Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Jacksonville-St. Augustine

The Big ‘C’ and Why So Many Pets Are Affected

Sep 30, 2020 08:59AM ● By Erin Holder
An estimated 6 million cats and 6 million dogs will be diagnosed with cancer this year alone. It is undeniable that we see more cancer and see it in younger patients. Experts agree the exposure to chemicals via food, medications, vaccinations, air and water play a huge part in the staggering rates we see today. Life is fast paced in America, and with that comes the need for prepackaged meals; drive-up vaccinations; and the rise of quick-fix, symptom-suppressing medicine. Who has time to be sick?

Drug companies have infiltrated television commercials explaining to pet owners all the new handy drugs to help alleviate symptoms in pets. Pet food companies have picked up on the idea that people want better for their beloved animals and they market directly, stretching the limits of what natural means. Veterinarians are indoctrinated in vet school that there is no way that pet owners could balance a home-cooked diet correctly; however, no one questions their ability with their human children.

Veterinary medicine has followed the path of Western human medicine in schools, teaching to cut the tumor out, poison the cancer and hope the body can survive. There are certainly sometimes that this method is appropriate, but the vast majority of cookie-cutter treatment plans will fail.

Cancer arises because the body’s immune system neglects to recognize an abnormal cell and remove it from population. The cell can then divide unchecked and create this devastating disease. Although this is an oversimplification of what actually occurs, it is certain that the failure of the immune system is an integral part of the development of cancer. Therefore, the prevention of cancer is the most aggressive and successful plan against it.

Keeping the immune system healthy requires minimizing chemical exposure, protecting the gut by feeding whole foods and finding a veterinarian that treats holistically. For example, lymphoma is linked closely with lawn chemicals. Animals have a smaller body surface and their noses are closer to the ground, so the impact of poison on the grass is far greater to our little, furry friends. This is just one example of the devastation of chronic chemical exposure. But, unfortunately, chemicals extend to what is prescribed on a daily basis to pets in veterinary medicine. The overuse of drugs and vaccinations in medicine is disastrous.

Because the gut is responsible for 80 percent of the immune system, correcting the diet and reinfusing the gastrointestinal tract with healthy bacteria is a must. Fecal transfers from healthy patients to sick patients have been used for decades in veterinary medicine, and new scientific studies show the resounding effects in humans. Protecting that bacteria can be accomplished by feeding whole foods and, when appropriate, nourishing probiotics and digestive enzymes. In addition, maintaining an adequate vitamin D level is crucial.

Treating cancer from a holistic approach is the emerging and necessary strategy to succeed. Each pet must be treated as an individual and not treated as the diagnosis. Underlying deficiencies should be corrected; gut healing needs to take place; and modalities such as ozone, radiofrequency, intravenous vitamin C, homeopathy, acupuncture and herbal medicine must be utilized. The goal is to empower the pet’s own body to eliminate the cancer, to help the patient feel better, to reduce or end pain associated with the cancer, and ultimately to help each pet live its best and longest life.

Dr. Erin Holder is owner of FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital, located at 115 E. Euclid Ave., in DeLand. She is a member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Florida Veterinary Medical Association and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in the Zoo and Wildlife Department. FloridaWild offers an integrative approach to veterinary medicine, combining both Eastern and Western Medicine. For more information, call 386-734-9899 or visit