Does Turkey Tail Mushroom Help With Cancer in Dogs?
Yes, turkey tail mushroom has been shown to extend the life expectancy of dogs with cancer, specifically hemangiosarcoma. Read on to learn more about this incredible mushroom.
In forests all over the world, an odd-looking flat mushroom grows in abundance. This simple mushroom, called turkey tail, is so common that it seems commonplace, yet is getting the attention of scientists and nutritionists all over the world because of its potentially lifesaving cancer-fighting properties. Turkey tail mushrooms has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine, but are still unfamiliar as medicine in Western society. That could be changing in the coming years, though, because the FDA recently approved supplements containing turkey tail mushrooms to use in trials on people with cancer.
Scientists discovered turkey tail mushrooms are a potent immunotherapy, and they could be helpful for the immune systems of breast cancer patients. This may mean a longer, better life for cancer patients of all descriptions. Turkey Tail Mushrooms may serve as immunity boosters for dogs, helping a dogs body to identify tumors that are undergoing cancer treatment and directly attack the tumors. The University of Pennsylvanias College of Veterinary Medicine conducted a study of turkey tail mushrooms using 15 dogs suffering from a severe form of cancer.
The cancer was so aggressive, the dogs who were not treated usually lived just 86 days before succumbing to their cancer. The results of the study shocked researchers. While the longest reported average survival of dogs with the illness given no treatment was 86 days, the Penn study had dogs living for more than a year without any additional treatment other than the compound found in turkey tail mushrooms. If you have a dog with hemangiosarcoma, that may seem pretty incredible, since only 12% of dogs with this deadly cancer survive beyond 12 months of diagnosis.
Let’s learn more about one of the most deadly forms of cancer in dogs and how turkey tail mushroom could help.
What Is Hemangiosarcoma?
Hemangiosarcomas occur when the cells in the endothelium become unruly. Endothelial cells build blood vessels, which is why these vascular tumors are more prevalent in organs that have a good supply of blood. The most frequently affected organs are the spleen, liver, heart, and skin.
The symptoms of hemangiosarcoma are different depending on the location of the tumor. Skin tumors usually appear as red or purple lumps that may bleed. Skin tumors can look like benign fat tumors, and they may be soft or hard. The spleen is the most common site of hemangiosarcoma.
The bad news for dogs with hemangiosarcoma is the fact that survival rates are not great. The most important treatment is removing the tumor, if that is a possibility. Conventional treatments would also include chemotherapy. Even when treated, hemangiosarcoma has poor average survival rates. If left untreated, most dogs only live for days to weeks.
Surgery may prolong the time of survival to 1 to 3 months. And surgery combined with chemotherapy sometimes can prolong survival time for an additional 3 months. Only 12% of dogs with hemangiosarcoma survive past diagnosis, even after receiving therapy. But the University of Pennsylvanias study from 2012 offers a little more hope.
Turkey Tail Mushroom for Dogs with Hemangiosarcoma
Turkey Tail Mushrooms (Coriolus versicolor) have been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. In fact, it is one of the most researched mushrooms. Turkey Tail Mushrooms have a whole host of health benefits.
They are immune-modulating, and they are good prebiotics. But two components are getting cancer researchers excited: polysaccharide-K (PSK) and polysaccharide-P (PSP).
Both PSK and PSP are b-glucans, the fibers that give mushrooms their structure. Beta-glucans can directly bind with the dogs immune cells and rebuild healthy immune responses. They also bind with macrophages, the immune cells responsible for killing tumor cells.
Turkey Tail has been studied extensively for its cancer-fighting properties, it has been shown to increase the survival times of patients suffering from breast, stomach, and colorectal cancer. These promising results have led researchers to investigate how this potent mushroom may affect the survival time of dogs suffering from hemangiosarcoma.
How Turkey Tail Mushroom Helps with Hemangiosarcoma
In 2012, researchers from Penn State studied how polysacchariopeptides (PSPs) in turkey-tail mushrooms might be helpful for dogs suffering from hemangiosarcoma. They fed dogs PSP from turkey tail in a double-blind study, without any other treatments. The results of the study were amazing, and the dogs in the study had the longest survival times reported in dogs with this condition. Without the use of surgery or chemotherapy. The dogs had much more time before they metastasized.
The time of survival seemed to increase as the dose increased. The average survival time for dogs not receiving the therapy was 86 days. Prior to that, the longest reported average survival time for dogs with spleen hemangiosarcoma who did not receive additional treatment was 86 days. We have dogs living well over a year without anything but this mushroom being used as a therapy.
The survival differences among the three dosing groups were not statistically significant. But median survival was highest for the 100-mg group, a total of 199 days.
The researchers were so startled by this outcome that they repeated tissue biopsies. The pathologists confirmed, however, that the dogs indeed had a hemangiosarcoma.
Chemotherapy is a major mainstream treatment for hemangiosarcoma, but this trial suggests that it might not be the best choice. It does not dramatically improve survival, is expensive, and means lots of trips to the vet for dogs. So, you need to factor in the quality of life. Turkey Tail Mushrooms may give owners a way to lengthen the lives of their pets, without frequent trips to the vet.
And researchers found no evidence of any negative effects. The good news is that fungus beta-glucan works against a variety of different types of cancer. In fact, PSP has been patented in both China and Japan as a tumor fighting medicine. This trial is hoped to catalyze more controlled trials in dogs suffering from hemangiosarcomas and other tumors.