Dear Dr. Fox:
In March 2004, we adopted a 50-pound mixed-breed dog from the animal shelter. Three months later, our groomer noticed a growth in her mouth, and our vet removed a tumor from under her tongue. A lab report showed she had a malignant melanoma, with "high potential for local recurrence as well as metastasis." We were told she would probably not survive a year.
An animal hospital recommended the removal of her lower jaw, along with most of her teeth -- a move that the vet said might give her an additional nine months. I turned that down, and our dog has been going strong for the past five years. I wonder whether such procedures aren't more cruel than helpful and whether they're actually aimed at making a hefty profit for animal hospitals.
Certain cancers, especially of the skin, bone, lymph system and breast, are far more common in dogs than in humans. Vaccines and ingredients called adjuvants (containing aluminum and mercury) might play a significant role in immune-system dysfunction, resulting in cancer.
There are many other cancer-, mutation- and birth-defect-causing chemicals in our food, water and home environments that contaminate dogs and cats at much higher levels than people.
Potent antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and help boost the immune system, supplements such as zinc, magnesium, vitamins C and D, selenium (in Brazil nuts) and retinoic acid (from vitamin A in yams), fucoidan (from brown seaweed), quercetin (in pine bark), Maitake mushrooms and herbal teas (like green tea) are some of the low-cost nutraceuticals and herbs for treating cancer and cancer prevention.
I prefer this approach to your dog's type of cancer. Good for you and your dog for refusing the surgery.