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

More on Curcumin and Dog Cancer

Updated: December 26th, 2018

In the last post, I introduced curcumin, a useful tool against cancer found in turmeric.

In this post we will look at some of the effects and practicalities in the use of this remarkable substance.

Safety should always be questioned. Curcumin is exceptionally safe when given by mouth.  Read more here.

One of the complaints about it is that it is not absorbed significantly when taken by mouth (passes through in the feces). True statement. But…

Curcumin taken by mouth does have effects in the body after all, in spite of low levels being taken up in the blood.  It was shown in  a human clinical trial that large doses (over 3 grams) decreased the levels of a chemical signal with links to cancer development and progression.

This chemical signal is called prostaglandin E2. This signal was measured in the bloodstream.

This means that actually some of the curcumin taken by mouth does indeed have effects on the body.  Check it out for yourself here.

Curcumin, at least in test tube studies (in vitro), shows a most definite ability to cause cancer cells to end their life cycle.  Another way of saying this is that it is an apoptogen, or something that causes programed, healthy,  end-of-life for cancer cells.

One way that curcumin is able to do this is by injuring the mitochondria, or the energy factories in the cancer cells.  Here is an abstract about that.

To learn more in nutrition, and diet for dogs with cancer, get a copy of the Dog Cancer Diet

Curcumin is able to shut down the activity of one of the central chemical signals involved in cancer development and progression (NFK Beta).  This molecule is perhaps one of the most important molecules in the whole field of cancer.

On top of that, it has effects to slow the growth of blood vessels feeding tumors,  helping to stop cancer expansion.

For more info on these different ways curcumin helps fight cancer, read on here.

In humans, most of the research has focused on intestinal cancers.  The reason is because the stuff, after taken by mouth, goes down into the intestine and contacts the wall of the intestine.

Since these intestinal cancers are less dependant on curcumin getting in the blood to contact the cancer cells, that is where the interest has been.

I believe curcumin has broader application than that. Since we know it has effects outside the intestine, and it is non-toxic,  it should be applied more for dog cancer.

Curcumin does not dissolve well in water.  This is one of the things that limits its absorption.  You can overcome this by mixing it with lecithin and water and making a slurry.

Get a copy of this informative seminar to learn more on apoptosis in cancer treatment

Lecithin is available online. It is very , very gooey, so you add some water to the curcumin-lecithin, about 4 parts water to 1 part lecithin.

You can put some low sodium bullion in it for flavor, or similar agents.

Many of the commercial preparations have bromelain with it, to enhance blood levels.  No problem.

Doses are approximate, and taken from human literature.  For a large dog, use about 2 grams two times a day, as an estimation.

Do not use curcumin with gall stones, stomach ulcers, or within 10 days of surgery.

There is a possibility it should perhaps be avoided with liver problems in some references.  I believe this effect is not likely based on serial blood tests in my hospital with its use, but discuss with your vet, as always.

There is more in how curcumin fits into the full spectrum plan in the downloadable cancer book on

Best to all,

Dr D

Leave a Comment

  1. Mel on September 1, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    My pet has a perianal fibrosarcoma, as it is external could topical application of curcumin theoretically help slow the growth? He has already had it debulked 3 times but had to be conservative to maintain anal muscle function. The last surgery lasted at least a year and was executed by a specialist surgeon. It is about the size of a match head and as he is 15 with spleen cysts I would prefer not to submit him to surgery again.

  2. Katie on December 1, 2019 at 8:20 am

    HI there,
    What kind of lecithin should I get? Sunflower? My vet seems to think my dog has squamous cell carcinoma on his face and I would like to avoid surgery. Thank you

  3. Ava on July 25, 2019 at 9:59 am

    Hi, my large akita dog has a large cancerous tumor on his thyroid. What is the best way to give him turmeric to shrink the tumor? I just started giving him the capsules today but will he be able to absorb it and will it reach his thyroid?

    Thank you,

  4. […] Tumeric: 300MG twice a day. […]

  5. Susan Kazara Harper on June 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    Ron, Every dog and every situation is different. You’d need to weigh the options with your vet, your herbalist orhomeopath, and your dog. What works for one may be different for the next. And sometimes there is no right answer, just what we fell in our heart is the best option for our beloved four-pawd friend. Dogs can an do thrive without a spleen in certain circumstancs. Your veterinary surgeon will help you weight those options, and oyur heart will tell you what the best decision is for you and your dog. Good luck.

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