May 19

6 Ways To Cope With Cancer

Cancer is a very powerful word to hear, it creates fear, sadness, and uncertainty. In Dr. Ihor Basko’s blog post, “Dealing With the Emotional Effects of Cancer in Your Pets,” he discusses ways to deal with the emotional effects of finding out that your pet has cancer. We’ve broken his article down into 6 steps you can take to help you cope with the stress of finding out your pet has cancer.

Written by Dr. Ihor Basko January 25, 2013

Learning That Your Pet Has Cancer

cope with cancer

Coping with cancer

The emotional challenges of either having a pet with cancer, a loved one with cancer, or being diagnosed with cancer yourself, are rarely discussed by the medical community tasked with providing treatment to you, your family member, or your pet. It’s important to know what to expect so that you can be prepared, and best manage the anxiety and stress you will likely feel as you move through this process on the path to healing.

1. Accepting Your Emotions: It’s okay to feel upset

Understand that you will go through many feelings, thoughts, and emotions (like fear, denial, anger, frustration, depression, or hopelessness).

This is okay 

What goes through your mind when you see or feel a lump on your beloved pet? The lump can make you feel like you have a lump in your throat! What most people feel when they see or feel a tumor on their pet is fear. When you think about going to the veterinarian to check it out, you may be filled with a sense of dread. You may also feel a sense of hope (that maybe this will be nothing serious) and denial (that the lump isn’t a big deal and doesn’t require immediate veterinary attention). It’s very important to get any lumps checked out as soon as possible, in case they may be malignant.  Eventually you end up at the vet’s office. The veterinarian examines your pet and tells you the lump looks serious and is most likely cancer, but he/she needs to be sure and thus recommends a battery of blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, and biopsies to confirm if the tumor is malignant and determine which treatment plan would be best to follow. When you hear the words “It’s most likely cancer,” time seems to stop, and the ground feels shaky. You cannot hear another word because you are in shock. At this point in time and state of emotions, you cannot make sound decisions on what is best for your pet, nor should you feel pressured to do so. Your mind may take over and you may begin to worry, and think about the worst case scenarios. Your fears may alternate with guilt, and you might start to question what you could have done differently to prevent or change this diagnosis. At this stage, many people begin to (wrongly!) blame themselves. The more you think about things, the more you worry. Your mind fills with tough-to-answer questions, like:

  • How long do we have for life expectancy?
  • How much will all of this cost?
  • How will I pay for all of these treatments?
  • Will my pet suffer?

Finally, you may tailspin into feeling despair and hopelessness.

2. Take Time To Feel: Process your emotions

You may feel like you have so many decisions to make right now, but now isn’t the time to focus on finding quick answers. Instead, seek support from friends, loved ones, family and spiritual counselors (if applicable) to help you discover, express, and share the deeper, difficult feelings you are currently experiencing, such as fear, hopelessness, guilt, despair, etc. Under these conditions, you cannot make decisions about what will be the best treatment plan for your pet. You may just want to trust your veterinarian on what to do, but a conversation about “the why’s and the how much” needs to occur before you sign away your control. In any case, I recommend taking a few days to process your feelings and consider your options before moving forward. Avoid making hasty decisions while in shock!

3. Overcome Anxiety: How To Regain Your Center

Try these breathing exercises The best ways of getting clear on what decision to make is to first calm down and get more oxygen into your brain. Calming down and getting present is the first step back towards clarity and reality.

  • You can start by taking a deep breath and holding it for 4 or 5 seconds, then releasing and holding your breath for another 4 or 5 seconds before you take another breath.
  • Repeat over and over, while sitting down.

Check out these two articles for additional tips on deep breathing and using breathing to manage anxiety:

NOTE: If you have asthma, COPD, or other lung ailment, check with your family physician first. Although this sounds simple, this works very well to calm the body, and clear the mind.

4. Emotional Support: Reconnect with your social support system

Social support

Connect with a friend


Go home and get some emotional support. All these feelings, emotions, responsibilities, and decisions can be a heavy burden to bear alone. Call a close and dear friend or relative. Reconnect with your ailing pets. Be with them. Go for a long walk with your dog in a favorite spot like the forest or along the beach. Spend time sitting near your sick kitty in his/her favorite spot in the house. Do your breathing exercises and pay attention to the energy level of both you and your pet after having some “quiet time” together. After getting your head clear and heart open, spend more time sitting, walking, playing, petting, and/or sharing food with your ailing pet. You want to connect with your pet’s condition to notice the degree of pain or discomfort, the current state of health, and the current state of their attitude. The best way to do this is with the breath. One thing I learned from watching animals is how they use breathing to control pain, stress, and discomfort. You can “feel” what they are feeling by matching their breathing rate and depth. Ask yourself, “Is their breathing fast, shallow, irregular? What does “normal” look like?” While gently petting your pet, breathe as fast and as deep as they are. Following their breathing pattern, providing gentle petting, and being calm will get you connected. Also take the time to appreciate your pet’s contribution to your life. Don’t stop loving them nor enjoying them because they are sick.

5. Consider Your Options: Healing is a Process

From a holistic standpoint, dealing with cancer (or any serious illness) requires healing for not just the patient, but also everyone within the family of that patient (i.e. the caregiver, friends, the rest of the family, etc.). You may be thinking, “Why do I need healing when my pet is the one with the cancer?” This can be a process of “letting go” for you as well – learning to let go of the physical, mental, and emotional reactions to a difficult situation that causes instability and disharmony within you. Emotionally, the owners and caretakers of animals with cancer and other debilitating diseases suffer more than their pet.

6. Due Diligence: Research Before Making a Decision

It’s wise to get a second opinion before making a life changing decision when dealing with a health situation. We as humans do it all the time, before undergoing major surgery, we try to find alternatives and second opinions before dishing out thousands of dollars towards a decision that may be life changing to our health and well-being. Using your primary veterinarian is a good start once you’ve received their diagnoses and treatment plan. Once you’ve started there, research a reputable specialist and/or holistic veterinary doctor in your area. As we all know, the pharmaceutical companies run the medical world and although we’d like to trust every doctor, it just isn’t plausible. In the end, it will be up to you and your veterinarian to make the decision as to what path you will take to help your pet. In the end, do what you feel is best for your pet and understand that it may not be the decision you would prefer but what’s best for the comfort of your pet.

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May 16

Could This Be The Cure For Cancer?

For thousands of years Eastern cultures have used mushrooms to maintain a healthy immune system. It has become recognized that mushrooms are more than just a nutritious sustenance; in fact they are a super food. New studies and articles written by doctors and universities show the powerful effects medicinal mushrooms have on fighting cancer and other diseases.

Dog Cancer Info

Ganoderma lucidum Reishi


Dr. Ihor Basko; a veterinarian, radio show host and holistic healer, has dedicated his time to researching the safest and healthiest ways of healing pets. He began this mission to focus on the true nature of healing and prevention of chronic illness. Where most doctors want to mask the symptoms of disease, Dr. Basko focuses on the prevention of them.

Medicinal Mushrooms

Animal Wellness Magazine recently featured an article in their June 2014 issue about the power of medicinal mushrooms written by Dr. Bakso. He highlights the three top medicinal mushrooms that have a powerful effect on cancer in pets, reishi, shiitake, and maitake.


The Power of Reishi


The Power of MaitakeShiitake

The Power of Shiitake




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Jan 10

How did my dog get cancer?

Typically, most canine cancer cases are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Certain breeds of dogs can be more susceptible to particular kinds of tumors. There is also the possibility of hereditary traits being a factor. Results from mutations in germ line cells can be passed from one generation to the next. The majority of alterations in genes occur because of spontaneous mutations. These are typically spurred on by factors of the pet’s environment including sunlight, chemical exposure and hormones.

help your dog beat cancer

What do I do now?

Veterinary Oncology studies show that canines have more cancerous possibility factors than humans. While factors from environment and toxicity exposure can certainly affect humans, the risk factor for canines is greater.


What do I do now?

After receiving your dog’s diagnosis, it is important to stay focused and make a plan about what to do next. The shock will wear off and you will need to make some decisions for your pet. What kind of treatment should I seek? Is there more than one way to treat these maladies?

There is a plethora of information indexed online, but you have to be careful of where you get your info. Many people can express their opinions online, but only take the guidance as a licensed veterinarian or veterinary oncologist to heart. There are many sites like and Web DVM that support user forums with actual replies from veterinarians. The important thing is to remember that you are not alone.

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Jan 08

Great news from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

Dog Cancer Treatment


PHILADELPHIA — Dogs with hemangiosarcoma that were treated with a compound derived from the Coriolus versicolor mushroom had the longest survival times ever reported for dogs with the disease. These promising findings offer hope that the compound may one day offer cancer patients — human and canine alike — a viable alternative or complementary treatment to traditional chemotherapy.

The study was conducted by two University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine faculty. Dorothy Cimino Brown is a professor and chair of the Department of Clinical Studies and director of the Veterinary Clinical Investigation Center. Jennifer Reetz is an attending radiologist in the Department of Clinical Studies. They published their findings in an open-access article in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Dog Cancer Treatment

All natural supplements for dogs with cancer really work!

The Coriolus versicolor mushroom, known commonly as the Yunzhi mushroom, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years. The compound in the mushroom that is believed to have immune-boosting properties is polysaccharopeptide, or PSP. In the last two decades, some studies have suggested that PSP also has a tumor-fighting effect.

“There have been a series of studies looking at groups of people with cancer,” Cimino Brown said. “The issue with those studies is that they weren’t necessarily measuring what most people would think is the most clinically important result, which is, do people taking PSP live longer?”

To address this critical question, Cimino Brown and Reetz pursued a study in dogs with naturally occurring hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive, invasive cancer that arises from the blood cells and typically affects the spleen. It commonly strikes golden retrievers and German shepherds.

Fifteen dogs that had been diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma participated in the trial. Divided into three groups of five, each group received a different dose — 25, 50 or 100 mg/kg/day — of an all natural supplement, a formulation of PSP that has been tested for consistency and good manufacturing processes.

The owners were instructed to give their dog capsules of the compound, created by Penn pharmacists, daily. Each month, the owners brought their dogs to Penn’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital for follow-up visits. There, the researchers took blood samples and conducted ultrasounds to determine the extent that tumors developed or grew and spread in the dogs’ bodies.

Based on the ultimate endpoints — how quickly the tumors progressed and how long the dogs actually lived — the results of the researchers’ trial suggest that the supplement was effectively fighting the tumors.

“We were shocked,” Cimino Brown said. “Prior to this, the longest reported median survival time of dogs with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen that underwent no further treatment was 86 days. We had dogs that lived beyond a year with nothing other than this mushroom as treatment.”

There were not statistically significant differences in survival between the three dosage groups, though the median survival time was highest in the 100 mg group, at 199 days, eclipsing the previously reported median survival time.

The results were so surprising, in fact, that the researchers asked Penn Vet pathologists to recheck the dogs’ tissue biopsies to make sure that the dogs really had the disease.

“They reread the samples and said, yes, it’s really hemangiosarcoma,” Cimino Brown said.

Chemotherapy is available for treating hemangiosarcoma, but many owners opt not to pursue that treatment once their dog is diagnosed.

“It doesn’t hugely increase survival, it’s expensive and it means a lot of back and forth to the vet for the dog,” Cimino Brown said. “So you have to figure in quality of life.”

While holistic remedies are not inexpensive, if proven effective, it would offer owners a way of extending their pet’s life without regular trips to the vet. As an added benefit, Cimino Brown and Reetz have found no evidence of adverse effects from the PSP treatment.

The researchers are now getting ready to pursue further trials in dogs with hemangiosarcoma to confirm and refine their results. One trial will compare the all natural supplement to a placebo for those owners who opt not to pursue chemotherapy in their pet and another will compare the compound to standard-of-care chemotherapy.

Depending on those results, veterinarians could eventually prescribe the compound for treating hemangiosarcoma, and perhaps other cancers, in dogs. The company that manufacturers I’m-Yunity may also pursue large-scale clinical trials in humans.

“Although hemangiosarcoma is a very sad and devastating disease,” Cimino Brown said, “in the long-term, if we prove that this works, this treatment can be a really nice alternative for owners to have increased quality time with their pet at the end of its life.”

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Jan 03

Alternative Cancer Treatments For Your Dog

Dog Cancer Treatment

Alternative cancer treatments for your dogIn a traditional western veterinarian scenario, a typical treatment for canine cancer might include chemotherapy, antiangiogenesis or radiation therapy. Though these treatments have been known to work in some cases, more and more attention is being paid to homeopathic remedies. The daily wear of these treatments can be less of a toll on a dog’s body, and sometimes can even prove to be more affordable.

Recent research suggests that cancer is primarily a chronic inflammatory disease. And indeed, many of the factors involved in the development of cancer do cause chronic, low-grade inflammation. This inflammation not only kills cells directly, but also puts toxic inflammatory by-products and other “sludge” in the extracellular matrix that surrounds the cells. This toxic build-up reduces the flow of oxygen, nutrients, and wastes between cells and blood, and creating a fertile environment for abnormal cells that can thrive in such damaged environments. Preventing and resolving inflammation are primary goals of any program to prevent or treat cancer.

Radiation Therapy is not the only choice for your dog


Another way of achieving maximum healing potential is by pairing traditional Western medicine remedies along with a holistic Eastern approach. This side by side symbiosis can be “just what the doctor ordered” for a dog dealing with the burdens of cancer. Colostrum and Probiotic supplements can help boost the immune system and restore energy levels by attacking toxins at a microscopic level. Essential Enzymes allow canines to retain a healthy and active digestive system to ensure they absorb as many necessary nutrients as possible from each meal.

Products that help support this treatment program include the Immunity Trio Power Pack from K9 Critical Care. With supplements including probiotic wafers, alpha/omega fish oil and mushroom magic; a supplement derived from mushrooms grown on wood and extracted with hot water, this all natural product provides necessary ingredients to combat canine cancer symptoms.

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Jan 02

Mast Cell Tumors (Mastocytoma)

K9 Critical Care products are a great, non-toxic way to help your dog deal with the many burdens of canine cancer.

Mast cell tumors (mastocytoma) are among the most common tumors in American dogs, but fortunately, most forms of this cancer are very treatable. They also may be called mast cell sarcoma, or mastocytomas. Don’t worry too much about the exact name they put on the dog’s disease. The information given here applies to all forms of Mast cell tumors. And the treatments are similar.

GOOD news for dog lovers!

About 80% of dogs with Mast cell canine tumors can be put into remission through the use of modern methods of treatment.

The “typical” canine mast cell cancer patient is generally an older larger breed dog. The first sign of trouble is usually one or more tumors on or under the skin. The ones you can see are the most treatable, but they can crop up anywhere, and the deeper they are, the more dangerous they can become. The tumors often change size from day to day and, because their normal function is releasing histamine as an immune reaction, they tend to over do it and swell, or cause a rash or hives when disturbed.


K9 Critical Care

Mast cell tumors are a common symptom of canine cancer


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Dec 30

Helpful tips for dealing with canine cancer

5 Tips to help you cope with your dog’s cancer


1. Try and keep and open mind – Techniques for illness treatment vary from different societies. Eastern and Western medicines have different approaches and no one idea should be discounted. The main priority should be that you are spending plenty of quality time with your dog and exploring the options presented to you. Support methods like radioactive chemotherapy with a diet of healthy supplements.

2. Set Goals – The goals you set should include long term and short term ones. The entire process of coping with canine cancer can be exhausting and make it hard to keep focus. Having goals laid out will help you and everyone in your family stay on track and enable you to celebrate each and every win, big or small.

3. Avoid grains in your dog’s diet - Many vets blame diets that are heavy in grains for diabetes, digestive problems and cancer. Research shows that animals with cancer have an altered carbohydrate metabolism. All natural dog food from companies like Healthy Dogma provide a healthy, low carbohydrate alternative to filler grains used by commercial pet food companies.

4. Seek out support - Everyone deals with grief and difficulty in different ways. The important thing to remember is, you are not alone. There are many support groups for canine cancer in place, and though not every member is an expert, they can point you to a reliable source and provide an ear for listening. Never underestimate the power of sharing your feelings with others.

5. Boost Immunity - Immunity supplements from companies like K9 Critical Care are designed to help support dogs that have a compromised immune system. Products containing mushroom extracts, chlorella and flax seed are a great, healthy way to provide that support.

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Dec 27

Warning symptoms of cancer in dogs

Dog Cancer Symptoms

Just like with humans, dogs that are developing cancer can show warning signs and symptoms when the illness begins to onset. Such symptoms can include; lumps or bumps, a wound that doesn’t heal, a lameness or swelling in the bone, enlarged lymph nodes or abnormal bleeding.

Is your dog showing any of these symptoms?

That being said, don’t jump to conclusions without taking your dog to see a veterinarian. There are many illnesses besides cancer that have their own host of symptoms. Also, other cancer signs can go undetected. Some conditions develop slowly over time and unless you are trained in veterinary medicine, you probably know exactly what you are looking for.

Abnormal odors coming from the ears, nose, mouth or any other area from a dog’s body can also be a sign. Cancers of the mouth, nose or anal cavity can be the cause of foul smells. Sudden weight loss (when your pet is not on a diet) should also raise a flag. Be sure to mention it to a veterinarian so they can make a proper diagnosis.

Is your dog showing any of these symptoms? If so, don’t delay. Call your veterinarian to make an appointment for a full screening.

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Dec 26

Are your dog supplements made with gasoline?

Unknown to millions of pet owners around the world, many dog supplements are made with low quality ingredients and tainted with toxic chemicals. Manufacturing techniques of medicinal mushrooms are possibly one of the biggest offenders. Some companies soak their mushrooms in ethanol as part of the production process! For those of you who don’t know, ethanol is used in gasoline….

Ethanol being used in the making of dog supplements?!

Are your mushroom supplements grown in trash bags?

Are your mushroom supplements grown in trash bags?

K9 Critical Care products are ONLY made with all natural ingredients. Their supplements are composed of compounds supplied by all natural manufacturers like MushroomScience. The incredible intelligence resourced to procure these ingredients is the difference between your pet receiving a premium, all natural beneficial support system, and one that is laced with toxic and dangerous elements.

*MushroomScience is the only U.S. Mushroom Company offering hot water extracted mushroom supplements that match the potency and quality of the preparations used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as the extracts used and studied in the scientific and medical research.

Few people realize that hot water extracts are the only kind of mushroom supplements ever used or studied in the scientific research and the only method of preparation used in traditional herbal practice.

 Other mushroom companies sell mushroom and/or mycelium tinctures preserved in alcohol (a.k.a. “cold water extracts”), or unextracted mycelium powder (made by growing mushroom mycelium on sterilized rice). These supplemental forms have never been studied in the research, have never been used in traditional herbal practice, and are a fraction of the potency as compared to hot water extracts.

You wouldn’t give your human family members low quality food and supplements. Don’t give it to your pet either. The choices you make about what to put in their diet is critical to their health and well being. I would highly recommend K9 Critical Care products for the furry loved one in your life.

BjR – Pet Lover

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