Dr. D wrote this article is for veterinarians, not laypeople like us. Even so, it’s a great resource for all of us. It can really help to explain to the veterinary professional why Dr. D recommends these outside-the-box treatments with such confidence.

Integrated approaches to canine cancer: Mitigation of treatment side effects

All the Best,


Molly Jacobson, Editor, The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity

PS: When Dr. D first started writing about these things, other veterinarians often dismissed his research. However, after a decade, many conventional veterinarians have come to use these strategies themselves. Why? Because dog lovers are spending a lot of money when they embark on chemotherapy and radiation, which makes them important clients to veterinarians. In general, these supplements have been shown to SUPPORT the oncology treatments: they may reduce side effects and in some case enhance the benefits. They don’t replace chemo and radiation, but they do make it safer and more tolerable and effective. That makes the dogs happy, which makes the dog lovers happy, which means the clients/customers are happy, which means the veterinarians are happy. 🙂 So even if you think your veterinarian “hates supplements” sharing this article might help open up the discussion.

Leave a Comment

  1. Mary Beth on May 4, 2020 at 9:48 am

    I have just been told my 12 yr old Aussie (Jack) has a 9 mm nodule on his spleen and that I should wait for 2-3 months and get another ultrasound to see if it has grown ( benign or not…is it possible it could stop growing?). He seems affected already with intermittent tiredness and uncomfortableness ( moving where he chooses to try and sleep a few times an hour). I read about app ocaps and already ordered them, but then was thinking that if he is suffering in part from internal bleeding from a possible bleeding tumor… should I strictly be looking for a supplement with coagulating properties rather than blood thinning properties? Please advise…

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