Essiac, an alternative treatment.

I have never believed in alternative medicine. Although I do not support the enforced testing of drugs on animals, even if it is in a veterinary capacity in order to treat animals, nevertheless I have always believed that the scientific method is the only reliable one to live by. As a scientist myself this is how I was taught.

In September 2005 one of our Greyhounds, the beautiful Katie, (see picture below) was diagnosed with cancer. A lump about the size of a walnut appeared in her throat. The vet opened her up and after taking a biopsy to send away for tests immediately sewed her up again. The tumour was in far too dangerous a place to operate, close to the jugular vein and the windpipe. After a few days the biopsy results confirmed what the vet had already prepared us for, Katie would probably have about six months to live, though he couldn't even be sure of that. Sadly, we took Katie home.

When I told a friend about this she suggested something I had never heard of, a herbal tea called Essiac. At first I didn't take her e-mail too seriously, herbal concoctions were outside my comfort zone, science was in a grey area here and I rebelled against it. After a couple of days I thought "perhaps we should give it a try, I am sure it won't harm Katie so we have nothing to lose". I looked up "Essiac" on the internet and was surprised to discover a wealth of information in lots of web sites, apparently everyone knew about this stuff except me. My friend gave me a phone number for someone in South Wales who produced it and I rang them. Within three days a little white bottle containing 500ML of Essiac was delivered to our door.

With little enthusiasm we started to give Katie the recommended 20ML of the tea twice a day. We squirted it into her mouth with one of those little syringes that you get when the vet gives your dog treatment. Having six Greys at this time we had lots of the things hanging around. In less than two weeks the bottle was empty and we had to decide whether to get another one. With the attitude "Oh well, there's no harm, we won't know if we don't go on a bit more", I ordered two bottles this time. When the last of these two bottles was nearly empty we were amazed to see that the lump in Katies' throat hadn't got any bigger, and though we realised that it was probably just wishful thinking, it actually seemed to be a bit smaller than it was six weeks ago. Now we had to go on and two more bottles were soon in our fridge.

As time went on Katie seemed to be winning her battle. She was bright and cheerful and eating well, and though her back legs are a little weak because of her advanced age she still loved her walks. The lovely people who we get our Essiac from in Wales now advised us to cut down the dosage from 20ML twice a day to that amount once a day just before Katie has her breakfast so that her stomach is empty and it will be quickly absorbed into her bloodstream. This meant that a bottle would now last for 25 days. Also Katie had started to drink her tea from a saucer so we didn't need the syringe anymore, clearly she liked the taste.

It is now January 2007, sixteen months since Katie was given six months to live and she is doing wonderfully well. The lump is still there in her throat but it is no bigger than it was in September 2005 and I truly believe that it is even a little smaller. I am now sure that this lump will not be the cause when Katie does eventually die. Katie has beaten cancer and the only weapons she has had are Essiac herbal tea and love. Though I am still a scientist at heart I now have to admit that there may be something in some of these alternative treatments after all. If you have been told that your loved pet has cancer please don't give up, just type Essiac into Google. By the way, Essiac is really a human treatment but it clearly works just as well for dogs. This is the phone number of the really nice people in Wales where we get Katies' stuff from:- Wellspring Herbal Tel. 01239 654458 tell them John in Manchester told you about them, and I wish you as much success as we have had with Katie.

John Ratcliffe.

Katie, August 2006

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