Okay, got a great one for you today. It’s cheap, easy and safe, and it smells good too: ginger.
Ever wonder why the rate of cancer used to be so low in Asia (before introduction of the western diet where the top vegetables consumed are french fries and ketchup…)? Yep, diet is the likely answer. We’ll touch on this topic more in future posts, but for now, let’s look at ginger.
Sound too easy, too good to be real? It’s not. Ginger has some decent anticancer effects, and some major other benefits relevant to dogs tumors.
First the anticancer effects, which are pretty fair. Ginger slowed the rate of breast cancer growth in mice, and kills lymphosarcoma cells in a test tube. Ginger has been shown to decrease tumor necrosis factor alpha, which is a chemical signal in dogs’ bodies that stimulate cancer cell growth. It also decreases inflammation. Inflammation is a central process in cancer development. This aromatic tuber has immune stimulating ability as well, a plus since dogs with cancer usually are immune suppressed. Chemo, radiation and surgery also weaken immunity. These are all nice effects, good stuff.
But, the real winner with ginger is that it decreases nausea. Decreased appetite caused by nausea is really common in dogs with cancer. Feeling sick to the stomach can be caused by the cancer itself, or by chemo, surgery or radiation. Ginger has been shown to decrease vomiting as much as the most popular injection to fight nausea on vets’ shelves, metoclopramide. There is also published literature showing it fights vomiting caused by cisplatin, a common chemo drug, in dogs.
Not too shabby for an item sitting in the veggie section of the grocery store!
Dose: Remove the skin of the root with a knife. The inside will be yellow and smell quite pungent. Using a heavy, sharp chopping knife, finely mince the yellow portion of the root. Give roughly 1/2 teaspoon for dogs under 35 lbs and 3/4 teaspoon for dogs 36 lbs and over. Give 1/4 teaspoon for miniature breeds. Ideally it is to be given three times a day. Mix in food. Ginger can also be found in extracts and powders, but I like the raw stuff.
When to avoid ginger:
Don’t use ginger within 10 days of surgery, as it may have mild blood thinning effect. Avoid it if your dog is on aspirin, and discuss with your vet if your dog is on anti inflammatory medication like Rimadyl, Metacam, Deramaxx, Etogesic, and others. Ginger may have blood sugar lowering effects and reduce the insulin requirement, so talk it over with your vet BEFORE starting, or simply avoid ginger if your dog is on insulin. Avoid using ginger in dogs with gallstones (rare) or ulcers. And finally, don’t use if your dog is on heart or blood pressure meds, as it may lower blood pressure slightly by itself.
Like any supplement, ginger can occasionally cause digestive upset in some dogs.
Hope it helps!!!!
Best to all,
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.