What I learned losing a dog to cancer

“You’re wrong”, I remember telling the vet.  “Nobody in my group is allowed to get cancer.”  Of course, while there are a lot of things I can control in my crew, apparently keeping cancer out of our vocabulary didn’t turn out to be one of them. Despite not spraying my yard, not vaccinating beyond puppy shots, and using only tick medication and wormer sparingly, this is the diagnosis it had come down to.  Somehow, I thought we were immune.

Roxie’s rough start 

Roxie had just turned 13 a few months earlier.  I’d taken her in in November 2003 when she and another puppy (that I was not able to catch) showed up down the road near a dry creek bed where a lot of the cats and dogs I’ve rescued over the years have come from.  She was a little puppy, but she was feisty, barking at us instead of coming when called and not wanting human interaction of any kind.  I finally had to catch her by sticking my hand in a hole under a big rock she’d crawled into and coaxing her out slowly with food.  Hence her name, Roxie.

Roxie was about 8 weeks old and weighed six pounds.  She was covered in mats, dirt, cockle burrs and debris.  She looked a lot like the neighbors’ Great Pyrenees dogs about 1-1/4 miles down the road, but when we called, he said he wasn’t missing any dogs.  Considering he lived in a house that looked like nobody lived there, it wasn’t really surprising.  Given her condition, we were glad that she’d escaped and that he didn’t claim her.

Roxie had hair missing from her tail and her ear, so we’d decided to get her well and then find her a good home.  She was such a little character, though, that we fell in love with her and decided to keep her.  Having come from a line of dogs living in such deplorable conditions, she apparently inherited a very strong immune system.  Before August 2016, the only time I could recall Roxie needing to go to the vet was for her puppy shots and to be spayed.

My dog got cancer
Roxie as a puppy. For the first few weeks, she hid under the furniture.

Reliable Roxie

Fast forward all those years of having Roxie outside every night, except the nights that were too bad (by my standards, not hers, as I’m pretty sure she had none when it came to the weather).  As a breed known for protecting livestock, she took being on the lookout very seriously despite there being no livestock to protect.  When she did want in the garage, usually because she wanted out of the heat, she would stand outside of the house and bark in a way that I knew exactly what she wanted.  If I took too long to let her in, when I did let her in, she’d be ‘sassy’ in what can best be described in an Arrr, Arrr, Arrr kind of whiney and playful way as she threw her head around.  Basically, I was being scolded by my dog for being too slow to respond to her request.

my dog's cancer diagnosis
Roxie preferred to be outside as much as possible. Here, she used my pampas grass as a makeshift nest.

A urinary tract infection (UTI) diagnosis

In August 2016, Roxie stopped eating like normal and was having trouble getting around.  I wasn’t entirely surprised the two were going hand in hand because the hip and joint supplement I was giving her was sprinkled on her food, so if she wasn’t consistently eating her food, she wasn’t getting her supplement and therefore, it was a trickle-down effect.  She was also having trouble going potty.

Suspecting something like a UTI, but wanting to be sure, due to her age, I made an appointment with the vet.  On August 26th, 2016 after a blood and urine test, Roxie was diagnosed with a UTI.  The vet had said these ‘older girls’ sometimes got UTI’s from holding their bladder so long.  We were given some antibiotics and sent home.

While the antibiotics helped, they didn’t completely alleviate Roxie’s symptoms.  Instead of putting her on more antibiotics, I decided, since we’d gotten a diagnosis of what the issue was, I’d put her on some natural remedy supplements and try to keep her ‘lady parts’ trimmed where the vet said the infection likely stemmed from.

I researched naturally treating UTI’s extensively online and came up with Resources Canine Urinary Tract Support  http://amzn.to/2vomSAT being highly recommended.  After using them for a couple of weeks and not having any better luck with them than I did the antibiotics, I decided to try the other product I’d found that also had very high success among users, Pala Tech Cranberry Plus Chew Tabs  http://amzn.to/2v4RKE0.

Hindsight is 20/20

Looking back, of course I’d have done things differently, had I only known.  It didn’t help matters that September 2016 had been a very hectic month. Besides Roxie having her potty issues and her appetite waning so much I had to constantly try different foods and tricks to get her to eat, I also had a cat go missing in August and we had been out aggressively looking for him.  While looking for him, we ended up taking in a new cat in September that we ran across in our search that was not being fed in hopes he’d go away and then upgraded to being kept in the garage.

To add more chaos to life, Lacey, one of my other rescue dogs, had a scary episode one Saturday of not being able to get up, drooling profusely, and being panicked, which required a costly after-hours emergency vet visit.  Between monitoring Roxie’s potty habits, acclimating a new cat to my other five cats, looking for a lost cat, and checking on Lacey regularly to make sure she was doing okay, all while trying to work, I was doing the best I could.

I also wasn’t extremely concerned about Roxie’s UTI being a bigger issue than it was because aside from the squatting more than usual to go potty and still not eating or subsequently getting around that well, she was acting pretty normal.  Her blood work, according to the vet, was fine and everything I’d read about senior dogs made it sound like a decreased appetite wasn’t really that unusual.  If I hand fed her, Roxie would eat two cans of the canned food most days I offered it to her, so I felt like that was encouraging.

Roxie, always in good health, isn’t getting better

As a rule, up to this point, my animals had all been very healthy.  I’d never had a dog with a UTI and my previous dogs, including my two other seniors, had smoothly sailed into their teens without much trouble.  Aside from a cough that I had almost completely eliminated, Sadie was otherwise very healthy at 13-1/2 before the vet had prescribed her the NSAID Previcox for arthritis, which proved fatal, that I wrote about here, http://savingcatsdogsandcash.com/previcox-killed-my-dog/.

Sadie’s brother, Justin, was 14-1/2 when I decided neurological issues had affected his quality of life to the point in his last few months that letting him go was the kindest decision for him.  Sadie, Justin, and Roxie had only needed vet care a combined handful of times, so the idea of Roxie having something like cancer, didn’t even enter my realm of possibility.

As the weeks went by, I continued to try things to finally rid Roxie of what I still believed was just a stubborn UTI.  Twice a day, with canned food and supplements, I’d feed her from wherever spot she’d decided to lay out in the yard.  Canned food was still the only food I could consistently get her to eat after trying other options, including attempting to switch her to raw, thinking nobody would refuse that.  Roxie still preferred the canned, so that’s what she got.

The supplements were ones I’d researched to try to bring her back to good health.  Among other things, I tried Golden Paste, the coconut oil, turmeric and fresh ground black pepper mixture well known to fight inflammation, cannabis oil, and apple cider vinegar.  Knowing how hit or miss natural remedies can be and how long they can take to start working, every day I went out to her hoping that was the day that whatever thing I was trying on her, started helping her.

Another diagnosis – this time it’s cancer

Instead of helping her, even with all the things I was trying, Roxie continued to decline.  After her hind legs started to swell and she had even more trouble getting up and walking, despite still getting her daily supplements that had always kept her moving easily, I decided enough was enough and this wasn’t just some UTI that refused to go away.  I called the vet and made an appointment.

In the back of my mind, I think I feared something worse than a bad UTI, but I pushed those thoughts out because no matter how bad things are with anything, I always try to think positive and have hope.  All my researching of things online hadn’t even hit on the swelling being related to cancer.

After my three different bad vet experiences with Sadie, Cooper, and Lacey, I honestly didn’t have much faith in any of them.  I didn’t have the money for expensive tests and I wasn’t about to give Roxie anything with dangerous side effects after seeing what Previcox had done to Sadie.  I hoped that whatever it was was easily and quickly treatable with natural remedies.

Roxie’s appointment was on November 18th.  When the vet ran the tests and came back in the room, her news was nothing short of devastating. Aside from the Lymphedema in her legs, Roxie had a UTI, a fever, and was anemic.  She thought Roxie either had Lymphosarcoma or Bladder Cancer.

As shocking and heartbreaking as either of those diagnosis’ were to hear, even more upsetting was her telling me that 50% OF DOGS OVER AGE 10 GET CANCER.  Why didn’t that first vet we saw back in August tell me this?!  And how did Roxie go from just having a UTI a few months ago to her current dire state?

I can tell you unequivocally without a doubt, that if I had been made aware of that cancer statistic at our first vet visit, I would have been much more concerned after the run of antibiotics and the other urinary tract supplements I tried, failed to give her permanent relief.

One out of two dogs getting cancer is a serious statistic and even though I would never have expected it to happen in my crew, I feel it is valuable information that every dog owner should know.  Especially those with dogs well over ten and having health issues that could be indicative of a more serious problem.  Instead, after looking at Roxie’s blood and urine test results, the previous vet had downplayed her symptoms and diagnosis as just the result of Roxie being a senior female dog.

The fight for Roxie’s life

Still in shock and disbelief, all I could do was cry.  Cry for Roxie and the fact that we’d lost valuable time fighting whatever this was because I’d only been led to believe it was a run of the mill UTI common in older female dogs and had been treating it as such.  The vet, ready to give up on Roxie, went through the options, none of which were going to help, only make her “comfortable” before she died.  Giving my dog immune suppressing drugs when she needed her immune system to fight this disease was not an option.  I knew Roxie was tough and if any of my dogs could ever beat this, it would be her.

I brought Roxie home to begin our fight now that I knew approximately what we were fighting.  We were very late to the game and things didn’t look good at all, but I was determined to save Roxie.  And prove this vet wrong.  Especially after she’d told me that if Roxie were her dog, she’d take her off of all of the supplements I had her on.

I set about researching every possible cancer treatment or cure there was. There is a docu-series titled ‘The Truth About Cancer’ which I had watched parts of the year before that talked about all of the cancer treatments available that are not widely known that have been used to cure it.  A couple of them that I had jotted down, just in case, were Essiac Tea and the Budwig Diet.

I bought this Essiac Tea Concentrate  http://amzn.to/2uaiupu  from Amazon and had it overnighted.  I also had Will go by the health store and pick me up a few large bottles of Flaxseed Oil and some low fat cottage cheese for the Budwig diet protocol.  With Thanksgiving coming up and him being gone visiting his family out of state for a few days, I didn’t want to have to leave Roxie for a minute.  By this time, she was needing help getting up to go out and not always making it.

I wish I could say that the Essiac Tea, Budwig Diet, powdered Argentinian beef liver, the tons of supplements I bought to help boost her immune system, including liposomal vitamin C, shark cartilage, mushroom immunity booster, Artemisinin, Astragalus, and Cat’s Claw saved Roxie.  But they didn’t.  She passed away December 10th, 2016, three weeks after her diagnosis and 3-1/2 months after her first vet visit.

Another dog lost, another hard lesson learned

Maybe if I’d been more proactive with vet care, or the vet had paid more attention to Roxie’s symptoms or the blood test results or even mentioned that there was a 50% chance Roxie might have or would get cancer, the outcome would have been different.  It’s hard to say.  One thing is for certain though, now that I know the awful statistic and that my animals aren’t immune, I will never be so reserved with any treatment when appetite disappears and doesn’t come back within a few days.  In both Sadie and Roxie’s cases, that was the start of the end.

Roxie’s story is another instance of as a pet owner, you have to trust your gut or just as importantly, be informed.  I’m not sure how, with as much time as I spend online, I never saw the statistic that 50% of dogs over age 10 get cancer, but I can tell you I will forever be paranoid about it now.  Cancer is a nasty disease that can obviously have common symptoms with other maladies and it can strike and kill quickly if not diagnosed properly and/or treated correctly and promptly.

Despite feeding raw, minimizing vaccines and toxic exposure, adding supplements, or whatever else you may be doing that you believe makes your dog immune from cancer, just know that statistic.  And if your senior dog begins to have any health issues, don’t let a naive/uninformed/negligent or whatever the case may be, vet be nonchalant about it.

If your vet brushes you off or you question the diagnosis, don’t be hesitant to go back or get a 2nd opinion.  You would have thought I’d have learned my lesson after the nightmare with Sadie and that vet, but apparently, I didn’t realize just how common vet negligence was until I lost two dogs from it.

I will be writing a future post about treating cancer naturally and all of the products I researched and tried, as well as the ones that seemed promising, but that I didn’t try.  If you aren’t subscribed to my newsletter yet, please sign up for it so you don’t miss it.


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21 thoughts on “What I learned losing a dog to cancer

  1. This is a heartbreaking story. I am not surprised at the statistic, as we live in a toxic world, even though personally we try to do everything we can to avoid toxicity. The most agonizing thing is realizing that sometimes, no matter what you do, you will lose. Very hard pill to swallow, so to speak. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I think that stat comes out of all the years of feeding dogs kibble. So I’d be taking that stat with a grain fo salt, so to speak. My understanding, from all that I’ve been learning about the kibble industry, is that dogs did not get cancer (or any of these other usual diseases we are now so familiar with) anywhere nearly as frequently, before kibble came into common use.

    Do you know about low dose naltrexone? Acronym LDN. Many people have been having success with prolonging their pets’ lives using this. This is a very safe medication. On par with holistic. There are no side effects. But you do require a prescription, AND a vet who is willing to prescribe it. Loads of info on the net. Just google LDN and dogs/cats. There are Facebook groups for support and advice.

    Had I known about kibble and LDN and all the rest of it, I am sure I could have prolonged the lives of a few of our beloved pets, both dogs and cats. I grieve still. And feel guilty, even though it is the veterinary system that is to blame. I now do all my homework before agreeing to any vet recommendations.

    1. Tamara,

      I’m not sure what that statistic is based off, but in his book, Dr. Martin Goldstein, who is a holistic vet, was seeing 35 new cases of cancer a week in 1999, when he wrote his book. He said a 1998 survey of disease related deaths among pets conducted by the nonprofit Morris Animal Foundation equated to 720 canine deaths, with 479 cancer-caused. That’s over 66%. In cats, in 468 deaths, death from cancer was 32%, also the highest reason for cat deaths. It did not break down what kind of a diet these animals were on.

      Dr. Goldstein also said a lot of the cases he was seeing more and more of were in younger dogs that they had formerly seen in old dogs. Many were not even living past 5 years of age. He also said “The assault begins with those processed and packaged foods that most of us give our pets.” He went on to mention toxins in water and in the drugs that are meant to help our pets as other culprits.

      Like you, the more I read about how awful the quality of the ingredients in kibble is and how it is processed, I tend to agree with you and Dr. Goldstein, but just feeding six cats and one of my dogs raw is very time and space consuming. It is definitely my goal to switch everyone to raw when I can afford to since it will involve buying another refrigerator and a higher electric bill. With Abby’s original lipoma surgery earlier this year and another one in our near future, I just can’t afford any more expenses, unfortunately. Even switching to raw scares me though, with all the drugs pumped into livestock nowadays. I can’t even afford to eat organic meat, so there’s no way I can afford to do that with 10 animals. Until then, I make homemade bone broth that I give my dogs with their kibble, which I rotate with the higher quality brands. I also randomly fast them. Even then, once you lose a pet to prescription drugs or cancer, it changes your outlook on everything and makes you paranoid about every drug or food or possible toxin you expose your pet to. It’s sad that the way you really learn about the dangers of this stuff is to experience a loss from it first hand.

      Thank you for sharing the information about Naltrexone (LDN). I had not heard of it and after checking, it isn’t in any of my holistic vet books. Despite its safety record, anything made in a lab still scares the daylights out of me after Sadie and the Previcox nightmare. I am going to make a note of it though, and put it in my books for easy-to-find future reference, in case something comes up in the future that it might help.

      1. I so hear you about lack of money! We are similarly limited – living below poverty level.

        What I give our 4 cats and dog is thawed blocks of raw ground bones, meat and organs that we buy in a town about 45 minutes from here. It is from a meat rendering facility – the stuff left over from preparing meat for humans. They grind it and freeze it into blocks and sell by the bag, very cheap, expressly for cats and dogs.

        I agree with you absolutely about the issue of what the heck is in “regular” meat by products – hormones, etc. And we also can’t afford organic for ourselves. What we get for our buddies is not top grade, by any means, but it is miles better than what is sold as commercial pet food.

        I usually let a few blocks thaw, give some of that to the buddies, and then cook the rest up, gently, rather than leaving it out raw for too long.

        Often I have to mix in some canned President’s Choice dog food, the least offensive type, in order to make sure they eat – we have a few picky eaters. This enables us to feed five animals inexpensively, but in a manner that is still superior to fancy kibble. And also still better than most canned stuff.

        For the dog we also get a lot of scraps from local butchers. For free.

        And I add supplements and herbs.
        The rendered blocks provide the needed bone and organ as well as meat that carnivores require. The amount of bone is rather high, which is another reason I like to mix in some canned.

        If we did not have access to the frozen rendered meat product, I’d have to figure out another way, because I just cannot ever go back to kibble. I would even be willing to consider raising mice… it would be a difficult task for my little heart, but they reproduce like crazy, because they “know” they are at the bottom of the food chain.

        For now, some of the kitties supplement their diet their own way, with what they catch outdoors.

        Three excellent websites about cat health – in case you are not already familiar:


        There are sections in each that explain why kibble is not good for cats.

        Some of this you likely already know. This is from some material I put together for other people I have been trying to give good info to.

        – the processing involved to produce kibble destroys any value the ingredients may have had.

        – chemicals are put into kibble to allow it to sit a long time in the warehouse and on store shelves.

        – oils become rancid, and sometimes toxic, such as flax seed. If you see ground flax seed, or flax seed oil in ANY type of pet food, DO NOT BUY IT. The ONLY way to eat flax is FRESHLY ground.

        – some kibble brands include probiotic ingredients, such as lactobacillus. Probiotics require refridgeration!

        Buying the expensive so-called quality kibble is a waste of money, as well as harmful to your cat.

        Kibble will NOT clean the teeth, no matter what a vet wants customers to believe.

        The best tooth cleaning comes from nature: the tearing and chewing of bones, meat, cartilage, etc..

        The term “Science” in the brand, Hill’s Prescription Science Diet, is a marketing gimmick. It has nothing to do with adequate nutrition, or species-appropriate food.
        This stuff is full of ingredients NOT SUITABLE FOR CATS! I have included this little diatribe here because I came across someone once foolishly saying there is a good reason for the “science” part of the product name. Ya. Right.

        Before kibble was invented, cats and dogs lived much longer than they do now. Kibble has been around so long that we have forgotten this fact. We have become accustomed and accepting of the shortened lifespans of these animals. Dogs should be living at least into their 20s. Cats far longer than that.

        One contributing factor to early deaths, and many illnesses, including cancers, comes from the excess vaccinations our pets are being subjected to.

        Some people think it is fine to add a liquid to kibble. This will not make it better. It just makes a really bad product wet. That is all.


        Catcentric.org and Catcentric the Facebook group, say: any canned is better than even the most expensive dry. That said, in my pre-awareness days, I once gave a little bit of crappy canned stuff, as a treat, to the two cats we had at the time, which they happily ate up, and then promptly barfed. So, I would add a caveat to that idea of “any” canned being better than kibble.
        About dogs AND cats…..

        History of Kibble
        Kibble was brought about during the war because we weren’t allowed to use the metal cans, so kibble was created and put in a bag.  Some will tell you that there are hundreds of years of science beyond kibble; this is incorrect…

        Thanks to kibble we are seeing a rise in obesity, diabetes, and related health issues.  Kidney disease is the number one killer in cats.  

        After watching this movie, I [person writing the review] can’t bring myself to promote feeding a kibble diet to others.

        I don’t remember where I got this:
        “We realize dry foods are, in essence, baked, and canned foods are heat-processed, which helps with infectious agents — that is a good thing. But you have ingredients in pet foods that are mixed together and heat processed and these ingredients contain the proteins and sugars that result in dietary AGEs….Advanced Glycated End-Products
        Dietary advanced glycated end-products or AGEs are compounds that occur in our foods. The heating and processing causes sugars to ‘glycate’ or stick onto the proteins — this reaction changes protein structures.”

        this same reaction occurs naturally in our bodies and results in changes in tissue protein structures.


        You won’t find anything about LDN in any current holistic books because it is still not well-enough known. But, there are holistic vets who are beginning to learn about it (it is the same with human doctors – many still do not know about it, or, worse, are not willing to learn about it, because it conflicts with their connections to BigPharma).

        Low dose Naltrexone for pets can help their immune system. It is used to help fight cancer as well as Lyme disease and immune system issues. It helps boost the immune system. I am it myself. And I am in complete agreement with you about anything created in a lab. But for what I am dealing with, health-wise, LDN, along with natural supplements and dietary considerations, is working for me a heck of a lot better than conventional meds that would be prescribed to me by – please excuse me – stupid doctors.

        Here is a short blurb about its use for pets:

        I am a member of a FB group about LDN for pets, but I haven’t visited it in a long while, and am having trouble finding it again. When I do, I’ll let you know. Great place for support and advice.

        The LDN group for humans that I am member of is called: GOT ENDORPHINS? LDN (Low Dose Naltrexone)

        You could join it and learn more there.

        I think the very best possible site to learn about LDN for pets (specifically dogs) to start with, is this one:
        dognasalcancertreatmentforlucy.blogspot.ca/…/low… /react-text

        Also, for feeding other than kibble, on a low budget, try the FB group Catcentric – unless you are already there, of course! Beware: sometimes there are thoughtless people who say you shouldn’t have pets if you cannot afford to feed them. Whenever I have encountered that, I chastise the person for being so low, stupid and insensitive. BUT. For the most part, the folks are very kind and supportive.

        I am no longer there because I became overwhelmed by how many people do not do their homework and keep asking the same darn questions. Also, I am very anti-kibble, and that group claims to not tolerate discussions advocating kibble, but it is not consistent, and I lost patience.

        Also, I am adamantly opposed to the use of Prozac for pets, and I have seen too many advocates of its use. I also got tired of trying to educate people about the use of products such as scented candles, febreze, dryer sheets, etc. – how these are terribly toxic (especially for cats). I have so much on my plate I decided the best thing for me was to sign off. But I still highly recommend the group as one of the better ones out there.

        I LOVE all your photos of your crew!

        1. Tamara,

          Thank you for your very detailed and helpful reply. You actually hit on a couple of topics that I’m planning on writing about in future posts and I agree with so much of what you said.

          My cats have never been on kibble, except as a side between some canned food, for a bit, as an alternative protein source. I agree with you about how awful it is for them and I have read many heartbreaking stories about people losing cats much too young from kidney failure that have been on a diet of only dry kibble. I don’t believe that is a coincidence.

          After I took in Moose last September, who had a voracious appetite, I could no longer afford to feed all six of my cats canned food. After I’d been feeding my lab raw for a few months AND lost Roxie to cancer from ?, I did the math and it was cheaper to feed them raw, so they all eat raw, plus whatever they get outside, which is usually mice.

          That’s interesting about your meat rendering place selling you the parts. I actually called my local meat processing plant and he told me he was unable to sell any organs or other unwanted (rendered) parts unless the person buying them had bought the entire animal. He said it was against the law. I gave him my name and number to call me if he had anyone willing to sell me their organs or other parts and I’ve yet to get a call.

          I’m currently feeding kibble and homemade bone broth to three of my dogs now, since all of my dogs are on the bigger side 17, 55, 65 and 100 lbs. and two are young and very active, which equates to more food needed. The cats eat about 3 lbs. of food a day and Abby gets around 1.5 lbs., so 4.5 lbs. per day total of raw food doesn’t take long to fill up the fridge. They always have more food in there than we do. lol My deep freeze is small and only holds so much, so as much as I’d prefer not to feed kibble, it’s just not feasible right now for me.

          It takes a lot of time to thaw the meat, cut it all up, cut off excess fat, weigh it, etc., etc. You also need to rotate your proteins and while chicken and pork, when on sale are affordable, other proteins, including beef, are not. I use the bone broth on all the dogs’ food because I have the bones from the raw feeding, so why not make their meal more enjoyable? I also add fish oil and other supplements, especially to the older ones’ food.

          Sometimes, you just have to do the best you can until you can do better. I’m certainly not doing the best for them because I don’t want to or don’t know better, it’s because I simply can’t afford to right now. 2016 was an awful year with unexpected expenses almost every single month and Abby’s surgeries are not cheap. Maybe when one of my rescues becomes an internet celebrity, I’ll have the money to feed them all raw. lol

          Thank you for taking the time to share your resources, thoughts, what you have learned, and what is working for you and your fur family. And thank you for your kind words about my crew!

          1. Try Catcentric, to explain your situation, as a person who regularly rescues abandoned animals. I have seen some people talking about lack of money, and others suggesting possible ways to get financial help in such cases. What you are doing seems to me to warrant some assistance. I don’t know how effective such things as GoFundMe are, but something like that maybe?

            Regarding the FB group about LDN for pets, it is called LoveOurPetsLDN
            and I may have been kicked out. I can be outspoken when it comes to certain topics. Some pet owners do not want to hear about how crappy food and exposure to toxic chemicals are important considerations when it comes to illness, and that, as it is with humans, LDN won’t be able to do its thing if you eat lousy food and continue to expose yourself to toxic chemicals, or, do not address other possible health problems.

  3. You sound like me. I have had dogs where I should have trusted my gut but did not and I lost them. It is hard. I learn from each lesson like you do but I wish we could have more vets that we could trust to save our pets. I had one dog that four different vets had four different diagnosis-none of which involved my dog dying but she did and tragically with us by her side. It was horrible and my husband says we could not have known if four different vets did not know. I am glad I found this blog. You and your husband are good people. Keep doing what you do because your lessons help many more people.

    1. Awwww…thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so sorry about the loss of your dog. It sounds like you tried to do everything right, which makes the loss that much harder.

      I agree wholeheartedly with you about learning from the losses and the disappointment in vets. I’ve read enough vet horror stories online to know it happens to a lot of people, but sadly, we all just find out too late. Hopefully, sharing my lessons and losses will help others before they get to the “too late” part.

  4. My cat was also misdiagnosed as constipation in early 2016, when I specifically told them I suspected cancer. They took tests & assured me it definitely was not. I knew my cat all his life & just had that instinct, but couldn’t get a confirmation. I wasted months thinking & treating him for constipation. Then when his legs started to give out on him, I knew I was seeing quacks & took him to another clinic & they, with just feeling his body, told me they felt a lump & I knew it was colon cancer. By that time it was too late for treatment & he passed away after a week later in 2016 at age 13, on the day of his birthday. His cancer also accelerated after the first vet prescribed lactulose. If we had a competent vet that gave a timely diagnosis, he would have been with us now. 90% of the conventional vets out there are incompetent and/or uncaring.

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss! I think things like this happen a lot more than people realize. It’s sad that the only way we learn sometimes is through the very hard lesson of losing a pet. I hope that others that read my story and yours will learn from our experiences and not be so trusting of a diagnosis that our vet gives us that doesn’t resolve the issue in a reasonable amount of time.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my Sophie to a very aggressive cancer when she was 6 years old. From diagnosis to gone was 3 weeks. She had very bad allergies and there was a new miracle drug! Apoquel! It will stop the scratching and her skin will heal! It did just what it said. For two years there wasn’t an allergy problem in sight. When we took her to the vet because she had developed an egg size lump (she was a 5 pound Yorkie so it was HUGE) on her back next to her spine/chest (in a week!!) the biopsy came back that it was cancer. The vet said, well, uh, we are now gathering information because there is a high incidence of cancer in dogs who have taken Apoquel long term. We took her to a specialist and had all the tests – CT, ANOTHER biopsy to be sure, and a consult with the oncologist. It was inoperable as it had invaded the chest wall and the spine. What was inside was much worse than that egg sized lump on her back. If we removed it, there was a 90% chance that she would be paralyzed because it was in her spine, and it was doubtful that they could get it all. Radiation was offered, but it was only palliative and wouldn’t cure her but we could get another 3 months or so. We chose to let her go because the pain meds were horrible and it was a fight to get them in her. My heart is broken. BEWARE of miracle drugs!!!

    1. Gale,

      Wow, that is a heartbreaking story. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sadly, like I have done a few times myself, we learn our lessons too late. I am not familiar with Apoquel, so thank you for sharing Sophie’s tragic story here for others to read and hopefully learn from.

  6. Our cat’s Boo blood work was perfect, and she was 14 year’s old , she was crying at night some nights, so I knew something was up. The vet told me she was fine and it was just old age. A couple months later I took her back told it was UTI . Then told they made a mistake, it wasn’t a UTI. Took her to Vet #2 did an ultrasound of her organs quickly found a tumor in her kidney . What I quickly learned as a pet owner. Always ask for blood work up and ultrasound of the organs if your suspect something . The vets options, were out because the risk to our cat Boo could be death Tried an holistic approach after research put her on Essiac tea, Vitality Science Immune Restoration Program and Sovereign Silver. Life is journey and just got to keep the faith and trust that all will work out .

    1. Soph,

      How sad that your first vet thought your cat’s crying out was “just old age”. I’m literally on about my 10th vet and I can tell you that I still have yet to find one that I trust 100%. They are too quick to dismiss things or too quick to prescribe (sometimes potentially very harmful) medications that only treat the symptoms instead of getting to the root of the cause.

      I have found that in most cases, it’s best to get blood testing and x-rays or ultrasounds done to rule out major issues, but take the diagnosis, if you get one, and do your own research on how to best treat it. Most holistic vets do phone consults too, so you can have your pet’s records sent or send them yourself, to get an opinion from a holistic vet on treating the issue.

      Thank you for sharing your experience, which is a good reminder of how vet’s are not always correct in their diagnosis and sometimes we just have to take matters into our own hands.

  7. Makes me cry, and rage, about all this vet nonsense. I feel for everyone here, and you, CC, for all that we deal with, with vets.
    Since writing my last comment here, I’m in the middle of once again changing what I feed my now 6 cats and one dog. Working on eliminating the canned food I was adding to the raw along with supplements. Looking for a Canadian shop that sells quality desiccated liver, since 3 of the cats won’t eat the cut up fresh liver. Not an easy task! And I have to make sure that what I prepare is properly balanced. As well as not too costly for our limited budget.
    Thinking of everyone, how we all struggle to do the best we can for our dear fur family.

    1. Tamara,

      Yes, the frustration with vets and their dismissive attitudes about ailments and most recently drug side effects, has really spurred my interest in learning more about other ways of treating my pets, including Traditional Chinese Medicine and Homeopathy.

      I’ve found that instead of high quality canned food, which is extremely expensive, the most economical way for me to feed my animals raw is to buy chicken thighs and pork loins on sale, which is actually quite often. We get them for around $1.49 to $1.99/lb. Chicken hearts are also usually pretty cheap and they count as a “muscle” in raw feeding.

      As far as the liver issue, I switched to using a liver powder because I had cats that were picking out the liver pieces, leaving little to none for the other cats that came along. Too much organ meat can cause diarrhea, so instead of monitoring every cat every time they ate, I found it easier to just use the powder. I also have a dog that doesn’t like the texture of liver and will spit it out on the floor.

      I just mix the powder into the entire container of meat, so everyone gets some every time I dole out the food. I use NOW brand liver powder (since you’re in Canada, you might need the iherb link here, https://www.iherb.com/pr/Now-Foods-Liver-Powder-12-oz-340-g/656) in rotation with Ancestral Supplements (on my Amazon ‘Shop’ page) that contains several organs, to ensure my pets are getting all the nutrients they need. Where I’m at, getting grass-fed anything is very expensive if you can even find it, so this is what I do.

      If you are concerned about making sure you get all the nutrients and minerals your pets need, you can also buy fortifiers. I’m currently using Nature’s Logic All Food Fortifier. Remember that you want long-term balance, not necessarily daily, as that is nearly impossible to do while trying to feed numerous animals. That’s why I like to switch up and around the meats/organs/etc. and supplements I use.

  8. I so appreciate the amount of research you do, and what you aim for, for your crew.

    I’ve been looking into home drying liver – while a bit time-consuming, it is apparently VERY cost-effective. Part of my interest is to also supplement the humans in the household, as the benefits seem to be great. Just an idea for you – to dry your own – just need your oven and a regular blender.

    I had found the Ancestral Supplements, as well, and was very interested in their multi-organ product. But the risk of having Border Customs confiscating it, on top of the exchange rate increase in cost, has made me drop that wish. It seems to make so much sense to include as many of the other organs in the pet diet!

    I looked at Nature’s Logic and some of the ingredients I would be concerned about, such as the flax seed. I don’t know if it is ground – I am assuming it is. Are you aware of the hazard of the deterioration of the oil? It becomes toxic very quickly. I know this personally, from having bought the oil, and forgetting to monitor the best-before date.

    A few years ago, we had bought a big bag of ground flax seed, from a local mill, before I learned about this problem. Well. That big bag went to the compost. Wasn’t taking any chances with our fur buddies. And now I avoid any product that contains flax seed as an ingredient.

    It amazes me what kinds of ingredients some companies put into their would-be quality foods. Such as vegetable oils (ie canola). Cats should not be given this.

    Do you have a position on the issue of whole raw egg, versus yolks only, for cats?

    1. Tamara,

      I just don’t have the time to take on any more right now, so making my own dried liver isn’t an option for me. If you end up doing it, let me know how it goes! Sorry to hear about all the hassle with trying to getting the Ancestral supplements! I wonder if you contacted the company or went to their website, you could find a local supplier of their product that you could buy from so you wouldn’t have to worry about the problems you are worried about? Just a thought.

      You’ve mentioned the flax seed issue before, but I’ve never personally had a problem with it. Anything I’ve bought has been fine and is always kept refrigerated, so I wonder if you just got a bad/old batch or didn’t refrigerate it or something?

      It’s funny you bring up the topic of feeding cats eggs, as I have been thinking about how best to add them to my cats’ diet. I do remember reading once that it wasn’t a good idea to give them the whites of eggs, though I forget the exact reason now, but as I recall, it made sense. I’d have to go back and revisit that research, and if I found that to be the case, I’d have to try to figure out how best to feed them and to not be wasteful. If I come up with a good plan, I’ll be sure to share it. 🙂

  9. We went to vet today to recheck for UTI for our 18yrs old dog. Vet told us she probably has a tumor in her bladder. I remember I’ve read this story of yours few weeks ago so this was a-ha! moment. She’s been having UTI every 4 months for years but our vet had never told us about cancer. I was watching Dr. Sue cancer vet’s you tube video earlier. She mentioned that if your dog is 6 years old or older, they should do x ray and blood test for additional . It’s so frustrating! She’s 18! Every time she had UTI, the vet just gave us antibiotics for 10 days. That’s it! I really hope that more veterinarians provide more information and knowledge to us for prevention or early detection.

    1. Kate,

      Wow, you definitely need to find a new vet. They should have been concerned and at least mentioned doing additional testing when the UTI’s became a frequent issue with your girl. While the vet I now take my animals to that has all of the equipment to do more thorough testing is on board with doing it to be safe, at the end of the day, she’s still 100% conventional and wants to prescribe a drug for any and all issues. It’s a balancing act between getting a correct diagnosis and then deciding how to proceed with treatment. Sometimes I go with her recommendations, other times I use my own researched remedies or use my remedies in addition to conventional medicine.

      At 18, your dog definitely needs more testing, especially since 50% of dogs over age 10 get cancer. I can tell you from firsthand experience, cancer can come on quickly and without any warning.

      At the end of the day, trusting your gut and following your instinct must be your guide to caring for your pet. We have to live with the consequences of our actions or inactions and those can be a hard pill to swallow sometimes.

      I’m sorry you are going through this and have for so long. I recommend finding a holistic vet to help you get to the bottom of this issue and help heal any damage caused by so many rounds of antibiotics. Here is the link to the directory, https://www.ahvma.org/find-a-holistic-veterinarian/. If you don’t have one near you, many also do phone consults.

      I hope you are able to find a vet that will take this issue more seriously and get a confirmed diagnosis, then help your girl have the best golden years she can. Best wishes to both of you!

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