Mast Cell Tumors, Palladia, Diet, and Side Effects

Why is diet so important for dogs with cancer and specifically for dogs with mast cell tumor cancer (MCT)?  Furthermore, why is diet even more important when a dog with MCT cancer is on Palladia?

I have been researching dog cancer diets and getting information from our veterinary oncologist, and am considering a visit to a local holistic veterinary oncologist.  (At that statement, many owners of dogs with cancer will be appalled that I have not already been to one!  Meanwhile, the non-dog owners, and probably some of my friends and family will roll their eyes and say I have gone way off the deep-end now!  That is ok.  I can take it from both sides.) 

If you have a dog that is recently diagnosed with cancer, I recommend visiting with both a veterinary oncologist and holistic vet.  This method provides both the standard medical treatment plan as well as a holistic treatment plan, including diet.

Be aware that ANY change in what the dog usually eats can cause an upset tummy or diarrhea in a dog.  This is especially a problem for dogs with mast cell tumor cancer because the histamine released by the mast cell tumors can upset the dog’s stomach.   For more information on that, I recommend reading article on the Dog Cancer Blog at http://www.dogcancerblog.com/why-use-stomach-medication-for-mast-cell-tumors/

Furthermore, often the treatments, including Prednisone and Palladia, have side effects that can upset the stomach or cause diarrhea or worse.  Palladia’s gastric side effects can potentially be serious which is why often oncologists prescribe supplemental medicines, along with the Palladia, to protect the dog’s stomach.  If the dog has diarrhea, or bloody stool, for example, that would stop the Palladia treatment at least temporarily.  For more information on Palladia side effects see http://www.drugs.com/vet/palladia.html.  Rosie’s oncologist took her off of Prednisone when she started on Palladia.  She stated that both medicine might be too hard on her sensitive stomach. 

I can’t emphasize enough to TALK to your veterinary oncologist BEFORE making any changes to your dog’s diet, especially if you dog is taking Palladia.  Learn from my mistake.  I tried to change Rosie to a premium “grain-free” dog food shortly after starting Palladia and Rosie got diarrhea.  Rosie’s oncologist was not happy with me at the time because she could not tell if the diarrhea was from the food change or from the Palladia.  She had no choice but to stop the Palladia treatment until the diarrhea was under control.  Rosie went several days, almost a week without receiving Palladia.  This was scary to me because I had read online about several dogs whose cancer quickly returned once the Palladia was stopped.   I was given instructions to NOT change her diet until after Rosie was on Palladia for 12 weeks.  Once Rosie went back to her regular food, she did not experience any more diarrhea and has had a successful Palladia treatment to-date.

Now, Rosie’s oncologist has approved for me to SLOWLY change Rosie over to a grain-free diet.  It is important to make any diet change gradually so as to not upset the dog’s digestive system.  If there is diarrhea or bloody stool, the Palladia again would need to be stopped and we would run the risk of the cancer returning.  So I don’t want to risk that because of the diet change.  

Lots of information is available online, sometimes conflicting information about diets for dogs with cancer.  Many people recommend home-cooked meals.  Some recommend raw diets.  Some recommend specific brands of grain-free dog food.  Many recommend additional supplements and enzymes.  This is why I recommend talking to your oncologist and a holistic vet so that, with you, they can provide a specific diet for your dog’s cancer and your situation.

Since I work full-time and Rosie eats 4 small meals a day to prevent stomach upset and diarrhea, home cooking was not very feasible for me.  So I am in the process of gradually changing her over to a natural, premium grain-free dog foood which my veterinary oncologist recommended.  I’m not going to recommend any specific food in this blog.  I urge you to discuss the topic with your oncologist and holistic vet.

Dr. Dressler has some good information on diet on his Dog Cancer blog, www.dogcancerblog.com and more specifically in his book, which has additional information on diets for dogs with cancer.   I have some links on the right side of this blog also with additional information.

Good luck to each of you.

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One Comment on “Mast Cell Tumors, Palladia, Diet, and Side Effects”

  1. Catherine M Foley Says:

    Thank you for sharing your information, I have a
    9yr old boxer and we just had 2 days of profuse
    diahrea, I brought him to the ER and they are giving him fluids & meds. They are doing full blood work and I am concerned that they are going to come back with a cancer diagnosis, he has one mast cell lump on his side that we have monitored & has gone down with years of good diet. He has always had a sensitive stomach so we have taken special care of his diet. What do I do if they do say mast cell Tumors are causing the intestinal problems. I am more of a holistic person, I work for Jarrow formulas, we make PetDophilus and other things I know I can treat him with to increase the quality of his life. I don’t want to be roped into medical hysteria and just want my boy back home with me. Besides the diahrea he has been so playful and joyful and has such a good life, I get concerned with medical treatment as it is most often aggressive and detrimental. I am waiting to hear this afternoon and just doing some research now so I can be informed. I also feel the pressure of declining further medical treatment and asking to take him home. They found some blood in his stool, after 9yrs, this is the first time I have ever had to leave him at the hospital…he has been so healthy and a big love to us all


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