Pets with cancer

Even though my cats don’t have cancer, I’ve decided to start giving them curcumin, based on my years of research and self-experimenting. And I also decided to add my post to this Page, since it has to do with cats and might be helpful to others…

October 18 2013 post. I’ve been thinking about giving curcumin to my cats for a long time, but I didn’t have any powder until recently. Then, while I was in the U.S. this past summer, I managed to buy some C3 Complex powder…no additives. Purrfect. And so I’ve been mixing curcumin with their wet food twice a day for the past couple of weeks now.

Here are my reasons for giving them curcumin, aside from the main, obvious one—that is, to keep them as healthy as possible for as long as possible:

Case no. 1. Puzzola, our eldest (12 years old), was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism last spring. Luckily, she’s at an early stage of this disease. She has lost some weight (that seems to have stopped, though), has a big appetite and is a bit restless, which are all signs of this condition. However, she doesn’t have any other symptoms, as far as I can tell: her fur is soft and silky, she’s not cranky, depressed or aggressive, and so on.

Following our vet’s advice, we’ve been treating her with a conventional drug…a pill that she has to take twice a day. We’ve been mixing it with her wet food. No problems, luckily (= she’s the one who can smell a pulverized antibiotic even inside a mixture of the smelliest anchovies and sardines…!)…

Note: I did some research on this topic and found that curcumin has been studied in connection with hyperthyroidism (in rats)…Even though Puzzola is definitely NOT a rat, Stefano and I decided to give it a try…

Case no. 2. Piccolo. He’s our nine-year-old, black and white male. In spite of his name (“piccolo” means “small” in Italian…We gave him this name because he was indeed very small when we adopted him, as a result of a serious infection that almost killed him), he’s a big boy who weighs about 9 kilograms or 20 pounds and loves to wolf down not only his food but everybody else’s, too. So, over the years, in spite of our efforts to curb his appetite, he’s gotten a bit heavy. We finally gave up on diet food, deciding that it was too stressful to put him on a diet…too stressful for him AND for us…plus our open-space floor plan makes putting only one cat on a diet virtually impossible…Interestingly enough, he’s now much less obsessed with food, which means that he is eating less now that dry food is available all the time…

But let’s get to the important part of his story: last month I noticed that he wasn’t jumping onto the dining room table anymore. Now, Piccolo has always “joined” us for dinner. I mean, he has always curled up at the other end of the table in order to keep us company while we eat…

Then it struck me that he hadn’t been jumping onto the high part of the kitchen counter, either…this is where Pinga has her bowl (it’s a ledge above the counter). Piccolo loves to be up there, since it’s the highest spot in our open kitchen-dining room area = the purrfect place for a dominant kitty to keep tabs on the other cats…and to bump foreheads with me :) …How had I not noticed that before???

Last but not least, Piccolo has also been having a bit of trouble hoisting himself onto our bed. He jumps just enough to get his head above the mattress, then he pulls himself up the rest of the way, digging his claws into the cover for extra help. He’s never done that before.

So I began watching him more closely, and I noticed (horror) that he was walking a bit…funny. It looked as though he might be in a bit of pain. Arthritis? Time to intervene…

Case no. 3. Prezzemolo, our youngest cat (1.5 years old, I think, by now), the one who came from the cat shelter, has always been a bit sickly, unfortunately. You may remember that he had a bit of a difficult time last fall, right after we adopted him…he came to us with a variety of ailments…He’s gotten over most of them, but he still has a chronic cold thing caused by a stubborn virus. Our vet thinks he’ll have this condition for the rest of his life. It means that during the winter months in particular, even though our cats are indoor cats, this chronic condition gets worse…

Main symptom: he sneezes violently, and his…uhm, let’s see if I can find a polite way to put this…uff, no, I cannot!…and, er, his snot shoots out of his nose as violently as hot water and steam from a geyser, landing all over the place–our walls (btw, the snot dries so quickly that we usually don’t get it off in time…Result: the walls are now all speckled…Yeah, I know this is revolting…SORRY! ;) ), the other cats, any surface such as the kitchen counter…and on us, too, if we don’t get out of the way in time. Yeah, yucky, I agree. A lot of this stuff also sticks to his face, and he licks it off. Super gross! Okay, okay, way too much information! I think you get the idea… ;-)

I’ve been giving him vitamins, but so far nothing has worked. By the way, he doesn’t act like a sickly cat. On the contrary, he’s super active…adorable, playful, affectionate, happy, and so on…It’s just that he has his sneezy-snotty “moments.” We can all live with that, but it would be nice for him to have a normal life…

Okay, now, based only on my own observations (and Stefano’s), here are the results of administering curcumin to the cats in this short period:

General observations:

  • I haven’t noticed ONE single pool of vomit (hairball-caused, etc …). We usually have at least one per week. And we’ve been through periods of one per day, too. Could it be the curcumin?
  • In the pre-curcumin period, Pinga (three years old) would almost never come downstairs to have breakfast. She is also a super finicky eater: she loves tuna but little else. How many times has she walked away from her food? Too many to count. Well, that has changed. Ever since I began mixing curcumin into their wet food, she’s been the first cat downstairs in the morning. No kidding. She sits on the edge of the counter and waits impatiently for her food, tapping me on the arm and chirping if I seem too slow (hey, I feed the cats BEFORE coffeezzzzz! ;) ). I’ve never seen anything like it. Not with her…
  • All the cats are eating their curcumin-enriched food eagerly…I’ve never seen them lick their bowls clean like that. I admit, even I am surprised.

And now, in order of appearance and age:

  • Puzzola: hard to tell if there have been any changes until she has blood tests (we’re going to meet with the vet next week). She seems absolutely fine, though, and perhaps less agitated, yes, but I can’t tell if anything else is going on with her.
  • Piccolo: he has recently begun, slowly, to jump onto the dining room table. The first time this happened, I almost wept with joy (I’d seen him try and fall so many times…broke my heart…In case you were wondering, whenever he fell, we’d pick him up and put him on the table…). He still hasn’t tried jumping onto the high counter, though; I think he’s still scared of not making it. I’ll see what I can do about that, at some point. One step at a time…
  • Prezzemolo: his is the most noticeable change. He isn’t sneezing as much! No big snot episodes/wall decorating in the past week. No kidding. This is a huuuuuge improvement. Now, would this have happened even without curcumin? I have no proof, of course, but my instinct tells me “no,” especially since I know how snotty and sneezy he was last winter (all winter!) and also in the pre-curcumin weeks, which is when the weather started getting cooler over here…

If I observe anything else, good or bad, I’ll let you know…For now, all is well!

The experiment continues…

P.S. Interesting note: I recently found a curcumin product (for sale) for cats and dogs. Its main ingredient is C3 Complex, so I asked myself, why not use that directly? Plus, this way, I’m not giving them anything BUT the powder…no additives, that is, as I mentioned previously…

April 19 2012 post. Sometimes I get notes from readers with pets. Pets with cancer. The readers usually ask me about curcumin doses for animals. It’s a tough topic, but I have written a few posts about it (see, e.g., my March 11 2010 and October 11 2007 posts).

Well, today, thanks to a Google Alert, I stumbled across the story of a dog named Lucy. For the past year, Lucy has been in remission from nasal cancer. She has taken a combo of natural extracts, including curcumin. Luckily for us, her “owner” decided to post her story on a blog, with videos and photos: http://goo.gl/f5Swt Three cheers for Lucy!!!

March 11 2010 post. This morning I received a Google Alert that took me to a vet’s webpage discussing the possible benefits of administering curcumin to dogs with cancer. The vet’s name is Dr. Dressler, and he apparently is known as the “dog cancer vet.” Anyway, his post (see below link) and his readers’ comments were very interesting, but one of the comments really stuck out, the one about the 12-year-old dog diagnosed with multiple myeloma (=March 9 2010 comment), see: http://tinyurl.com/yzvqvkk

Now, have you ever heard of a dog or cat being diagnosed with multiple myeloma? No…I don’t think I have, either. Oh noooo, here it comes…another research topic…!!!

Okay, now back to being serious. Very serious. Ever since losing a beloved cat (the kitty I adopted at the Toronto Humane Society while I was doing my PhD at U of T) to some sort of horrible kidney disease or tumor, I have considered giving my cats some curcumin for preventive purposes. Well, after reading this web page, I think the time has come…I just have to figure out how to do it, and how much (not very much!) to give to them. Luckily, I have already written a post more or less on this topic, see: https://margaret.healthblogs.org/2007/10/11/curcumin-for-cats/ 

Stefano and I are both taking curcumin…now it’s our cats’ turn! Prevention…prevention…if only I had known years ago what I know now…

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