I was not going to write this blog for some time since my Border Collie, Myst, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer and had it confirmed with the Cadet Braf test was diagnosed July 7/7/21 on a regular annual vet visit. Today, February 26 2023 she is doing well with no life style change for this very high energy performance dog. I thought surely that any positive note about this would perhaps be a curse.
Then Dr. Karen Becker wrote in a recent newsletter “Dr Becker’s Food Recommendations for Cancer.” Reading this I was a little surprised to find that Myst has been on this diet for most of her time since diagnosis. Since life expectancy is usually 2-4 months without treatment and 4-6 with treatments Myst’s 21 months of wellness and normal activity is impressive.. I thought it was time to share her health story with others incase some of this information might be of value to prolonging a life and most importantly QUALITY OF LIFE.
THE EARLY DAYS
On annual exam for urine collection (since Myst was not doing a free catch) an ultrasound was done for Cystocentesis. The ultrasound showed a mass in the bladder so no urine was collected and the next step was diagnosis. A Cadet Braf urine test showed transitional cell cancer. Myst was started on Palladia 60 mg three times a week and Piroxicam daily.
I also consulted with a wonderful vet in New York whom I have consulted with for
years for alternative suggestions and she recommended I’m Yunity mushrooms which had a priority sale due to their Single Agent Polysaccharopeptide which a study at Penn State University showed delayed metastases and improved survival in naturally occurring hemangiosarcoma. The study was conducted by two University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine faculty. Dorothy Cimino Brown is professor and chair of the Department of Clinical Studies and director of the Veterinary Clinical Investigation Center. They published their findings in an open-access article in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The Coriolus versicolor mushroom (Turkey Tail), known commonly as the Yunzhi mushroom, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years. The compound in the mushroom that is believed to have immune-boosting properties is polysaccharopeptide, or PSP. In the last two decades, some studies have suggested that PSP also has a tumor-fighting effect.
In September 2021 Myst was started on I’m Yunnity mushrooms (5 per day).
However in October 2021 she was taken off of the chemotherapy agent Palladia due to diarrhea that was not able to be controlled. I also did not like this drug due to the extreme care with giving chemotherapy and having another younger dog using the same dog run.
At this time she was having regular ultrasounds to monitor the growth of the tumor. There were minimal changes in the tumor until she was taken off of the Palladia and then it did show enlargement.
When Myst was diagnosed in July it was very important to me that no matter what the treatment, her response and time she had I did was not going to change her lifestyle unless her condition indicated she was not tolerating her normality. She is a red, high energy, Border Collie who loved her life and activity. Her lifestyle included herding lesson, competing in herding competition, traveling, hiking at least 3-4 days a week in northern AZ off leash, obedience and scent work competitions training.
I carefully monitored things such as hiking and time out hiking, and competitions and she clearly did not show it was too much for her.. Myst was still the same wild and crazy girl that loved life.
My dogs have always been on raw food (at this time alternating Bones and Co, Raw Bistro and Small Batch). I always purchased Green JuJu greens and golden blend to add to the food as well as daily blueberries, raspberries and apples…… all organic. In September I started making my own broccoli sprouts that she received daily. Dogs received decaf green tea to warm food in morning; Green JuJu bone broth warmed for evening meal and Bones and Co fermented Goats milk before bed with a few berries and coconut chips. They also receive organic eggs, sauerkraut and sardines regularly each week.
Here is what Dr. Karen Becker just posted regarding diet for dogs with cancer that caught my attention: “A healthy diet for your animal companion — one that is anti-inflammatory (low starch) and not metabolically stressful — consists of real, whole foods, preferably raw…. he more unnecessary and inappropriate the food (in this case, carbs), the more metabolic stress your pet must deal with.
Certain supplements and add-ins can also be very beneficial to enhance immune function, including:
• Medicinal mushrooms
• Super green foods and brightly colored veggies
• Decaf green tea
• Fermented vegetables
THE JOURNEY CONTINUED…
Since Myst’s tumor appeared to be enlarging, I again consulted with my New York vet who made a few recommendations for her liver dealing with these toxins as well as finding a practitioner that understood Chinese medicine since she knew in the past she had known about an herb that was excellent specific for bladder cancer.
Dr. Todd Metcalf, who at that time (December 2021) resided near me in the Verde Valley and whom I had established care with in the past did know of such an herb and ordered it for me. This amazing herb that he recommended was produced by several companies but he thought this companies was the best: Myst started on Chinese herb Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang from Natural Path Herbals.. 1 tsp. bid.. started on 12/22/21.
I noticed that this seemed to make a change in her overall wellness and she has continued on this. Dr. Metcalf orders this for me from a distributor in Vermont every few months.
Starting a few month ago Myst had urine leakage especially at night even though she went outside on her own during the night. I started taking her water up at 7:00 p.m. which did not help much. Then about a week ago she started having more urine spots where she was lying even after going out. I contacted my vet and we both concurred it could be partly her age (12 1/2) years and the tumor growing and possibly pushing up when she lies down. We started her on Proin 1/2 a 50 mg tablet both morning and evening and she has not had one drop of urine leakage. Fingers crossed. She continues to do well and has no changes in her activity, love of food or love of life.
MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS.—WONDER HEALING
I became fascinated with medicinal mushrooms by listening to an Inside Scoop presentation (Dr Karen Becker and Rodney Habib) by Dr. Ray Silver from Canada. In this presentation he discussed Turkey Tail and its amazing uses for inflammation as well as the herb of immortality Reishi. Dr Silver talked about Reishi supporting the immune response of Turkey Tail and would be an excellent addition. I learned about an excellent company that QUALITY MUSHROOMS could be purchased from for both animals and humans….. REAL MUSHROOMS located in Canada.
Real Mushroom founder, SKYE CHILTON worked closely with his father Jeff Clinton a master mushroom cultivator who worked closely with Chinese producers to ensure quality and developed rigorous testing measures to accurately show his customers what they were Jeff had over 40 years of growing experience and was the first to bring organic mushroom extracts to the North American market. .
The most important active compounds in real mushrooms include beta-d-glucans, triterpenoids, diverse polysaccharides, ergosterol, and ergothioneine. When used medicinally, each of these can have dynamic effects on the human body. It is critical that these components be known and measured to ensure the amazing medicinal effects we are learning about. The functional mushroom market place is dominated by products that do not contain any mushrooms. These products are produced from mycelium (the rood system of the mushroom) being grown on a grain substrate.
Read more about REAL MUSHROOMS at https://www.realmushrooms.com/
In learning more about mushrooms to support Myst and cancer I became fascinated not only by TURKEY TAIL but also by REISHI. I contacted Dr. Ray Silver who along with mast herbalist Dr. Terry Willard said they did not know of overdose of the Reishi mushroom. Dr. Silver had given suggestions for a well dog supporting dose along with a larger dose for conditions such as cancer. Myst was started over a year ago on my human dose of one capsule for per day to accompany her I’m Yunnity and Turkey Tail. I introduced both mushroom additions slowly to be sure she tolerated them… which she did… I am now thinking of where we are going into month 21 of perhaps adding a pet dose of Reishe in the mornings.
“The Reishi fungus contains over 400 different bioactive compounds including triterpenoids, polysaccharides, nucleotides, sterols, steroids, fatty acids, proteins, peptides, and trace elements (3).they contain hundreds of bioactive compounds, mainly in the form of polysaccharides and triterpenes, that assist the body in numerous ways such as supporting the immune system.”
Read more about the REISHI mushroom at:
MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS: 7 KINDS AND HEALTH BENEFITS
Medicinal Mushrooms for Pets
TURKEY TAIL AND CANCER
For a fascinating look at the wonders of the REISHI Mushroom, read Reishi Mushrooms: Herb of Spiritual Potency and Medical Wonder by Terry Willard PhD. available from Amazon. Amazing insight into remissions and wonders with cancer both animal and human. Sadly as the author points out there has not been enough research to support recommendations for use and only those who venture on this journey on their own are finding incredible results.
Looking at Dr. Beckers article and recommendations has brought me here. I have attached a copy of Myst’s SUPPLEMENTS and DIET that I closely follow. She has regular blood work to monitor her blood count, liver and kidney values.. Those test have been totally normal and of course her supps for her liver are adjusted monthly such on one week on Milk Thistle but daily liver support with Vetriscience Hepataclear Pro.
Her Omega has been reviewed as well as Curcumim support AND of course support for the microbiome is ESSENTIAL so she has always been on rotation of pre and probiodics.
I have not wanted to know the progress of Myst’s tumor but only her wellness and enjoyment of life. In November 2022 she surprised us by earning her AKC HERDING CHAMPIONSHIP and at a NSW herding trial a month early won a special recognition. Myst earned her NSW1 title today and a wonderful surprise to be awarded the designation of PRONOUNCED. Judges ‘pronounce’ a handler/dog team demonstrating exceptional technique and/or teamwork for the search they judged. In order to receive the designation “Pronounced” the dog/handler receiving a “P” on all 4 searches in that trial receives the designation for the trial of Pronunced. Myst was one of 2 dogs who received this designation in addition to her title. Very proud of this senior dog. She continues to be happy and very active and we are so grateful for the support of a few caring vetererarians especially our local vet Dr. Celeste Flannery at AirPark Animal Hospital.
If I had to think about the most powerful contributors to Myst’s current health I would say they are: the Chinese herb Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang from Natural Path Herbals; I’m Yunnity mushroom; Turkey Tail mushroom and Reishi mushroom. These supplement along with her extremely healthy diet of raw and fresh fruits and vegetables.
COPY OF HER CURRENT DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS
Myst Food and Supplements
February 25 2023
- Piroxicam 10 mg 1 daily; started 7/23/21
- ThorneVet, CurcuVet- SA150 1 chewable
- 2- TDC (periodontal & joint support) daily
- Canna-Pet 1 tab (CBD)
- Complete Probiotic Adored Beast Fido’s Flora probiodic (refrig)
- Nordic Naturals 1 tsp.
- I’m Yunity immunity mushrooms – 3
- Real Mushrooms Turkey Tail - 1
- Chinese herb Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang from Natural Path Herbals.. 1 tsp. bid.. started on 12/22/21. Her WBC went from 4.71 Dec. 1st at Circle L to 5.8 Jan. 6th.
------Proin 1/2 a 50 mg tablet - STARTED ON 2/23/2023
- One week of month extra Milk Thistle 500 mg for one week only. She gets some with the Hepaticlear but that prep has other things in it for her and one week which I did initially for 4 weeks brought her ALT of 174 Dec. 1st at C ircle L to normal of 50 on Jan. 6th. ( tested by IDEX blood work. )
— Vascustatin from Allergy Research Group: 1 daily (started 9/16/21 from Dr. Alex suggetion)
— VetriScience Hepaticlear Pro – 1 daily (has 100 mg of Milk Thistle)
— CurcuVet SA 150 1 chewable
— Canna-Pet 1-2 tab (CBD)
— I’m Yunity immunity mushrooms – 2 (5 total daily recommended dose based on Penn Vet research study
— Real Mushrooms Turkey Tail – 1
— Real Mushrooms Reishi – 1 human does
— Ellura (cranberry) to help prevent bladder infections
— Chinese herb Shao Fu Zhu Yu Tang from Natural Path Herbals.. 1 tsp. bid..
— ¼ C bison bone broth
-- Proin 1/2 a 50 mg tablet - STARTED ON 2/23/2023 AT 7:00 P.M.
Adequin 1 cc monthly
· Rotate between Raw Bistro, Small Batch and occasional Bones and Co (4 oz a.m and 4 oz p.m.). Raw rotation: pork, rabbit, turkey, bison, turkey, chicken
o 2 tsp. homemade organic broccoli sprouts morning
o ¼ C of organic decaf green tea over food
o ¼ C with Green JuJuBe
Green JuJu (Ingredients: Organic celery, organic zucchini, organic kale, organic dandelion greens, organic parsley bison bone broth, organic coconut oil, organic lemon, organic turmeric, organic ginger.) ¼ each meal
Evening added to raw food: Homemade veggies consisting of combination of some of these: carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, apples, cilantro ground ¼ tsp. in food. Rotate to Green JuJu’s Golden Blend (1/4 C): organic butternut squash, organic celery, duck bone broth, organic cauliflower, organic golden beets, organic coconut oil, organic apple cider vinegar, organic ginger, organic turmeric.
Sardines x5 days weekly;
1 egg x2 days;
Currently on 2 TBSPs of Organic Goats Milk Kefir; from
Cocotherapy Coconut ships 1 tsp.
Raspberries & dehydrated apple treats
UPDATE: MAY 5, 2023
I never wanted to read about bladder cancer and what the ending would be like.... I did not want to to do ultrasounds to see the progression or lack there of of the tumor. I just wanted to enjoy Myst, be happy and give her as many opportunities to do the things she loved and share them with her.
She did that until the last 3 days: We went for a hike on Monday for only an hour; went herding with geese on Tuesday but I could see she was different. She was having increasing difficult with urinary incontinence and the Proin before bed was no longer helping. When I tried to add an additional one in the a.m. she did not tolerate it and had loose stools; she stopped wanting to eat; AND there were other new symptoms such as no longer wanting to play with her good friend Beckett; sleeping and sleeping and withdrawing from us.
I made an appointment with our lovely vet Dr. Celeste Flannery to talk with her about Myst's increased symptoms. I clearly saw she was now failing probably due to the cancer growth. I did not want to euthanize her for our convenience but things were rapidly progressing. Dr. Flannery offered to come to the house to help with her final transition.
On Friday May 5th Myst was finally at peace. Being the wild and crazy red dog she never would come and lie down but this time she came to me in my office and laid her head in my lap and peacefully went to a place where she could run and be free of this burden and all the symptoms and pain she for so longer resisted. Myst was ready. As hard and painful as this is I am grateful for the 22 months of great joy and activity she had with us: last fall she got her AKC Herding Championship; won 2 elite classes in AKC scent work 2 weeks ago; often placed in top 3 in herding and enjoyed beautiful hikes in the red rocks or forests of Northern AZ.
Beckett was Myst's best friend and she his. I was worried about how well he would take this. He was allowed to watch behind a baby gate and when she had passed come into the room. He has done remarkably well and when he waits for her outside I just tell him that Myst was sick and had to leave us. Somehow he knew and in his own way understood she was no longer with us. We have always given him so much attention and love; that has not changed but we are even more attentive with him and he continues to be very busy in obedience, herding, scent work and hiking. Perhaps someday he will be ready for a puppy. Life has to go on.
Myst won many titles in her career: Below are her AKC titles in herding (championship), obedience and scent work, and agility
She also won many titles in AHBA (American Herding Breed Association including their herding championship and many Advanced titles in ASCA
HC Cedar Red Myst UDX PUTD OM1 HSAds HSBd HSDs HIDs HIAdMsM HXAdMsM OA NAJ NF SWN SCA SBA TKA