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Blogs by Dr. Pamela Dragos, DVM

An ongoing series of informational entries

Our Latest Blog Entry

December 19, 2021



What are Lipomas?

Lipomas are benign fatty tumors that develop under the skin most commonly in dogs. They are usually soft, round or oval and moveable although some are quite firm and stationary.


How and Why do Lipomas form?

There are many theories regarding why some dogs get these tumors. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is said that these tumors are a result of Spleen Qi deficiency. The Chinese Spleen is associated with digestion and is the source of Qi and Blood. When the Chinese Spleen is weak, it is unable to adequately produce Qi and Blood, and instead, produces dampness. Dampness accumulates in the body and transforms into Phlegm. Lipomas are considered Phlegm nodules in Traditional Chinese Medicine. So why does the Chinese Spleen (digestion) become weak? If we look the Chinese Five Element Constitutions or personalities, the Earth constitution is associated with the Spleen. Earthy dogs, like Labrador Retrievers, are happy, friendly, maternal, relaxed and go with the flow. They are constitutionally predisposed to Spleen/digestion issues and therefore, Lipomas. When we talk about the Spleen and digestion issues, this logically leads us to food, diet and what we are offering our pets to eat. Diet plays a huge role in Lipoma formation and really, any tumor development. Highly processed foods such as kibble and canned dog food, generate excessive heat in the body and damage the Chinese Spleen (digestion). Another theory is that lipomas are benign storage areas for toxins. It is thought that the body pushes environmental toxins (vaccines, pesticides, chemicals) out and accumulates them into Lipomas where they cannot harm the body.


What can you do about Lipomas?

First of all, making sure your dog is eating fresh, real food is paramount to good health. Dogs with Lipomas already have weakened digestion, so feeding a gently cooked real food diet is ideal. Raw food is great in general, but can be too difficult to digest and use up too much energy in a dog with Lipomas and inherent underlying deficiency in Qi (energy).

Medicinal mushrooms, such as Coriolus or Turkey Tail mushrooms, have anticancer properties and help clear phlegm from the body. 

Chinese herbs, put together into a formula, work synergistically to soften masses and clear Phlegm. Herbs such as Prunella, Fritillaria, Trichosanthes, Platycodon, and Scrophularia have anticancer properties. Dragon Flower Herbs custom made Canine Fatty Tumor Formula uses these and other herbs to help clear soft masses in dogs.

The Ayurvedic herb, Turmeric, is currently the most scientifically studied herb. It has been proven to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.

Other supplements that can be helpful are probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Green Tea extract (ECGC), Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and CBD.


What can your Holistic Veterinarian do for your dog with a Lipoma?

Your Holistic Veterinarian can help balance your dog's body, tonify deficiencies in Qi and Blood, hasten elimination of toxins, transform Phlegm and resolve lipomas. Many Holistic Veterinarians are certified in Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Chiropractic, Herbal Medicine, Diet Therapy, Tui Na, Essential Oils, Flower Essences, and Energy Work.


Please consult your Veterinarian if you think your dog has a lipoma.

Our First Blog Entry

May 14, 2021



What is Valley Fever?

Valley Fever is a fungal infection caused by the Coccidioides organism. Coccidioides species live in the soil. They multiply during the rainy season. When the ground dries, the fungal spores are released into the air. Soil disruption during storms, construction, excavation or digging, will hasten the release of the spores into the environment. Infection occurs when these fungal spores are inhaled into the lungs.


What are the Symptoms of Valley Fever in dogs?

Symptoms of Valley Fever in dogs can occur 1 week to 3 years after inhaling the spores. Initial signs can range from minor coughing and sneezing to full blown pneumonia. The most common symptoms are fever, lethargy, inappetence, weight loss, cough, swollen glands, and joint pain or limping. More severe symptoms include bone swelling, seizures, skin abscesses and organ failure.


What Veterinarians do for Dogs with Valley Fever?

Veterinarians commonly diagnose Valley Fever with blood tests and x-rays along with consistent physical exam findings and a history of being in an endemic area like Arizona. Occasionally, there are false negative blood tests, making the diagnosis of Valley Fever tricky. Conventional treatment consists of one of the prescription azole drugs such as Fluconazole. Treatment generally takes at least 9-12 months.


What you can do to prevent Valley Fever in your dog?

Prevention consists of making sure your dog has a healthy immune system. Regular exercise, fresh food, clean water, adequate sleep as well as mental stimulation, stress reduction, and avoiding pesticides are some of the keys to good health. Supplements that support the immune system include medicinal mushrooms, astragalus, ginseng, schisandra, and ashwagandha.


What do you do if your dog is diagnosed with Valley Fever?

If your dog is diagnosed with Valley Fever, you should go back and make sure you are providing your dog with the foundations of good health in order to optimize your dog's immune system. Your allopathic vet will likely prescribe prescription antifungals. You can also give your dog a medicinal mushroom blend. It is important to use a product that contains the mushroom fruiting body along with the mycelium. Myco Herb MycoForte is a nice product. Dragon Flower Herbs Canine Valley Fever Support is a custom herbal tincture formulated for dogs that have Valley Fever. It contains a blend of immune modulating, anti-inflammatory and antifungal herbs. It can be used with or without conventional treatment. 


Please consult with your Veterinarian if you think your dog has Valley Fever.

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