ABCs of Animal Wellness – When Treating Cancer in Pets or People, the Same Rules Apply

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To ensure the growth of a healthy pet, prepare natural organic foods for them at home

Almost two decades ago, I embarked on a steep learning curve that led out of the morass of pharmaceutical propaganda into medicine that is curative, not just dedicated to lucrative symptom control, and truly scientific because it is verifiable.

This journey began when, during my recovery from environmental illness induced by DDT and mercury dental fillings, I attended my first medical conference dedicated to the health impacts of the human-made environment on health. The leading organization in this area has been, since the 1960s, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. It was founded by Linus Pauling and Dr. Theron Randolph, the first American environmental medicine physician, then at the University of Chicago.

The conference I attended was held in Houston, Texas, and the presentations, according to the syllabus, all reported on environmental issues and relevant research advances in immunology. To my amazement, one of the presenters was a veterinarian who talked about curing cancer in horses, in this case mostly race horses who were his patients. The notion of curing cancer was not only new to me, but outright cuckoo. (I had not yet heard of the Gerson Therapy, Nicholas Gonzalez, or the now familiar leaders in therapies that cure cancer in humans.)

All the charts and tables, graphs and lab test results presented by this vet during his lecture conformed to the basic standards of medical science, as did his credentials. Nobody else but me seemed to be perplexed by the fact that most of these horses were cured of cancer, mostly by dietary interventions and massive supplementation of minerals, enzymes and vitamins, all of which were measurably shown to restore the immune system: the animal’s biochemistry changed so the cancer starved.

During the discussion period I blurted out, “I didn’t know cancer could be cured!” The vet (and many of the doctors treating humans present in the audience) laughed good-naturedly. I have never forgotten his reply: “A million dollar race horse is too great an investment to lose to cancer.”

No Placebo Effect in Animals

The implications of his statement for human cancer are profound and provide a glimpse into the darkest part of medicine – an industry that thrives on death, not on cures and prevention. Scientifically, any intervention that actually cures a sick animal is of the greatest importance because, to animals, the placebo effect does not apply. Animals only react to the active ingredient of a drug, never to the dummy pill. Therefore, curing a sick animal provides the ultimate evidence of a successful treatment.

This fact, accepted by medical science, is especially galling to those who attack homeopathy as unscientific and those who attempt to discredit Chinese medicine. This is so because homeopathy as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine have been shown to work wonderfully on sick animals and are, therefore, validated by the most stringent standard demanded by western allopathic medicine. Homeopathic veterinarian Dr. Pitcairn’s wonderful book, listed in the resources, is highly recommended.

Our physical kinship with our pets and farm animals is so close as to bind us to them in blood, enzymes, and hormones. That is why we get can easily get cancer if we eat meat from an animal that has been treated with a carcinogenic drug or eaten pesticide-laden foods itself: the cancer “imprint” is transferred to our own bodies.

Indeed, in an emergency a human life can be saved with a blood transfusion from a chimpanzee – but it can be done only once; after that the human immune system rejects the chimp’s blood as foreign, even though our DNA is 95% identical. Mice are so important to medical drug research because they metabolize drugs and detoxify them and other substances almost exactly as humans do.

It therefore comes as no surprise that animal health thrives just as human health does when the environment and food is free of poisons and full of essential nutrients. It also explains why especially sensitive animals, such as birds (and amphibians) are the proverbial canaries in the mine – they react even faster to toxic gases and substances than we do. When the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred on April 26, 1986, the birds fell out of the sky within hours of the event and before the news media had even announced the event. The wind currents moving out of the former Soviet Union held enough radioactive particles to cause such rapid deaths.

Curing Canine Cancer

In 2006, we adopted a four-month old puppy suffering from mast cell cancer. A purebred white Golden Retriever, she could not be sold because of her health problems and was about to be euthanized. Remembering the race horses cured of cancer, I suggested I might have a try at “curing” her. We named her Kulfi after the East Indian almond-speckled ice cream which her coat resembles. Her case caused a stir at Guelph University’s veterinary school whose oncologists had never heard of a puppy with cancer. Our local vet, who teaches at that veterinary school, was fascinated by the case and my foolishness, but promised to assist.

Mast cells produce a dual-action hormone / neurotransmitter known as histamine. Like all such communication proteins, histamine is capable of transmitting messages throughout the body in nano-seconds and its actions range from mediating sunburns, inflammation of all kinds, allergy, asthma and more, to such important processes as sleep regulation, immune responses, promoting the work of enzymes that detoxify. Histamine also helps to reduce allergic responses and promotes cell repair.

Since mast cells with their histamine-producing capability are located in all tissues, especially near blood vessels of all sizes, having them re-programmed by cancer can cause instant chaos throughout the body. If kept in check, such a cancer can hover about the organism and just bide its time until a reduction in immune activity gives it a chance to take over.

Having lost so many animals to cancer before, we knew how to prevent it; this was a challenge we embraced with enthusiasm. We figured that for a puppy to have cancer, the mother must have been exposed to a carcinogen that crossed the placenta. The same is recognized as true for people in mainstream medicine. Babies don’t get cancer – they are born with it, if ever.

Sure enough, inquiries revealed that the pregnant dog mamma used to frolic in a pond on the breeder’s property, which was downhill from a potato farmer whose liberally applied pesticides, especially Monsanto’s Roundup that contained various toxic metals as emulsifiers, including barium and aluminum. Unacceptable amounts of arsenic, lead, and mercury were also found when we received the results of our puppy’s hair analysis from the U.S. Since toxic minerals displace the beneficial ones (especially potassium on which all cellular communication absolutely depends), it came as no surprise to find our puppy’s deficiencies consistent with cancer. One of them was copper which is required in trace amounts for health, but if levels are too high or low we have the tell-tale sign of cancer. Copper is depleted by pesticides and herbicides.

Being familiar with the great work done by the French scientist, Andre Voisin, on mineral deficiencies and cancer, we got to work on designing the perfect diet and a supplementation program to help create a biochemical balance in our new animal friend that would send the cancer dragon back – at least into long-term hiding. Our vet agreed to monitor things.

Between March and February of 2007, Kulfi grew into a rambunctious big girl who literally yodels when she is pleased, which is often. The follow-up hair analyses showed that detoxification of the heavy metals proceeded nicely and that the copper reserves returned to normal. Interestingly, Kulfi is especially fond of cashew nuts which happen to be full of zinc – the mineral antidote to the toxic mineral aluminum. Her cancer appears to be in remission. Today, March 2011, she is in excellent health still.

The Relevance to Human Health

The basic rule that applies to human and animal health is: whatever prevents cancer, prevents other disease as well. Cancer is the last biological cry to inform us that now everything that could possibly go wrong with an organism has done so. Because animals so often are important to human purposes, and because they tend to be more profitable when they are healthy, alive, and fertile, it makes sense that in veterinary medicine a lot more attention is paid to biochemistry than in human medicine.

Holistic vets routinely sell organic animal food in their offices, while in human medicine only sports medicine pays attention to magnesium and potassium levels, to mention one example.

Dog breeders rattle off the importance of minerals and raw food like medical scientists, while your GP may at best suggest that you reduce your intake of junk food and exercise more to control weight.

At a lecture I once gave on Codex (the international food regulatory agency that is so hostile to the free availability of nutritional supplements and organic foods), I regaled the audience with a list of ingredients in a good quality cat food, available even at supermarkets. It was so full of essential nutrients that it exceeds the amounts provided in baby formulas. I joked that if Codex succeeds in limiting access to supplements, we can all switch to cat and dog food and relax.

The rules of disease prevention for animals are the same as ours:

Don’t feed them processed foods,

Keep them away from disease-promoting environmental toxins (tobacco-smoking humans, chlorinated and fluoridated water, pesticide-loaded foods of any kind, hormone-laced meats, processed foods, chemical flea collars, and artificial flea potions).

Feed them good, organic foods as much as possible, now readily available for decent prices

Don’t vaccinate them unless absolutely necessary, and only every 5 to 10 years.  (Several vets over the years have told me that annual vaccination is unnecessary, dangerous to the pet’s health, and – as my current vet put it – a “mere money grubbing exercise of no value to the patient.”)

What Is Good Pet Food?

What is good pet food? Some of us have the time to make it ourselves and include lots of raw meat, but most of us cannot do that. The same rules again apply as to humans:

• no artificial flavours;

• no synthetic chemicals, especially no preservatives except forms of vitamin C and E;

• no added colouring; and no GMO-derived nutrients.

The labels actually tell you all of this information. I shop with a large magnifying glass in my purse. Having been fooled too often by very small print, I am on the warpath now and make sure nothing escapes me. If something is listed that I have never heard of before (in food for the family and the animals), I write it down and look it up on the internet. I’ve met some interesting poisons that way.

Furthermore, as our pets age, they require the same attention to joint health and digestion that we do. They very rarely need vitamin C, as their bodies make their own from food, provided it is nutrient-rich food. Old dogs perk up mightily with renewed energy after receiving extra vitamin E and Co-enzyme Q10 for their hearts.

Their peeing enjoyment also  increases when given herbal supplements designed to help the prostate, and MS glucosamine together with the basic range of all essential minerals. It is important to remember that the healing effect of glucosamine was discovered by vets in the 1980s, and it was a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto who decided to start the first human clinical trials using this substance, after a vet got his arthritic dog back to running happily in the woods. That same professor told this story to Ontario MPP Monte Kwinter while playing golf – and the famous Kwinter Bill, passed in 2000 to protect alternative medicine, began to form in Kwinter’s mind as a result of that golf game.

Avoid Fluoridated and Chlorinated Water

Animals’ thyroids are just as easily compromised as ours by environmental toxins in the air and water. Pets should never drink water containing fluoride or chlorine, nor should they bathe in such contaminated water. Installing a reverse osmosis filter in your house will protect you and your pets. As animals age, they require extra iodine, just as we do, and if there is any increase in radiation due to the Japanese nuclear reactor disaster, you will both benefit from a little extra iodine.

Antibiotics should be used in emergencies only, which in dogs show up often in infections from bites (not a normal occurrence in humans). In most situations, colloidal silver works very well, as I know from personal experience as well as from the experiences of my pets.  Those toxic arthritis drugs that brought companies like Merck, Pfizer, and others to their knees from multi-billion dollar class actions should not be used on pets. Millions of dogs, cats, mice, and rodents are sacrificed to the mandated preliminary toxicity tests of these, and most other, drugs. When only mild toxicity is detected and the lab animals don’t actually die within a short and specified time, then the industry and Health Canada deem them fit for humans. Why use them when non-toxic alternatives are available?

LINK BETWEEN VACCINES AND CANCER: Are these the words of a “paranoid, chemico-phobic health nut” (as I was once described by the pesticide lobby)? No – almost everything above comes straight from the websites of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. They warn of the high incidence of sarcoma in cats caused by vaccines, and assert that it is incumbent on every vet to check the antibodies in a dog’s and cat’s blood (called titre testing) before considering a booster shot for any disease. In fact, the AVMA  hosted an international medical conference a few years ago devoted entirely to vaccine-associated cancers in household pets. Human doctors, to my knowledge, haven’t gotten that far yet; they even routinely prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics without having done a sensitivity test first.

AVOID RADIATION: Dogs and cats get cataracts in their eyes, just as we do.  Now that we know that the fastest and most efficient way to develop cataracts is through exposure to microwave radiation from cell phones and cordless phones, from microwave ovens, and other high-radiation and dirty-electricity producing technologies, we ought to be just as mindful of our pets as we are for ourselves. Therefore, one should not heat up food in a microwave oven – for a person or a pet! Nor should one thaw out food in such a contraption, which can alter even mineral structures and kill vitamin E.  The best use for a microwave oven is as a storage place – once it has been disconnected, of course. You should never use your cell phone as an alarm clock because it will eventually damage your brain.  If a pet sleeps with you, as our cats do with us, keep that in mind. (I know that there are people who believe that one should not sleep with one’s pet. Well, I would never sleep with such people! )

You will find that once you start researching animal health publications, all of the advice provided will also be applicable to you. Publications that are the equivalent of Vitality Magazine for animals are the Animal Wellness Magazine and the Pets 4 Life Newsletter. Animal Wellness covers the whole range of animal health issues and is available also online; Pets 4 Life covers one major health problem each issue.

Knowing, through the research of Dr. Francis Pottenger, how essential raw foods are to animal health, providing these foods is especially important when the animal is sick. Few people can afford the raw meat animal foods available in good pet stores (if you thaw them out in a microwave, you just wasted a lot of money), but when the animal is recovering from an illness, providing such foods is essential. Raw foods are of great importance to animal and human health, because the minerals and phytonutrients available in uncooked foods support everything from fertility to cell repair.

One way that you can ensure that the quality of a product is good is to ensure it is endorsed by the World Society for the Protection of Animals and that the manufacturer is a member of the Organic Trade Association. Nutritional and medical information for a long list of pet health problems can be accessed on this website as well, and the information provided would make an orthomolecular medical practitioner working for humans very happy.

Legend has it that the prophet Mohammad loved cats. When one of them fell asleep on part of his coat beside him, rather than wake it, the Prophet is said to have quietly cut off that piece of his coat when he arose. Today, the Prophet would undoubtedly ensure that his cat was fed with as healthy a food as humans know how to prepare.


Holistic vet in Ontario:  Dr. Sasan Haghighat can be reached at NorthEast Newmarket Veterinary Services, a holistic clinic in Newmarket, Ont. at 987 Davis Drive. For appointments call (905) 830-1030; visit his website:

Holistic vets in the U.S.: American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association,

• Google hair-analysis, as there are many laboratories throughout North America which offer this testing.

Gerson Institute,, for cancer questions not only for humans but also for animals, as the Gerson Institute also treats animals.

• R. H. Pitcairn, Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, 3rd edition 2005. to order

• A. Voisin, Soil, Grass and Cancer, 1959, Crosby Lockwood UK; out of print, photocopy edition through Kos Inc

• Dr. K.-G Wenzel & R. Pataracchia, The Earth’s Gift to Medicine: Minerals in Health and Disease, 2005, Kos Publishing for Dr. F. M. Pottenger’s Pottenger’s Cats: A Study in Nutrition, Weston Price Foundation (1983), 1995

Research the microwave issue by reading my article for Vitality published April 2011 and by going to the websites of Planetary Association for Clean Energy and Breatheasy; consult the web-based magazine Microwave News and Google “microwave ovens + health effects.”



Helke Ferrie is a medical science writer with a master's degree in physical anthropology. Her specialty lies in investigative research into ethical issues in medicine and the politics of health. She started her investigative journalism career in the mid-1990s, looking at issues of medicine and environment. She has been a regular contributor to Vitality Magazine ever since. Helke has also authored books on various subjects including: "Ending Denial: The Lyme Disease Epidemic", "What Part of No! Don't They Understand: Rescuing Food and Medicine from Government Abuse", and "The Earth's Gift to Medicine".

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