A veterinary hospital in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan is using traditional Chinese herbal medicine (TCHM) to treat dogs suffering from splenic hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive type of spleen cancer.
The use of the alternative medicine is part of a clinical study that started in August, the Detroit Free Press reported.
In a news release, Oakland Veterinary Referral Services announced that the study aims to find out whether Chinese herbal medicine could prolong the lives of affected dogs who have undergone surgery.
Splenic hemangiosarcoma is often treated by removing the spleen, a surgical procedure called splenectomy. However, the spread of cancer to other organs does not allow for much survival time even after such a procedure.
For the study, doctors are using a modified TCHM formula that has “no published reports of toxicity in humans or animals.”
The formula, “HSA Compound,” contains Panax notoginseng, which is referred to as sanqi or tianqi in Chinese, and is traditionally used to treat blood-related disorders, including bleeding and stasis.
Dr. Erin Bannink, leader of the study, said that sanqi contains ginsenosides that have shown antitumor activity.
“We hypothesize that dogs treated with this standardized protocol after splenectomy will have improved survival times over historical controls treated with splenectomy alone, and will provide long-term survival rates comparable to or better than historical controls treated with splenectomy and chemotherapy,” Bannink said.
According to Veterinary Practice News, an evaluation of 14 dogs who underwent spleen removal and treated with the formula showed a median survival time of more than 253 days. In particular, 36% and 14% survived for a year and two years, respectively.
For now, owners whose dogs are diagnosed with stage II splenic hemangiosarcoma are encouraged to bring their pets to the hospital, for free, for the study.
Prospective participants may email [email protected] for more information.