Cancer and your pet: a guide to alternative and integrated treatment

0614cancerandyourpetphotoCancer and Your Pet: A Guide to Alternative and Integrated Treatment
Publisher: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 216
ISBN: 1442230290
Canada: $33.08 e-book; $42.00 hardcover
USA: $30.39 e-book; $34.20 hardcover

By Susan Crawford

Marie Cargill’s new book, Cancer and Your Pet: A Guide to Alternative and Integrated Treatment is a gold mine of resources for pet guardians faced with the distressing news that their beloved pet has been diagnosed with cancer.

She encourages readers to examine their choices, to consider getting a second opinion and to read her book. Cargill’s talents as an author shine as she effortlessly explains in easy-to-understand detail how nutrition, herbal supplements, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, vitamins, minerals and enzymes can help patients during pre-treatment, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and post-treatment. Of equal interest are the sections detailing how to use those same alternative approaches for preventing cancer.

Cargill’s goals are comfort, care and better health — and her advice is to begin with food. Cargill says that the kind of food your pet eats is just as important as the amount. She explores shocking truths about most commercial pet foods and suggests to readers that the best approach is home cooking.

Included in the book are recipes for canine friends as well as for cats and birds. Some of the recipes like the Berry Good Shake sound good enough to share with your dog. Cargill also suggests eliminating red meat because it is a top inflammation trigger, and to consider feeding your dog a vegetarian meal once a week, and expanding your dog’s intake of foods high in Omega-3 like salmon and mackerel.

The chapters on natural anti-cancer agents and the benefits of homeopathy and acupuncture are very informative, as are the chapters on the wonders of the immune system and the relationship between inflammation and cancer. In addition to the ideas mentioned above, Cargill emphasizes the importance of a purified source of water and eliminating exposure to toxins in the house, yard and even second-hand smoke.

The book discusses how conventional cancer treatment only kills cancer cells while alternative therapies — in addition to killing cancer cells — can strengthen the body, enhance the immune system and detoxify organs, blood and the lymphatic system.

Cargill’s veterinary practice is based on proven Eastern medicine modalities, and she says that alternative treatments often are the ones that act to enhance conventional medical approaches. Cargill is a licensed acupuncturist, a registered herbalist and homeopath and has 35 years experience in alternative medicine. She has been featured in Time, Prevention magazine, National Geographic, The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald.

The book aptly begins with a story about of one of Cargill’s canine patients, Officer Joey. Joey was a six-year-old Golden Retriever police dog who specialized in detecting narcotics. He developed a lump on his left wrist, that was initially misdiagnosed, but eventually was found to be a nerve sheath tumour. After a marathon of 17 radiation treatments and four doses of a cancer drug, he ended up very ill, with severe radiation burns, no appetite and severe diarrhea.

Cargill immediately began a series of acupuncture sessions for pain relief (once a week for 10 weeks); an herbal wrap for his wounded leg to help it heal; an herbal formula to revitalize his appetite, stop the diarrhea and regain stamina; and later on a different herbal formula to revitalize his immune system and help eliminate any residual tumour cells. Four short months later, Officer Joey was back on duty and remained so for many years.

While Officer Joey’s case had a positive outcome, Cargill cautions readers not to rest on your laurels if your pet goes into remission as the potential for the cancer to reoccur and/or for the patient to develop different cancers are real possibilities.

The book ends with inspirational words from Cargill, assuring guardians that there are many options to care for their pets with cancer and there is hope for a positive prognosis. Four paws up! Highly recommended even for pet guardians wondering purely about cancer prevention.