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

Vitamin C for Canine Cancer Patients? Part 2

Updated: December 17th, 2018

Well, it’s been 2 days since the lead-in entry on Vitamin C….which may (or may not) be a long time to wait 🙂  Anyway, here you go:

As I had indicated, it turns out that if one were to take vitamin C, at huge doses by mouth, the blood levels you get are puny. When you, or your dog, takes a pill, some gets absorbed into the body, but some passes out in the waste.

People who took 18 grams of the stuff (which equals gagging down 9-18 of those “horse pill” tablets) per day, only ended up with 220 micromol/L in their blood. That means a huge amount Vitamin C ends up literally going down the toilet.

Those studies showing that cancer cells die when exposed to vitamin C  needed more than 1,000 micromol/L.  Since 220 is much less than 1000, the cancer cells were not dying.

This is probably why the two clinical trials where people had to down 10 grams of vitamin C daily showed no benefit in surviving their cancers.

So the message seems clear…don’t bother with strait oral vitamin C (ascorbic acid) when you are trying to help your dog kill cancer cells.  In my opinion, bases on the evidence, you can’t get the levels you want for cancer cell death.

But there are other ways to get the stuff in the body.  What about injections?? Does that help?

Well, I could not find solid reports on the effects of intravenous vitamin C given to canine cancer patients.  Recall I want good, solid, science-based information…however, I did find some in the human literature.

A paper came out in 2006 that showed 3 human patients with tumors that would have been expected to have led to their demise opted for IV vitamin C at whopping doses.  Read the abstract here.

Get a copy of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide for more helpful information and tools

One had a form of lymphoma (lymphosarcoma), one a kidney tumor, and other was transitional cell cancer of the bladder.  All had signs of either local spread (into the surrounding areas) or distant spread (metastasis). Bad, bad stuff.

The amazing thing is that in each of these three, the tumors went away.  Gone.  Nada. Zippo.  And that, my friends, is pretty astounding.  Granted, the lady with the kidney tumor (a chronic smoker) developed lung cancer 4 years later…but the information is pretty impressive regardless.

Does this mean everyone with a dog should go out and schedule IV vitamin C injections for their dogs? No. Especially not dogs with urinary stones like calcium oxalates, which likely can be worsened or theoretically even caused by the injections.

But, it does mean that in certain circumstances, it should be considered.  Vitamin C IV injections appear fairly safe overall, and people are starting to pay attention to Vitamin C IV injections in cancer therapy…check it out.  For the vets out there, the protocols are here too.

Note that it is, at this point, probably unwise to give these doses of IV vitamin C in conjunction with chemotherapy until the issue of whether it helps or hinders chemo is clarified.  I would also avoid IV vit C at these doses if your dog is receiving radiation therapy.

Best to all,

Dr Dressler


Leave a Comment

  1. finallywakingup on December 4, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Where is part 1 of

    Vitamin C for Canine Cancer Patients?

  2. Whit on October 19, 2017 at 10:56 am

    What about liposomal vitamin C

  3. Susan Kazara Harper on June 1, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Hi Terry,
    That answer really needs to come from your vet. Any IV treatment would be vet-advised and both weight and overall condition can be taken into consideration. If it’s cancer of the spleen, are you talking about hemangisarcoma? If so, you may want to ask your vet about metronomic chemotherapy. It has been shown to have positive effects on that type of cancer, and is very gentle on the dog. Good luck!

  4. Terry Huser on May 13, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    My Keeshond has cancer on her spleen would like to know how much vitamin C IV for a 45 lb dog would be?

  5. Maria on November 27, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Dr. D.,
    I have an 85# yellow lab, Solomon, just dx in Oct.2012 with stage IV Hemangiosarcoma: the tumor on his spleen ruptured, resulting in an emergency spleenectomy. It was 50/50 but he made it home that very day. About a week later, we placed him on Neoplasene (plant alkaloids) and his PCV is 42%; TP 7.3 a/o 10.29.12 – still in the norm. I am concerned because his fatty tumors are growing – not aspirated because I did not want the possibility of this spreading as well. He is on a white rice/cooked organic meats/vegetable diet while on the Neoplasene. I would like to place him on IV Vitamin C as soon as possible. Is this ok to do IV Vitamin C while on Neoplasene at the same time? Or would you do the IV Vitamin C for a few weeks, stopping or reducing the Neoplasene? Or do you know if there is a “protocol” that is successful in the use of both of these cancer fighters? Either way, will you please let me know the dose recommendations for IV Vitamin C? (I plan to add the Turkey Tail Mushroom to his diet as well because of its success against Hemangiosarcoma.) Thank-you for your help!

  6. Tony on November 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I once had a vet that cured my shepherd of Heartworms using homeopathic remedies.
    The key was high dose IV injection of vitamin C in combination with Black walnut hull / wormwood / mugwart combination as best I recall. Using this method it wasn’t long and Max tested negative.

    I need to know what is a safe high dosage injection for a 135 pound dog?


  7. Patty on October 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Dear Doctor my Golden is currently on an oral chemo drug Satraplatin and the tumor started to increase in size our Oncologist suggested IV Vit. C he is currently doing acupuncture, cold laser and ozone therapy. He has a Pheochromocytoma have you heard any good news using this therapy for his type of cancer? Thanks!

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