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Osteosarcoma (and other issues) in 10 y/o Boxer


Community Member
Oct 25, 2023
Hi there. I'm feeling a bit desperate as I'm brand new to the homeopathic/holistic world, and I feel like I'm too late to help my girl since she hasn't been given a long prognosis by her vet.

My goofy, quirky 10 y/o boxer, Nala (F), has had a very rough go this past year. She's on so many medications now, I'm not sure how to pivot to a more holistic approach.

She was just diagnosed with a primary bone tumor (likely osteosarcoma, though we won't put her through a biopsy) in her right shoulder, with decent reason to believe it's already spread to her lungs. With all of her other issues (which I'll outline below), it took a while for us to figure out this was the reason she lost her appetite 2 months ago. Her appetite seemed to disappear overnight - we've thankfully been able to get her back to eating, but she's very picky now and only eating very expensive wet food.

I really just want to know what I can do now to try and keep the cancer from spreading any more than it already has (if I can do anything to reverse it, even better!), reduce her pain, and give her a good quality of life for as long as possible.

We've had to try so many different foods recently because she's become so picky, she doesn't really have one she's used to at the moment. I think I could easily switch her to a more holistic nutrition plan; I'm just so overwhelmed by where to start and what to feed her. So many changes are happening all at once.

The cancer is the most pressing issue as osteosarcoma is known to be very aggressive, and her vet only expects her quality of life to hold up for a couple weeks. :( I'm not going to amputate because she already had a big surgery at the beginning of this year (eye removal due to a tumor in it as well), and I just can't put her through that again.

But her other issues still play a large role in the supplements and diet she can handle:

- Allergies: Seasonal and food allergies; she can't have chicken and seems to do better with "limited ingredient" foods. She also takes Apoquel, which used to be enough to help, but since switching up her diet to try to get her to eat, her allergies are flaring up.
- Cushing's Disease: she was diagnosed with Cushing's around a year ago, and she takes Vetoryl to manage her symptoms. The vet was unable to definitively say whether it's an adrenal or pituitary tumor, but they leaned towards pituitary.
- Hypothyroidism: she takes thyro-tabs to stimulate her thyroid, and she hasn't had many thyroid-specific symptoms (excess thirst, etc) since starting this ~2 years ago
- Arthritis: she's just an old girl that loves to be crazy and jump around. This is why I didn't think much of it when she began to limp; she's no stranger to tweaking her old joints (though I try to keep her calm).
- Appetite: she's taking a low dose appetite stimulant since she lost some weight from losing her appetite, but this is hopefully temporary.
- Cancer: since seeing the vet on Friday, we've also been giving Nala Galliprant and Gabapentin for her pain. It does seem to help and she's been in much better spirits since taking these, but I worry about how long before the pain becomes too much.

I know there's a lot going on here which makes it difficult to address, especially in this format. The only holistic vet I know of in my area has a long waitlist, and I just feel I need to act NOW. If anyone can offer any sort of beginner-friendly guidance about nutrition, supplements, treatments, etc., I would be so grateful. I'm just so overwhelmed.

Sorry, I realized I forgot to provide all the details from the guidelines:
  1. Neutering status: Nala was spayed as a puppy.
  2. Approximate weight: currently 49lbs, but closer to 55-60lbs when healthy and eating normally
  3. What's their BEAM (behavior, energy, appetite, mood): not great, but improved compared to last week. She's tired, but doesn't seem excessively fatigued. She's not anxious, which is how she gets when she feels really bad. She's taking a low dose appetite stimulant, but even without that, her appetite is much better with the pain meds. Without any medication, she doesn't have much of an appetite. She's still my sweet, cuddly girl and has her moments of zoomies and energy, usually after mealtime.
  4. Diet: primarily eating wet food right now
  5. Vaccination history / exposure to toxins, other medication: medications above. She's had all the recommended/routine annual vaccines up until this year
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HA! Support

All-Access Member
Mar 11, 2021
@Dr. Jeff @Dr. Christina @Dr. Jean Hofve

Hi Jordan.
I'm so sorry to hear about all of Nala's challenges, but I'm glad that she has someone like you who wants the very best for her.
While we wait to hear from the experts, you may find our resources regarding cancer to be helpful https://www.holisticactions.com/holistic-actions-for-cancer/, as well as our holistic pet care course Non member login | Holistic Actions!. You can also search the Forum (Search button at top right of your screen) to read about others' experiences with Osteosarcoma, Cushing's, Allergies, Arthritis, etc.

(((Hugs))) for you and Nala!

Holistic Actions! Support

Dr. Jeff

Feb 23, 2017
Hi Jordan!

Thanks so much for making your first post. I hope it is the first of many about Nala!!
give her a good quality of life for as long as possible.
Yay! That's the goal here at HA! with the Compassionate Communication method that we teach here.

A great place to start learning more is at the Sacred Paws summit (which is in your HA! member area). Especially the interviews with Rev. Sarah Bowen and Victoria Moran. They are two of the founders of the Compassion Consortium.

Rev. Sarah also heads up their animal chaplain training:

She's still my sweet, cuddly girl and has her moments of zoomies and energy, usually after mealtime.
That's a wonderful place to start with helping Nala's health challenges.

Perhaps make her super happy by giving her "Happy Meals" (small high value snacks) every 2 hours (or more!) I am doing the same thing now with Archie (my pup) who has his own health challenges.

One useful way to optimize healing is by increasing cellular energy which is done by following the maxim "Go With the Flow" (meaning fewer drugs, mindset shifts, etc.). The summit is also a great place to learn about this.

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