Therapy Dogs in Cancer Care: A Valuable Complementary Treatment

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But her zoo-related colleagues encouraged her to do a small animal medicine and surgery internship before pursuing zoo animal medicine. As she explains it, her first rotation was oncology. She fell in love with it … and that was that! People ask Dr. Hershey questions like, "Isn't it a sad field?

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Isn't it always disappointing? She and her team have been fortunate to meet a lot of great people and wonderful animals, and have been able to provide a great quality of life for those pets, and in many cases, an extended life. Next I wanted to know how far into her career as a board-certified veterinary oncologist Dr.

Pet therapy: Animals as healers

Hershey was when she began to feel frustrated by the lack of tools available to help improve the quality of life of animals with cancer. She replied that it happened very fast. After she finished her residency, she joined a private practice in Arizona, and she quickly realized she didn't have all the tools she wanted to help her patients. And there are owners who don't want to pursue those kinds of treatments for their pet. Hershey didn't want to tell owners there was nothing more she could do for their pet because she didn't believe it herself — especially for those animals that still had great spirit and a good quality of life.

Hershey wanted to be able to offer other types of treatments, so she started researching Chinese medicine, and that's how she met Dr. Hershey if she felt reinvigorated in her ability to help sick animals when she began studying traditional Chinese medicine. She responded that she absolutely did. She had been in conversation with some of her alternative practice colleagues about the different courses available to learn complementary therapies. Everyone she talked to had great things to say about Dr. Xie and the Chi Institute. When Dr. Hershey arrived at the Institute, she felt like it was a new door opening.

She says the environment there is amazing, and she goes back from time to time to renew her spirit for people, for medicine, and for her work with veterinary cancer patients. Practicing integrative veterinary oncology means making use of everything one learns about traditional and non-traditional cancer treatments.

Therapy Dogs in Cancer Care - A Valuable Complementary Treatment | Dawn A. Marcus | Springer

I see cancer patients in my own practice, many of whom are referred to me for adjunctive therapy. There are no integrative veterinary oncologists in my neck of the woods. The number one cancer I see in my practice is lymphoma. It feels to me like it's reaching epidemic proportions.

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Hershey to talk about this particular type of cancer. She replied that lymphoma is also the cancer she sees most often, and owners come to her clinic for Western and integrative therapies. She explains that we really don't understand what causes lymphoma any better than we understand what causes other forms of cancer.

But we're definitely seeing more and more cases of it, especially in certain breeds of dog like the Golden Retriever.

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And we're seeing it in younger dogs, again, especially in the case of goldens. Hershey says lymphoma is a difficult disease. It's very rewarding to treat initially with chemotherapy because it is very responsive to chemo — but it doesn't cure the disease. The cure for lymphoma continues to elude us, and Dr. Hershey feels we have really reached the limit of what Western medicine and chemotherapy have to offer veterinary lymphoma patients. No real advances have been made in the treatment of this disease in a long time.

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The same chemo protocols Dr. Hershey was taught during her residency are still in use today. No real progress has been made in improving remission time or finding a cure. Hershey to share a little about what she and Dr. Xie are working on, because it's incredibly exciting. It's like a breath of fresh air — for both vets and pet owners — that could potentially change the face of veterinary oncology.

Hershey explained that she's been practicing Chinese medicine for the last eight years, and she routinely incorporates Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture, along with good nutrition, in her protocols for chemotherapy patients. It is offered to every cancer patient, and definitely every lymphoma patient that comes through the door. Not every owner wants to pursue acupuncture or herbal medicine, but Dr. Hershey's experience over the last eight years is that those pet owners who do incorporate alternative therapies have their dogs longer than owners who don't.

Dogs are able to live longer with the disease when they receive complementary therapies in addition to chemo. Hershey says she is seeing years of remission time in these dogs, where chemotherapy alone only offers, on average, a year of remission and survival time. She says Dr. Xie has observed the same outcome, and so has Dr.

Marcus, MD, an expert in both pain management and health improvement through human and dog interaction, Therapy Dogs in Cancer Care: A Valuable Complementary Treatment is an extremely well-organized, well-researched, and highly readable book. JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. Free Preview. Ground-breaking title on incorporating dogs into the cancer care arena Evidence-based and developed by an expert in the field Highly practical and easy to read, with tips and strategies to optimize patient outcomes Dog-themed exercise program for cancer survivors see more benefits.

Buy eBook. Buy Softcover. Rent the eBook. For women, surgeries to remove breast, cervical or other gynecologic cancers may lead to physical changes that make sexual activity painful or that impact their self-esteem. Radiation therapy : Men treated with radiation therapy to the lower belly may experience scarring or nerve damage that affects their ability to have an erection.

Radiation treatments for women with pelvic-area cancers may develop decreased tissue elasticity or scarring, which may make sex difficult or painful. Music therapy is the practice of using music to address your physical and emotional needs in a therapeutic environment. It may be used to help alleviate emotional, physical and social stresses caused by cancer, or to boost your mood and help you through cancer treatment and recovery. Our mind-body therapists may help patients use music for therapeutic expression.

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