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My Diet While Fighting Osteosarcoma

What a Pretty PuppyPlease note: this information is just based on my own experience, and is not meant to replace advice given to you by your vet or other canine health professional. To read about what other pawrents are feeding their tripawds, please visit our “Eating Healthy” Forums.

Before I got sick, I used to eat a half “BARF” diet (Bones and Raw Foods), and half premium Innova EVO kibble diet. I  was lean and healthy, and my system was used to good food already. That’s because when I was about four years old, my Mom found out what’s really in commercial dog food. After that, she never fed conventional dog food to me again – that stuff’s bad.

When we learned I had cancer, we wanted to make sure my diet was as healthy as possible. To point us in the right direction, my Mom did more BARF research and attended a BARF class. She also got a great book called Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats that helped her find the right combination of a human grade, meat and veggie diet for dogs with cancer.She and Dad decided to focus on a few select type of foods and supplements, which we describe below. There are many other choices out there, please do your research and learn what’s best for your dog’s unique health picture.

After I got sick, I still ate a half-BARF, half kibble diet, but some BARFers don’t advise giving dogs kibble and BARF foods simultaneously, because they say kibble slows down digestion of raw meats. My Mom tried to give me a 100 percent BARF diet for a while, but found that I was getting too skinny.

Save on Supplements at Only Natural Pet StoreShe started feeding me small amounts of Innova EVO kibble* with supplements mixed in. As an entree, I got various types of raw meat. I never had a problem with digestion, and once I started eating this way, I maintained a perfect weight of 75 pounds.

Please keep in mind that we are not experts, and your dog’s own nutritional needs may be different. We recommend  talking to a holistic nutritional expert and/or learn all you can about BARF before attempting a diet change for your Tripawd. *Also, since the time of this writing, Evo kibble, made by Natura, has been sold to Proctor and Gamble, and we can no longer feel 100 pawcent confident in this grain-free kibble.

My Dog Cancer Diet

My daily regimen changed over the two years I fought cancer, just like the cancer within me evolved. In my case, the osteosarcoma progressed exactly as textbooks describe it. My diet changed at three distinct times while I fought this disease.

Diet Phase 1: November 2006 to March 2008

After Amputation

I was still happy and spunky after amputation, and had a hearty appetite, but I was slightly slower due to the challenges of one missing front leg. I did not have IV chemotherapy. My pawrents believe that my amazingly good health and longevity was due to my healthy diet, before and after my diagnosis.

My routine was always eating one meal a day, so we kept it that way after I was diagnosed. This is the feeding method that worked for me at this time:

Rise & Shine:

Supplements:

  • 1 Fish Oil Pill

  • 1 Glucosamine pill

Evening Supper

“Meat Nights”:

  • 1 Cup cottage cheese, OR a few Tbsp. plain yogurt

  • One raw “above ground” veggie: like leaves of a dark leavy green (kale, chard, collards, or spinach), chopped fine, OR shredded zucchini or broccoli

  • One raw “below ground” veggie, like some shredded carrots

  • Fresh parsley and garlic

  • 1.5 cups Innova Evo Kibble

  • 1/4 Can Innova Evo

  • Some pieces of raw, meaty chicken, beef or turkey, with bones

“Fish Nights”:

  • Chunks of cooked fish, like salmon or mackerel

  • 1 Cup cottage cheese, OR a few Tbsp. plain yogurt

  • One raw “above ground” veggie: like leaves of a dark leavy green (kale, chard, collards, or spinach), chopped fine, OR shredded zucchini or broccoli

  • One raw “below ground” veggie, like some shredded carrots

  • Fresh parsley and/or garlic

  • 1.5 cups Innova Evo Kibble

Nightly Supplements:

Nightly Medication:

  • Metacam (on food, as needed for pain)

Diet Phase 2: March 2008 to September 2008

Metronomic Therapy Cancer Diet for Lung Mets

Metronomic Therapy drugsIn March, 2008, sixteen months after I was diagnosed, my pawrents learned I had lung mets.

Soon it became clear that the lung tumors were affecting my stamina, and I went on the Metronomic Protocol. About the only side effect I had from this type of chemotherapy was that I could no longer stomach fish more than once a week. I also ate less dairy products.

Because I was much slower, managing my weight became very important. My food proportions decreased, but I still had a good appetite.

We fought the tumors more aggressively, through the Metronomic Protocol, additional diet supplements and K9 Immunity and K9 Transfer Factor, which I was lucky enough to be in a clinical trial for.

Learn About K9 Immunity at:
K9Medicinals.com and DogCancer.net

Here’s what my diet looked like …

Rise & Shine:

Morning Supplements:

    • 3 Salmon Oil pills
    • 1 Glucosamine pill
    • K9 Transfer Factor

Morning Medication:

  • Cytoxan chemotherapy pill, every other day, (by mouth)

Evening Supper:

“Meat Nights”:

  • 1 Cup cottage cheese, OR a few Tbsp. plain yogurt
  • One raw “above ground” veggie: like leaves of a dark leavy green (kale, chard, collards, or spinach), chopped fine, OR shredded zucchini or broccoli
  • One raw “below ground” veggie, like some shredded carrots
  • Fresh parsley and garlic
  • 1.5 cups Innova Evo Kibble
  • 1/4 Can Innova Evo
  • Some pieces of raw, meaty chicken, beef or turkey, with bones. I had fish about once a week.

Nightly Medication:

Nightly Supplements:

    • 1 Tbsp. Flax Seed Oil*
    • 1 Tbsp. Powdered Kelp*
    • 1 Tbsp. Alfalfa Powder
    • 1 Tsp. Super Greens Supplement
    • 1 Vitamin C pill*
    • K9 Immunity
    • 3/4 Tsp. Synflex Glucosamine Supplement for Pets


 

Diet Phase 3: September 2008 to October 2008

When I Stopped my Metronomic Therapy

Metronomic Protocol Meal Preparation SupplementsAt 22 months past my diagnosis, I showed signs of slowing down, had increased coughing and my appetite decreased too. In September, an x-ray of my lungs confirmed what we already suspected: the lung mets had grown exponentially. My lungs were irritated from coughing, which also contributed to my lack of appetite. What was most important at that point, was for me to start eating again.

On the recommendation of Dr. Mullins, Mom and Dad discontinued the Metronomic Therapy, since the Cytoxan was no longer keeping the tumors from growing. Also, as a way to get my appetite back, my pawrents cut out most of my supplements, including the K9 Immunity. I was also given various medications to help me feel better.

People here also gave great new diet tips. Posing with a stick at Vickers Ranch PondAt this point in dealing with a dog’s bone cancer, some people might choose a different approach, like fighting it even more aggressively. But my pawrents and I decided that at this point, it was all about my quality of life and enjoying my food again, instead of continuing to desperately trying to beat the cancer. It wasn’t always easy to get me to eat, and we had a lot of challenges together at this time. Some days, like this one, were better than others.

Here’s what I my diet looked like…

Rise and Shine Morning Supplements:

Morning Medication:

      • Baytril Antibiotic (only for 14 days…my lungs had become irritated from the coughing, and the doctor thought I could have an underlying infection from it)
    • Prednisone corticosteroids, 20 mg. (my pawrents didn’t want to put me on this, as they are aware of the dangers of corticosteroids, but the good doctor suggested that a very low dosage would help alleviate lung irritation, and keep my coughing under control. She was right).
    • Carafate & Pepcid AC (for 7 and 14 days, to help any irritation my stomach might be experiencing from the switchover from Metacam to Prednisone. Risks in immediately switching from an NSAID to a Steroid can include gastric irritation and stomach ulcers, and the Pepcid AC can help alleviate any early symptoms).
    • Tramadol, 100 mg. (to help calm me down from the increased panting I was experiencing).
    • Robitussin DM (sugar free, to help control my coughing)

Lunch:

      • Treats, like freeze dried liver
    • Robitussin DF
    • Tramadol as needed

Evening Supper:

      • MEAT: Some pieces of raw, meaty chicken, beef or turkey, with bones (at this point, my stomach couldn’t handle fish any more)
    • 1/4 Can moist, stinky food, like venison, elk, or even cat food
    • 1.5 cups Innova Evo Kibble

Nightly Medication:

Bedtime: Nightly Medication:

      • Prednisone
    • Pepcid AC
    • Tramadol
    • Robitussin DF

This was my routine until October 3, 2008, when my spirit was set free. We hope you find this information helpful.

Important Notes about My Canine Cancer Dog Diet

    • Kelp, alfalfa and green foods in general are great for dogs with compromised immune systems. Kelp has many essential minerals, and binds with toxins in the gastrointestinal tract to prevent their absorption in the body.
    • Fish oils have Omega3 fatty acids, which can help with arthritis, make me more flexible, and keep my cardiovascular system in top shape.
    • Vitamin C should not be fed at the same time as fish oil. Give separately (i.e.; morning and evening)
    • Organic Cold Pressed Flax Seed Oil is best.

    Further Reading: Canine Cancer Diet Health

    5 Responses to “My Diet While Fighting Osteosarcoma”

    1. Thanks for this information! My dog has osteosarcoma and I did not do the amputation, chemo, etc. because he is 10 years old but I have been thinking alot about what I can supplement his diet with to slow down the cancer in his leg and help his overall health. I give him several fish oil pills a day but this gave me more ideas. Thanks!

      • Holly Rae, welcome to Tripawds! We are sorry to hear about your pup, but he is definitely in great hands with a caring pawrent like you. We are so hoppy to hear that the article had some good ideas. If you want to talk to other pawrents about diet, nutrition, whatever, come see us in our Discussion Forums OK? Good luck to you and your boy.

    2. Thank you for the info!

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