Longevity with a Dog Adrenal Gland Tumor: Marley’s Story

Marleys_Miracle- a_longer_happier_life_with a_dog adrenal_gland_tumour

What is a dog adrenal gland tumor?

A dog adrenal gland tumor is located on one of the adrenal glands, which are located near the kidneys in the abdomen. Adrenal gland tumors are relatively uncommon, and they can be either cancerous or noncancerous.

The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system in dogs. The outer part of the adrenal glands secretes the steroid hormones mineralocorticoids (which control electrolyte balance), glucocorticoids (which control metabolism and immune functions), and sex hormones (like estrogen and testosterone). The medulla (middle part of the adrenal gland) also secretes substances necessary for your dog’s stress and blood sugar management such as catecholamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.

A dog adrenal gland tumor can cause imbalances in any of these hormones, but the most common imbalance is excess cortisol which results in Cushing’s disease (adrenal-dependent hyperadrenocorticism). Cushing’s disease is usually caused by a pituitary tumor, but in a small segment of cases, it is caused by an adrenal tumor.

If a dog adrenal gland tumor is present, surgery is usually the best option. However, not all dogs are candidates for surgery. If your dog isn’t a candidate for surgery or you want to avoid surgery, you can schedule a consult with Dr. Smith to learn about holistic options.

What are some holistic options for a dog adrenal gland tumor?

For cancer in general or for a dog adrenal gland tumor, we often recommend combinations of the following:

  • PET | TAO Medicinal Mushrooms (Complement Immune)
  • A home-cooked diet based on Eastern Food Therapy
  • Exercise/physical therapy
  • Eastern Herbal Formulas
  • Acupuncture
  • Apocaps

Depending on your dog’s constitution and how a dog adrenal gland tumor affects them, many different combinations of herbal formulas and TCVM food/treats are possible. Get a consult (in-person or via telemedicine) with Dr. Smith for the best outcome!

As the co-founder of PET | TAO, Dr. Smith is an expert in Eastern Food Therapy. He also holds a Master’s degree along with multiple certifications in TCVM from Chi University. He’s made homemade pet food many times, so you’ll have a trusted coach to guide you.

Here’s a dog adrenal gland tumor success story from our clinic!

Our client Barbara lives in British Columbia, Canada, and found NTVS through a Google search for holistic veterinarians. Her first telemedicine consultation with Dr. Smith was in January 2023. She was looking for a holistic approach and dietary changes for her dog, Marley, who was diagnosed with a dog adrenal gland tumor. Marley also has hip dysplasia and arthritis.

Here’s Marley’s story:

Marley is my beloved companion, adopted from the SPCA nine years ago at age three. At the time, they wondered if her coat may ever grow back – but she’s been wearing a “million dollar coat” for years now. Everyone could see her big brown eyes and heart of gold, despite neglect in her early years. It’s been joy and fun since then!

A year ago, an ultrasound at my local vet revealed a mass on one of Marley’s adrenal glands. Presumed cancerous, the options given me were a high-risk surgery, or palliative care at home. I read the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, found Dr. Smith online, and had a phone consult. He diagnosed Cushing’s Disease and recommended Rehmannia and a special diet. She took Apocaps daily.

Marley ate her home-cooked meals with enthusiasm. I called it Marley’s Happy-Healthy Project. We enjoyed great days, every day, for a whole year (still are). Playing, swimming, resting, smiling. I can’t thank Dr. Smith enough, and one day may make the 2,500-mile trip (40 hours if I drive!) to visit Natchez Trace Vet and give him a big hug.

One year later – almost to the day – this January, bloodwork revealed Marley had (has) renal failure. No arguing with the numbers, but “Shhhh – Marley didn’t get the Memo”. She underwent 1.5 days of an ‘aggressive’ I.V. kidney flush, during which my local vets let me visit in her kennel – what a blessing. They could do no more and sent us home together.

I called Natchez Trace, to ask Dr. Smith how I might help Marley be as comfortable as possible. I just dialed the number, from ‘up here’ in Canada. The person (John?) on reception asked “is this about Marley”? I felt so cared for – as you’d kept my number from the year before. There had just been a cancellation, and within a couple of hours I was able to connect with Dr. Smith by phone.

Dr. Smith recommended Pepcid to help tamp down stomach acid (my understanding), also Rehmannia to support her kidneys, and, like my local vet, told me of symptoms to look out for (so that I could be realistic and not have Marley suffer). All agreed she could eat what she wants, and please drink much fresh water.

Now she’s also on Fortekor, to help release protein, and Epakitin to block phosphorus. Helping her kidneys function. I appreciate my local vet and Dr. Smith working alongside from afar, even without being in touch directly. My local vet has much respect for Dr. Smith’s holistic work.

I hesitate to say too much, as we’re still in the midst of it. But five weeks later, my darling life-companion is still smiling, cheerful, wagging, barking, seemingly comfortable, and has her sense of humour and playfulness. Also, now she has stuffies, fleece blankies, and treats galore (these were not part of her repertoire before)! She enjoys eating small amounts a-la-carte (as we say in Canada, maybe elsewhere too), and has maintained her weight these past 6 weeks – even up a little bit recently.

She is breathing gently beside me on her cushy bed as I write this (after her daily outing to watch golf carts go by and kids at the skatepark)!

We’re enjoying every moment, meal, and day. 

Given Marley’s age, Barbara was against invasive surgery and harsh options like radiation and chemotherapy. Instead, she opted to discuss a change in Marley’s diet and begin a supplement and nutraceutical regimen for a dog adrenal gland tumor.

Five months after Barbara’s initial consult, we were thrilled to receive this update:

I just wished to say again how helpful Dr. Smith & Natchez Trace Veterinary Services have been for Marley’s health.

Now, six months after her initial diagnosis with a dog adrenal gland tumor, and Dr. Smith’s subsequent assessment of Cushing’s Disease – plus your recommended diet and herbs (also ApoCaps, in case she has cancer as the vets presume here in my area) – Marley’s doing well!

She has maintained her weight, her coat is beautiful, and her energy has resumed (within the range of an 11-year-old with arthritis).

At the beginning of 2024, Barbara had a second telemedicine consultation with Dr. Smith. He learned Marley was at a critical stage of renal failure according to her local veterinarian. Barbara was seeking a second opinion regarding what to do next to improve Marley’s quality of life. On Valentine’s Day, we received an update from Barbara on Marley’s condition:

Miracle-Marley-dog-adrenal-gland-tumorI’m happy to report that ‘Miracle’ Marley’s doing alright, five weeks later. She’s remained cheerful, seemingly quite comfortable, restful, and playful (in short bouts). She’s kept her weight since the end of December, even up a little bit this past week or two (albeit lower than what had been her norm). She likes her morning drive to our local Rec facility to get out and watch the goings-on in the fields.

She’s not yet shown the symptoms that you and my vet here alerted me to watch for. She’s just eating less (on a varied ‘menu’ of what she’ll eat, which does include 2 cans of A/D per day) and drinking a good amount of water.

In addition to tons of love and TLC, I think the Pepcid you recommended probably kept her going from those first days. I’m giving 10 mg morning, 10 mg evening. Now that she’s been carrying on okay, she’s also on Fortekor (my understanding to let unprocessed proteins out) and Epakitin (to bind/block dietary phosphorous is my understanding).

The Kan Rhemannia 8 (the one you let me know I could get in Canada) were big pills, so I subbed in with Pet Wellbeing Kidney Support Gold liquid, with the same main ingredient. Just at one of the two daily doses so far. The last few days she’s missed her dose, but I will resume.

Every day is a gift. We enjoyed our Groundhog Day and will be happy to repeat. 

We’re always here for you

Do you need help with a dog adrenal gland tumor, Cushing’s, arthritis, or hip dysplasia?

Set up an appointment with Dr. Smith today! 

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