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

What about Ozone Therapy and Dog Cancer?

Updated: December 18th, 2018

Ozone therapy is one of those things that people ask about sometimes.  Kind of an odd bird, ozone. What’s the deal with ozone therapy and dog cancer?

First of all, what is ozone anyway? Ozone is a gas that can be administered after it is dissolved in liquid, most commonly either IV or as an enema.  It is a powerful oxidant.

In cancer, at least two points about oxidation are important.  First, oxidation is the process that creates harmful free radicals (reactive oxygen and nitrogen) when the cell cannot eliminate them.  Excess free radicals hurts cells (damages the DNA, lipid, protein and more).

Second, the body has ways of combating free radicals naturally (dietary antioxidants, enzymes, pH buffers and more). When the body takes in an oxidant like ozone, the body will crank up it’s natural defenses against the damage caused by the oxidant.

Cancer cells have a tendency to produce lots of free radicals normally.  That’s actually a common theme in different  cancer types. Their defenses against free radical accumulation are low.  Thus, they are running on high gear, producing a lot of free radicals, but are living dangerously since they can barely neutralize their own free radical production.

This is where ozone comes in.  There is some evidence that it kills cancer cells in the test tube (see article), which is nice, but lots of things do that. Ozone increases the free radical production in the cancer cells, and these free radicals are toxic to the cancer cell.

The problem is this:  often something will kill a cancer cell in the lab but not in the body.  A cancer in a petri dish in not a cancer in a dog.

For more helpful tools and information, get a copy of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Unfortunately, there was no survival advantage when ozone was actually studied in cancer patients, as you can see. But it did seem to help with side effects from chemo and made the patients feel a bit better.  The reason why this occurred seems to be that the ozone therapy boosted the body’s natural antioxidant defense systems.  This is kind of like an immunization…a little of the bad stuff in the body boosts its defense.

A kind of neat fact is that ozone, dissolved as a liquid, does kill germs very effectively when applied directly to them.  Inhaled ozone is toxic to the surface of the lungs.

What’s the take home message? Basically,  I’m not excited about it for dogs with cancer.  The pro-oxidant effects do not seem to kill tumors in the body, and these effects initially may not be all that healthy for the body (prior to when the body recovers with it’s  own antioxidant surge).  Plus, there’s cost and availability issues.

Best to all,

Dr Dressler


Leave a Comment

  1. Susy Bradner on December 8, 2019 at 2:36 am

    Dr. D. How do you feel about topical ozone, cold pressed olive oil for the derma tumors which erupt in the skin? We have successfully used powdered Yunan on those derma that bleed. We would like to heal those that have opened and scabbed over.

  2. brit on October 1, 2019 at 10:46 am

    glad to read this as ozone was recommended by my holistic vet but somehow I don’t feel good about it. Plus seems it should be administered often to even work which would be too costly and uncomfortable for him.

  3. Lidia Guzik on February 25, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Hello. My dog is 12.4 years
    and has been diagnosed only by examination and ex ray to have tonsil squamous sarcoma .Due to her one swollen lymph node it has metastied there. Is photodynamic therapy out of the ? since it has spread or laser therapy. I heard that in order to enhance her immune system it would take 2 or 3 months and the cancer being that aggressive could end her life before that. Dr Karen Becker , I believe
    said to fast for awhile and that could speed the immune system to respond quicker. I’m not sure how to fast her properly. I’m also giving her 120,00 Ui
    serrapeptase enzymes twice daily , advice from Dr Merecol but the dose is too high that I’m giving her.

  4. DogCancerBlog on October 9, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Hi Debby, thanks for posting. It sounds like you need to talk to your veterinarian, the one that is supervising the ozone therapy, and see what they think. Sometimes recurrence can be just the sad fact that cancer sometimes recurs, no matter what we do, but it’s possible that the ozone therapy has reached the limits of what it could do. As you can read in Dr. Dressler’s original post and in his further comments, there is no clear cut evidence one way or the other about ozone’s ultimate benefit. It may have helped for a while and now isn’t, or possibly, it may not have had effect, or it may no longer be helping. All treatments and strategies may need to be tweaked over time, because as you know, cancer is sneaky and it can “learn” how to defeat what we do. Always keep a flexible mindset, and it will help you to cut treatments or need them as needed, as your dog’s condition indicates.

  5. Debby Rochlin Liberman on October 6, 2017 at 5:52 am

    Hello dr. dressler Hoping you can weigh in on this. At the time of diagnosis my rhodesian ridgeback was 4 yrs old. Upon surgery and histopathology it was determined she had aggressive intestinal lymphoma, but they were able to save her ilieall/cecal valve. I immediately bought your book…which helped me navigate through this nightmare. I found a holistic doc who worked with the oncologist for an integrated approach. She went through 12 of the 16 rounds of chemo, simultaneously being supported with acupuncture, herbs, homemade diet, alkaline water, etc. Her GI tract has been a constant problem. We stopped chemo in november of last year and she has been in remission. Every 8 weeks we do ultrasound. 2 days ago the found enlarged lymph nodes and thickened cecum. FNA suspect both lymphoma has returned and she has an infection. They r sending for additional stain. 4 months ago we added ozone therapy to her protocol every 2 weeks….My question is could this ozone therapy be casing more harm then good?????? Please advise…Thank you….Desperate to help my girl

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