Ask the Vet ?Cancer in our Pets

Written by Dr Rose Dileva VMD,MS,CVCP,CVA. Posted in Ask The Vet.


My cat “Chance” was recently diagnosed with cancer of the liver. He is 13 years old and has diabetes. I have been investigating the holistic ways to treat it because I do not want to do chemotherapy on my pet. I came across an article that said that Vitamin C was helpful. Can you discuss this, please?

Vitamin C has been receiving accolades for many decades (via Dr. Linus Pauling) because it is a potent anti-oxidant with many positive benefits. Antioxidants counter oxidation which is a process that naturally occurs when cells begin to wear out from aging, illness, arthritis, skin disease, and most importantly, cancer. Drugs such as antibiotics, chemotherapy and radiation diminish the body’s ability to scavage this oxidation process, hence, the need for antioxidants.
If you are talking about cancer then you must discuss intravenous Vitamin C, that is, Vitamin C that is administered through a catheter into a vein. It has been found that at very high doses Vitamin C is actually toxic to cancer cells. It leaves the healthy cells alone and attacks the cancer by converting the vitamin C to hydrogen peroxide. Cancer cells take up sugars very readily. Vitamin C is similar in structure to sugars; therefore, cancer cells readily take up Vitamin C. When the Vitamin C is converted to hydrogen peroxide it kills the cancerous cells leaving normal cells alone. Laboratory studies have shown that high doses of Vitamin C are toxic to a wide variety of cancer cell lines when given intravenously. One study done in rats showed that intravenous Vitamin C significantly decreased the growth of liver, ovarian and pancreatic cancer cells. A case study done in 1994 utilized 30,000 mg. of intravenous ascorbic acid (vitamin C) twice a week. These patients had primary kidney cancer that had spread to the lungs and liver. The results indicated that in less than 8 weeks all evidence of the cancers disappeared.
Presently, there are a number of studies going on that have very encouraging results. A doctor at Philadelphia’s Jefferson University’s Brind Center for Integrative Medicine is presently studying intravenous Vitamin C in pancreatic cancer in humans. His results to date are very promising. So far, the majority of patients experienced tumor regression which is not typical with this type of cancer. According to Dr. Daniel Monty of Jefferson, Vitamin C intravenous therapy is a non-toxic means of treatment that can help several different cancer types while improving quality of life.
Now, as far as this kind of treatment in companion animal pets goes, the data is also promising. I have personally been offering intravenous Vitamin C therapy for cancer in dogs and cats at my Animal Wellness Center for the past 9 years (started in 2003). In my experience, the treatment helps put the cancer into remission and/or keeps it from spreading to other locations in the body. I have treated liver, spleen, intestinal, bone, lung, kidney and oral cancers with intravenous Vitamin C. Most of these dogs and cats received a very poor prognosis following their diagnosis of cancer. Many of them lived not only months longer than expected, but years longer. One of the best benefits of intravenous Vitamin C is that the pet has a great quality of life during this entire process. The side effects that go along with chemotherapy and radiation are eliminated. As a matter of fact, the humans who receive this therapy feel more energized. I have spoken to a number of people with cancer that have undergone IVC (intravenous vitamin C) and they all comment that they feel much better and have more energy than they ever had before.
Sheba is a female domestic short haired cat. She was diagnosed with cancer of the mouth in October of 2007. The lesion was located on the roof of the hard palate. Sheba was placed on a holistic cancer protocol which included IVC. Little by little the lesion regressed and eventually completely resolved. Sheba is now 18 years old and there are no signs of cancer anywhere in her body or mouth at this time, which is five years past her original diagnosis.
Vivienne is a female domestic short haired cat. She was diagnosed with mammary cancer August of 2010. She too was placed on a holistic cancer protocol which included IVC. Her masses have not grown and there is no indication of spread to other organs at this time. As of the writing of this article her cancer is in remission.
Intravenous Vitamin C has given us hope for the future of cancer therapy. Obviously, more data and clinical trials need to be done to work out the particulars of this treatment.


Dr. Rose DiLeva is a 1987 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s school of Veterinary Medicine. She practices alternative and conventional veterinary medicine. Dr. DiLeva is a certified veterinary acupuncturist and a certified veterinary chiropractitioner. She can be reached at her Animal Wellness Center in Chadds Ford, Pa. at 610-558-1616 for appointments and telephone consultations. Visit her website at: and

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