We were skeptical when we first heard of using mushrooms to help dog cancer patients stay healthy. But after we were reassured by a naturopathic human oncologist that mushroom therapy is routinely prescribed to human cancer patients, we decided to give it a try. It was then that we gave the go-ahead for Tripawds Spokesdog Jerry to participate in a K9 Immunity clinical trial.
Ultimately, we felt that the K9 Immunity formula gave Jerry an excellent quality of life, even while his body was fighting osteosarcoma metastasis.
For seven more months the cancer didn’t spread, even after lung mets were discovered.
While K9 Immunity wasn’t the miracle cure we dreamed about, it did prove to us that mushroom therapy can make a difference when fighting dog and cat cancer.
How Do Mushrooms Fight Cancer?
According to Dressler and co-author Sue Ettinger, DVM Dip. (ACVIM) Oncology, authors of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide:
“There are many studies that look at medicinal mushrooms and cancer. There is some evidence for direct anti-cancer actions in the body when they are given by mouth, but even stronger evidence that they boost the immune response and increase life quality for cancer patients.”
Dressler and Ettinger add:
“Mushrooms contain natural compounds, called polysaccharides (simple sugars which are strung together), and the most important polysaccharides for cancer patients are called beta-glucans . . . Beta-glucans can bind to the outside of natural killer (NK) cells and other immune system cells, responsible for destroying cancers, and help “turn them on” and increase their activity. “
How Beta-Glucans Work in the Body
Mushrooms can be administered to both dogs and cats who are fighting cancer, although most oncologists prefer to wait until chemotherapy treatments are complete before beginning mushroom therapy.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that beta-glucans may:
- boost overall white blood cell activity in the body
- slow down replication of cancer cells
- kickstart apoptosis
- act as an antio-angiogeneic
Mushrooms with the most effective amounts of beta-glucans include:
- Cordyceps sinesis
- Maitake (Grifola frondosa)
Some of the best prices on immune boosting mushrooms can be found at Amazon. K9 Immunity is the only one we have personally tried in Jerry’s cancer therapy, so we can’t speak for any of the others. If you have personal experience with these other brands, we would love to hear your thoughts below in the Comments section.
K9 Immunity Available at:
Learn More About Medicinal Mushrooms
Healing Mushrooms, by Georges M. Halpern
Written by Dr. Georges M. Halpern, a top medical scientist, this easy-to-use guide provides a fresh look at the history and uses of eight major healing mushrooms: maitake, reishi, shiitake, Cordyceps sinensis, Agaricus blazei, Phellinus linteus, Trametes versicolor, and Hericium erinaceus. The book begins by describing how ancient cultures of the East and West utilized mushrooms to combat the ravages of disease. It then looks at how modern science has refocused its attention on the healing properties of mushrooms and, along the way, discovered some wonderful new properties of these gifts of the earth. The chapters that follow examine the folklore, the health benefits, and even the culinary uses of each of the mushrooms under discussion.
Included are detailed instructions on how to buy, store, and use these products, as well as a helpful, up-to-date resource section offering important consumer information.
Medicinal Mushrooms (Herbs and Health Series), by Christopher Hobbs.
This modern handbook for exploring and understanding the rich traditions of healing fungi in Eastern and Western cultures is the most complete work on the cultural, health-promoting and medicinal uses of mushrooms ever published!. Author Christopher Hobbs thoroughly documnents and details the nutritional and health benefits of over 100 species of edible fungi.
“Mushroom toxicity, uses in traditional medicine, and appearances in the human diet are supported by clinical studies and explorations of cultural influences in this technical coverage. Over 100 species of edible fungi are documented in the most complete work on medicinal mushrooms published to date.”– Midwest Book Review
The Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms, by Mark Stengler
Among their many benefits, medicinal mushrooms have been shown to restore the competency of the immune system and to improve the outcome for people with a variety of serious illnesses, including cancer, hepatitis, and other conditions where effective nontoxiic treatment options are limited.
The Health Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms” describes the most common supplemental medicinal mushrooms-including maitake, reishi, shiitake, and cordyceps-and their best clinical uses
Please note that we are not veterinarians. The information presented here is not meant to be construed as medical advice or guidance, nor should it be substituted for professional veterinary assistance. Always discuss any remedies and treatments you wish to pursue with your veterinarian.
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UPDATE: We just learned about a new mushroom therapy study that shows promising results for dogs with hemangiosarcoma; Science Daily 9/10/12: Mushroom-Derived Compound Lengthens Survival in Dogs With Cancer, Study Suggests