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Hemangiosarcoma

    Hemangiosarcoma, also known as HSA, is an aggressive type of cancerous tumor mostly
found in large breed dogs. It most often affects the spleen, an abdominal organ that filters red
blood cells and provides various immune system functions. The spleen is not an organ essential
for life, so its removal is the primary treatment for HSA when diagnosed or suspected.

    German Shepherds are the breed most often affected with Golden Retrievers and
Labradors second. It is most common in eight to thirteen year old dogs. These are the cancer
years for dogs in general and often, if dogs live to thirteen years, they will avoid cancer in their
lifetime.

    These tumors bleed and the diagnostic symptoms are generally associated with anemia
caused by hemorrhage into the abdominal cavity. These symptoms can range from sudden
death to severe hemorrhage, weakness, increased heart rate and breathing rate, pale mucous
membranes and abdominal distension. Often anemia can be episodic as the tumor bleeds and
then the body reabsorbs the blood. These days of occasional weakness can be overlooked for
weeks until a major bleed occurs or unexpectedly the dog is found dead from a massive
hemorrhage.

    Since hemangiosarcomas are aggressive and highly metastatic, survival rates after
diagnosis and treatment are generally short. The median survival is 19-83 days and with
chemotherapy can be extended to an average of double that. Treatment with homeopathy in
my experience can equal chemotherapy results and often exceed them. Over the past five
years, I have had fourteen dogs survive more than one year and this represents about 12-15%
percent of my HSA cases. There have also been several that never had relapses.

    The best chance for beating this tumor is diagnosis before hemorrhage has occurred.
This most often happens when tumors are found inadvertently while diagnosing a different
condition. However, since these are blood tumors, metastasis can occur even with early
diagnosis.  It is difficult to find any positives about having cancer. We treasure the short time we
have with our animal companions, so even a few months more of their companionship is
precious time for us. With these aggressive HSA tumors there are only two positive aspects
except for the small chance of remission without reoccurrence. These are not painful tumors,
so if there is no anemia, dogs can act 100% normal acting and feel good, and after splenectomy,
dogs quickly return to their normal routine and remain healthy acting until possible relapse.

    Along with increasing lifespan, homeopathic treatment enhances this well-being and
provides real quality time. There are two phases of treatment with hemangiosarcomas. If the
spleen is removed, this being the only source of hemorrhage, then I use an aggressive
homeopathic protocol to prolong the interval of tumor reoccurrence to other organs. This
involves a constitutional remedy plus a specific cancer or organ remedy such as Ceanothus
americanus and intermittent dosing with Carcinosin to prolong metastatic tumor appearance. I
also use the Cell Salt combination that a homeopathic pharmacy makes especially for my
patients. All of these remedies are used in an alternating, homeopathic remedy protocol that I
follow with all my cancer cases.

    The second phase of treatment concerns the ultimate hemorrhaging issue which occurs
if surgery is not possible due to multiple organ involvement, or age and other health issues, or
just later in the course of disease where metastasis has appeared subsequent to spleen
removal. We can effectively reduce hemorrhage with the use of Yunnan Baiyao, a Chinese
herbal supplement, plus the use of homeopathic remedies. I find Phosphorus 30C combined
with Arnica montana 30C the most useful. In severe situations multiple doses of each of these
products can stop hemorrhage. This state can be maintained for weeks to several months with
minimal anemia occurring, or at least hemorrhage being only episodic in nature by using
frequent or intermittent dosing as required by the situation.

    As mentioned in previous articles, I use LM potencies for in cancer treatment. The
exception is Carcinosin where I have found the 200C to be the most effective potency.
Carcinosin is only used every fifth day because in this potency it can cause mild side effects in
cancer patients when repeated too frequently. Patients can have reduced appetites or no
appetite and exhibit lethargy and malaise. This state generally passes quickly, within 12 to 24
hours, but I don’t like seeing any ill effects from remedies. Every fifth day prescribing generally
avoids this issue except in the rare patient that is highly sensitive to Carcinosin.

    In the dosing protocol of using LM potencies, the remedy dose is diluted greatly to
soften each dose. Since dosing is much more frequent, twice daily, than in most other long
term uses of homeopathy, softening the dose is important to avoid aggravations from the
remedies. These aggravations rarely occur in my experience with the use of LM’s and a diluted
dosing protocol. This is a major advantage with cancer patients as we want the maximum
efficacy of the therapy with the minimal discomfort to our companions.

    The concept of using multiple homeopathic remedies in an alternating protocol is
controversial and not representative of a Classical homeopathic approach, where one remedy is
used at a time and not repeated until that remedy response is complete. With cancer, an
advanced disease state and major disturbance of the vital force, using single doses and waiting
to interpret responses often leads to a great decline in the patient’s condition and subsequent
growth of the tumor. One could criticize that this is because the wrong remedy was prescribed,
but since this often happens, even with the most experienced homeopaths, critical time can be
lost for many patients with cancer. Cancer in dogs often progresses very rapidly, involving
weeks or a few months, and because dogs don’t express symptoms until vital areas are
affected, the cancer is often advanced before diagnosis occurs. My overall desire was to see
higher numbers of patients helped rather than just curing the occasional patient..

    This system of using alternating remedies, one constitutional, one specific to the cancer
location or cancer type, plus Carcinosin and the Cell Salt combination came out of that
frustration. I tried many versions of repetitions of remedy doses and many potency
combinations from 6C to 200C’s and observing aggravations and limitations of responses to
each, it became clear to me that the LM system of dilution and succussion was the optimum
protocol.  LM potencies have the benefit of low potencies in that they rarely cause aggravations,
are short acting, and can be repeated without repetition aggravations which can occur with
long term use of C potencies. They have the advantage of high potencies in their resonation
with the vital force or vital energy of the patient being more like a high potency “C”; that is,
they have the “push” or “jab” of a high potency dose but it is short acting. For this reason, the
LM potencies can be repeated frequently, continually jabbing at the disease state of the body.
Also, because of their short action, a different LM remedy can be alternated without interfering
with the effect of the previous dose of a different remedy, hence a “jab” from two directions.

    It also seems that negative interactions or compatibility issues with different
homeopathic remedies are not problematic with an alternating protocol using LM’s. Remedies
that would normally antidote each other don’t seem to do so with the LM system. As a matter
of principle, I still look at compatibility issues with remedy prescribing and rarely use two
remedies known to antidote each other. There are exceptional times where this rule can be
circumvented and be beneficial to the patient such as the use of intercurrent remedies to
address acute situations that can arise in cancer patients.

Admittedly, the interpretation of remedy response is much more difficult when using
more than one remedy in a treatment protocol. One reason that I have settled on an every
other day schedule is to allow interpretation of remedy response. There are often obvious
differences in day to day responses with the different remedies and adjustments can be made
accordingly with new remedy changes. For some practitioners giving each remedy for several
days and then alternating works better, but I have become comfortable with every other day
prescribing and interpretations.  It is also easy to adjust schedules or changes in remedies to address changes in the patient when more than one remedy is being used. I find this invaluable with my cancer patients because their symptoms do change as tumors recede or grow and new systems are affected or old issues resurface.

Published in Dogs Naturally Vol. 3, Issue 4 July/August 2012