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Lydia’s cancer treatment now includes acupuncture

by Therese on December 14, 2010

in Lydia's cancer, Pet Health

acupuncture for canine cancer

Lydia and vet tech David

The first time Lydia was diagnosed with cancer, she went through chemotherapy. This time we’re trying a few different things. The first is Palladia, a drug developed initially to treat mast cell tumors in dogs. But, it’s also been used for dogs with the type of cancer Lydia has, anal gland adenocarcinoma. Her oncologist was involved in some of the early testing of the drug and saw some very good results with this type of cancer, so we’re hoping it’ll do well for Lydia. She’s been on it for about a month now, and other than some tummy upset, she hasn’t had any major side effects.

In addition to the medication, we’re doing acupuncture and chiropractic this time. I want to do as much as possible for her, so today we went for her second visit. In spite of having a number of little needles stuck in her, she doesn’t seem to mind. She really enjoys the attention she gets, especially when the vet tech and the vet are both sitting on the floor with her. Oh yea, and then there are the treats – she likes the treats! What bothers her most about the whole thing is the occasional beeping sounds she hears now and then (beeps make her nervous).

You can’t see them in the picture above, but Lydia has 20 very small acupuncture needles scattered throughout her body. David sat with her for 20 minutes while the needles did their work.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie Kaufman December 15, 2010 at 6:33 am

I like that your vet incorporates alternative methods of treatment, Therese. Lydia is beautiful. Love your updates about her.


Therese December 15, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Thank you Leslie. The vet doing the acupuncture is a different vet than her oncologist. The good thing though, is that her oncologist encouraged me when I mentioned acupuncture. And, on the other side, the vet doing the acupuncture is open to what the oncologist is doing. It would be tough if either, or both, of them discounted what the other was doing.


Alice December 15, 2010 at 8:37 am

My best wishes and thoughts are with you both. I hope everything works out. I know what you are going through after having been through it myself with two of my dogs.


Therese December 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Thanks, Alice. I’m really sorry to hear you’ve been down this road.


Hannie December 15, 2010 at 8:43 am

It looks to me like Lydia is laughing…….you go, Lydia. Bless your little heart.

Love those alternative treatments………doesn’t hurt to try something new. Maybe this will be the first dog it will fix up good as new (oh please, God).

Kisses & hugs & lots of prayers coming your way.

Janice & Hannah


Therese December 15, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Thanks so much for the prayers!! I know they help.


Vicki Holt December 15, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Therese, this is a great adjunct therapy for any condition. With all Lydia has gone through, acupuncture will be wonderful for simply rebalancing her system, not to mention the potential for healing. If you’re not getting it yourself, it would be terrific to help you cope with the stress of Lydia’s illness. Wishing you the very best! You are an awesome dog mom.


Therese December 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I think I’m seeing the effects already – after only 2 treatments. She seems to be more relaxed. I’d love to get it myself, but my insurance isn’t nearly as good as Lydia’s. But, just knowing it’s helping her helps me a bit.


Nancy Codding Pate February 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Dear Terese,
I am so glad I found your site! I live in Hawaii, and there are no veterinary oncologist here on the island so I have had to look to my home state, California, for information. My Aussie Butch (10 yrs. old) was just diagnosed with anal sac carcinoma two weeks ago, and we just removed his anal gland tumor two days ago. Through ultrasound testing we have found the cancer has spread to two of his iliac lymph nodes–which are too deep internally to remove. His tumor was the size of a golf ball.
And like you, we are considering Palladia treatment or conventional carboplatin as suggested by UC Davis. In addition, we are going to implement acupuncture and Chinese medicine to ease the side effects of either of the chemo therapies.
How much has the acupuncture been helping Lydia?
Does the Palladia slow her down at all?
How about her GI reactions?
My concerns for Butch are that he has such a sensitive stomach, the Palladia might be too tough on him.
Thank you again for your website,
It is a relief to communicate with someone who is going through a similar experience.


Therese February 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Hi Nancy, I’m really sorry to hear about Butch. Lydia went through 9 months of carboplatin and did great. She sometimes got a little hyper for a day or so after, but that was it.

She’s been on Palladia for a couple months now and has had some GI issues, but the vets aren’t sure if it’s related. We took her off the Palladia for a few weeks and the GI issues were still there off & on.

As far as the acupuncture is concerned, I do think it helps her. She seems more relaxed and just seems to feel better. I would definitely give it a try and see how Butch does with it.


Nancy Codding Pate February 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Good Morning Terese,
Thank you so much for your response, it means so much to me–being able to talk to someone who has “been there.”Knowing that you started with carboplatin and went with it for 9 months really helps, though I know that each case is unique, the feedback helps.Butch’s anal sac tumor was found later, and metastasised to his iliac lymph–so it sounds like his cancer diagnosis wasn’t discovered as soon as Lydia’s.
The vet indicated that Butch would be in stage 2-3 of his cancer.
I think we are going to try the carboplatin first and see how Butch does with it–
There’s an email to my vet with some links that I would like to forward to you–it is about an anti cancer supplement developed by UC Berkeley that I take and might be a homeopathic options for our beloved canines…please tell me what you think.

Thank you again for your response,
Butch’s Mom,


Kate March 16, 2011 at 2:15 pm


So sorry to hear about Butch. I too find great comfort and relief in reading Therese’s blog and experience going through this with a pet. My dog Jackson was diagnosed with anal sac carcinoma at the end of December 2010 and is having a second surgery this afternoon. Unfortunately carboplatin wasn’t working for him and it continued to spread to his lymph nodes even after three treatments. I would not change that course of action though and believe it was the best treatment to start him on. I am curious about the anti-cancer supplement and other homeopathic options that you have learned about if you don’t mind sharing.

Also, I am more than happy to share suggested alternatives from Jackson’s oncologist for his treatment following today’s surgery if you want to explore options outside of carboplatin.

If nothing else, this has taught me to enjoy every day with Jackson. He dined on pig’s ears and dog ice cream (frosty paws) last night and has never seemed happier. It is a good time to spoil our furry friends, isn’t it?

Hang in there and please know you aren’t alone.



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