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My Diet While Fighting Osteosarcoma
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6 February 2009
7:38 pm
The Rainbow Bridge

Team Tripawds
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25 April 2007
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Please 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. Please feel free to share your canine cancer diet tips and see what others are feeding their tripawds here in the “Eating Healthy” Forums.

What a Pretty PuppyBefore 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. Basically, I ate a half-BARF, half kibble diet.

Save on Supplements at Only Natural Pet StoreSome 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. She 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.

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. Here’s what my diet looked like:

Rise & Shine: Morning Supplements:

  • 3 Tuna/Salmon Oil pills
  • 1 Glucosamine pill
  • K9 Transfer Factor with peanut butter and a healthy treat

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:

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.

Posing with a stick at Vickers Ranch PondI was also given various medications to help me feel better. People here also gave great new diet tips. At 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

  • Feeding a high quality, no-grain / low-carb food like Natura’s Innova Evo line is best for cancer patients.
  • 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.
  • If your dog has arthritis like Jerry, they may find yummy relief with Zuke’s Power Bones. Zuke’s makes a treat with glucosamine and chondroitin, and they also contribute to the Dog and Cat Cancer Fund.

Save on Supplements – Shop Online:

Further Reading: Canine Cancer Diet Health

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
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19 March 2009
12:04 pm
Here and Now

Team Tripawds
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Others have often asked when is the best time to administer metronomics. The BoneCancerDogs website recommends you give dogs  Cytoxan as one dose in the morning.

"Dogs are born with three legs and a spare."
— Jerry G. Dawg (10/98-10/08)
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6 July 2009
2:41 pm
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Aloha Medicinals (the makers of K9 Immunity) also has this informative page full of helpful Cancer Dog Diet Information.

"Dogs are born with three legs and a spare."
— Jerry G. Dawg (10/98-10/08)
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5 September 2009
4:42 pm
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Does anyone know the best type of food to be on during chemo? I wanted to make sure it would help Bailey stay strong and I wasnt siure what to feed her. The oncologist said to make sure it was approved by the american feed organization or something like that.

ashley shafferman
5 September 2009
10:54 pm

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In general a high protein/low carb diet is usually best for cancer patients, unless your dog has liver or kidney issues (ask your vet).  I personally would not feed raw meat during chemo because of the risk for infection in an immunosuppressed animal but others may disagree. Adding veggies and cooked meats as well as cottage cheese can help a picky eater.

If you are going to make a diet change I would do it gradually over 7-10 days so as not to cause digestive issues. 

Pam and Tazzie

7 December 2009
11:23 pm
The Rainbow Bridge

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In regards to the Vitamin C supplement I took while fighting osteosarcoma, I wanted to post this new blog post by Dr. Demian Dressler, "Vitamin C and the Dog Cancer Update."

"Due to some interesting observations, focus on vitamin C for cancer is still alive and well in the research community.  I’d like to separate the wheat from the chaff and give you some main points.

  • Vitamin C, given by mouth, does not have direct anticancer effects on cancer cells.  The concentration in the blood is too low following oral administration.
  • Vitamin C is known as an anti-oxidant.  While it is at lower doses, the anti-cancer effects at the needed super-doses are actually pro-oxidant. (For more  on these concepts, click here)
  • The way to create the doses needed (vaguely 1000 micromol/L in the blood) is by giving IV injections of the vitamin.  There are published protocols of this having success in a few severe human cancer cases, put out by the Canadian Medical Association.  These can be used with your veterinarian’s cooperation to formulate a plan."

Read the rest of Dr. Dressler's post here.

and learn about his Dog Cancer Survival Guide, here

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
Latest Tripawds News
Read my story here.
9 September 2010
6:02 pm
Portland, Oregon
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Indi's diet is very similar to Jerry's: all raw, above ground veggies and below ground veggies (never heard them referred to that way, but I love it), ground beef or ground chicken, fish oil, and yogurt or an egg. I put it all in the cuisinart once a week, rather than cooking meals daily. 

I like the sound of flax oil and kelp powder. I'll look into that. I'm seeing other dog's recepies on the site but they involve cooking and I want to keep it raw. My one concern at this point (one week post op and no visible cancer) is that she is not full. She is So hungry every day. I want to ad brown rice or a grain…. I'm still reading, but am finding conflicting info on grains. Some say yes, some say no, because even grains are carbs that turn to sugar. 

I'm happy to find another proponent of the raw diet and the non-chemo path. I'm not doing chemo for Ind (expensive, unpredictable results, and painful for all involved).

Indi the Saint Bernard mix had her front left leg amputated on August 31, 2010. She crossed over the rainbow bridge on December 17, 2010, because of a spinal injury, not related to cancer.
9 September 2010
6:12 pm
Here and Now

Team Tripawds
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25 April 2007
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indi said:

I'm still reading, but am finding conflicting info on grains.

Renowned canine cancer vet Dr. Dressler recommends, if you must add bulk with grains, that brown rice and oatmeal (rolled oats, not quick) are the best choises.

"Dogs are born with three legs and a spare."
— Jerry G. Dawg (10/98-10/08)
Please Support Your Tripawds Community!
Have you started a Tripawds Blog yet?
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9 September 2010
6:55 pm
Portage Lake, Maine
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Member Since:
8 December 2009
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Hi Indi's Mom?Dad?

I don't feed a strict BARF diet but use Premixes with raw ground Primal or local ground beef added to them.  For premixes, I use Honest Kitchen Embark, Thrive or Preference.  Embark and Preference are grain free.  Thrive as quinoa in it but is gluten free and low carb.(as are the other two mixes).  I also use a premix by Urban Wolf.  That is the lowest carb content at 6%.  That is also grain free.   Maybe adding a bit of a premix will add some 'bulk'?  Just a thought….

Occasionally, I do use two grained mixes, Sojourner Farms and Honest Kitchen's Keen or Verve mixes.  I do so because Dr. Dressler says it's "ok" to feed grains on occasion ;-) 

I am not doing chemo on my dog either.  She is treated homeopathically by Dr. Charles Loops.  She gets 3 remedies, rotating thru them, 2 times per day.  Plus, a variety of other supp's such as 4Life Transfer Factor Plus and Omega 3's.

Tracy, Maggie's Mom

Maggie was amputated for soft tissue sarcoma 10-20-09 Maggie lost her battle with kidney disease on 8-24-13 http://maggie.tripawds.com/2013/08/24/maggie-january-2000-august-24-2013/
10 September 2010
9:30 am
The Rainbow Bridge

Team Tripawds
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25 April 2007
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There's also Wysong Epigen, a starch-free, 60 pawcent meat kibble that looks good.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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