Researchers Look To Chinese Herbs To Treat Dog Cancer

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
A cancer diagnosis for our dogs can mean a shorter lifespan. A Detroit, Michigan pet hospital is looking to use traditional Chinese medicine to treat spleen cancer.

A clinical study that began in August is looking to use traditional Chinese herbal medicine to treat dogs with spleen cancer in hopes of prolonging their lives. The study is working with dogs who have canine splenic hemangiosarcoma, which is typically treated by taking the spleen after the tumor has burst and bled. Sadly, the surgery could lead to blood loss that is life-threatening, and because the disease is so aggressive and the survival time after surgery is so short, many dogs only live up to two months longer anyway. The cancer just metastisizes too quickly.

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Often chemotherapy is advised after surgery, but the researchers want to see whether or not Chinese herbal medicine protocols will prolong life after surgery of dogs who have no other cancer metasticizing. Dr. Erin Bannink will lead the study and says that they will use Panax notoginseng (San Qi) as the main ingredient in their trial formula. The ginsenosides shown antitumor activity, says Dr. Bannink. She also believes that herbal therapy can help with metastasizing of tumors because they are anti-inflammatory and anti-blood vessel formation.

Dr. Bannink believes that dogs who are treated with the herbal protocol after splenectomies will have better survival times and rates over those who only have splenectomies, and can give survival rates that are comparable or even better than others who have splenectomy and chemotherapy treatments.

Related: What is Hemangiosarcoma in Dogs?

Previously, the hospital has evaluated 14 dogs who had stage II splenic hemangiosarcoma and saw an average survival time of 253 days, along with a 36 percent one-year survival rate.

The study will be free to those who have dogs in the trial, and pet owners who are in the Michigan area and have dogs with stage II splenic hemangiosarcoma can volunteer their dogs by emailing
Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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