At the AVMC, we have encountered many patients on chemotherapy. Most of these have been certain cases of lymphoma. It cannot be stated with certainty but the impression is, over the years, that not one has survived for such a length of time as to suggest that the chemotherapy has afforded benefit. Certainly, oncologists' opinions appear to vary as to which dogs and which cases may benefit.

While dogs don't appear to suffer the degree of unpleasant side effect experienced by humans and do not lose all their hair, many have been quite depressed and poorly while on the drugs.

However, while it is often said that homeopathy cannot work through chemotherapy and that homeopathic medicine must be used as an alternative to chemotherapy (i.e. either/or), we have evidence to the contrary. There is one human cancer patient (a close personal acquaintance) who sought homeopathic treatment (from a qualified homeopathic doctor), during chemotherapy and clearly survived so far beyond expectations that the cancer and the illness appear to have been a very long time ago (about 32 years, now). Also, his hair fell out as a result of the chemotherapy at the time and a change of homeopathic prescription brought it back.

Herbal medicine, acupuncture, bach flowers, tissue salts and other natural and holistic therapies can also be used alongside chemotherapy but herbal medicines must be carefully assessed so as not to summate.

In summary, the opinion is that we personally have no hard evidence of the benefit of chemotherapy in dogs*, that chemotherapy treatment is not as nasty in dogs as in humans, that veterinary homeopathy and other complimentary medicines can be used even after chemotherapy has been started and that homeopathy can counter the side effects of chemotherapy, to a variable extent.

*Expert opinion suggests that it may be of benefit in selected cases – our personal experience is, of course, more limited and this is not the area of our specialist expertise

See also: Immunotherapy

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