Cancer is a whole-body disease. When we think about cancer, many times we tend to look at it as if it were just a single growth.
A single growth is called a tumor.
Because of this we will automatically assume that the tumor is the only thing going on in a dog with cancer.
The problem is that there is often more going on than just a tumor. Tumors happen in a body, and tumors affect that body.
By supporting the body, we can get an edge in fighting dog cancer. This area is sometimes ignored in dogs receiving conventional cancer care. Since we want to use every tool at our disposal to fight cancer, which is very formidable, we need to focus on body support. There are many ways to do this that are covered in detail in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.
One of the things cancers frequently affect is the immune system. Cancer can suppress the immune response. This happens in up to 70% of cancer patients. A healthy immune system is needed not only to help the body fight infections, but also to fight the cancer itself.
Cancers are often able to send out chemical signals that suppress the white blood cells directly. On top of this, patients with cancer experiences stress. Many times this can be psychological, and sometimes the body itself reacts to the cancer by releasing stress hormones.
So it makes sense that we would want to support the rest of the body that is fighting the cancer.
There are different ways to help support the immune system. One of them is by providing a four-legged family member with glutamine.
Glutamine is an amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.
Glutamine is special because it helps block the effects of the chronic stress hormones on the immune system.
On top of this, glutamine actually stimulates the immune system directly.
Finally, glutamine can help lessen the digestive upset and side effects that can be seen sometimes with chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
There has been some confusion about whether glutamine helps or hinders cancer patients. Old information suggested glutamine might cause cancers to worsen. This has been debunked.
Glutamine is considered a safe supplement for dogs. However, there is some theoretical evidence that it may reduce the effects of seizure control medications, and therefore to be safe should be avoided in dogs with seizure problems until this is studied specifically.
Apocaps is a supplement to help normal support life quality and longevity of dogs in my hospital which includes glutamine.
As always, before making any change in your dog’s care, you should consult with your veterinarian.
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.