Cali is fighting her hemangiosarcoma with magical mushrooms. No, not that kind of mushroom! At least, I don’t think that turkey tail mushrooms are hallucinogenic …
They reportedly do have properties that both boost the immune system and slow the growth of tumors, though, and have been used in Eastern medicine for centuries.
A small study on dogs with hemangiosarcoma found that turkey tail mushrooms could extend their survival by significantly lengthening the time until tumors grew large enough to be seen on a scan. (The study has a terrible title but the text is very user-friendly and fascinating!)
So Cali is taking a large dose of turkey tail mushroom powder daily. She and Orly are both getting a blend of mushrooms that also might slow or prevent tumor growth while also boosting their overall immune responses.
We’ll probably never know whether the mushrooms actually helped. But … as my vets agree, taking the mushrooms won’t hurt anything. And could help.
The dogs in the study had all been diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma following a splenectomy, like Cali. None of them was doing chemotherapy, though that is an option.
Cali has had a single dose of chemo, and we’re waiting for her post-surgery scan to decide whether to continue. It is administered in a 2-hour infusion; we spent the time working and hanging out in the vet’s office. She didn’t have a bad reaction to it at all (she didn’t have any reaction that I noticed). It, too, can slow the tumor growth — unless there are already visible tumors.
If she continues, she’ll have up to three additional treatments, three weeks apart. Her friends at my workplace sent her flowers the first time she had chemo. She’d never gotten flowers before and was very excited when the delivery person came!