Chemotherapy agents are used to help slow the growth of tumors, improve life quality, and decrease tumor spread in dogs. Although the doses used are less than in humans, toxicity of chemo drugs is still a concern.
The big problem is that things that decrease toxicity of the chemo drugs often will decrease the effectiveness of those drugs as well. So we end up with an overall neutralization of the chemo drug effects, both good and bad.
One contender I’ve come across to help with chemo toxicity, and possibly with no reduction in chemo effect, is Acetyl-L-Carnitine.
This amino acid derivative was shown to reduce the nerve toxicity effects seen with platinum compounds. The platinum compounds used in dogs are cisplatin and carboplatin, usually for osteosarcoma (bone tumors), transmissible venereal tumor, and mast cell tumors.
Doxorubicin (Adriamycin) can cause irreversible injury to the heart. This drug is used often with lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, other sarcomas, and carcinomas. There is some new evidence that ALC is able to block this effect. Here is the paper for your reference.
According to the University of Maryland, this effect may occur without decreasing the effectiveness of the doxorubicin (scroll down to the bottom of this link). Another study showed that there was a reversal of heart toxicity due to doxorubicin in rats without decreasing its effectiveness using ALC.
Side effects are minimal in dogs. Some develop digestive upset (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea).
The lowest published dose is 1 gram twice daily.
As always, make sure you are in touch with your veterinarian and/or oncologist regarding any treatment plan in dog cancer, as the info here is not a recommendation for any individual, specific dog. Each animal needs to have its own case evaluation….
Hope this helps!!