Natural Dog Success Story: Corrosive Cure

Black salve attacks terrier’s oral cancer.


The dog: Satellite, a 14-year-old Wire Fox Terrier.

The problem: Two years ago, Satellite developed a squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth, a common but often deadly oral cancer in dogs. He had surgery to remove the half-inch-wide growth, which was behind his teeth on the floor of his mouth. Within a month, it grew back to its original size.

The conventional approach: “The normal treatment is to amputate the jaw where the tumor is,” says Nancy Scanlan, DVM, of Sherman Oaks Veterinary Group. But the tumor’s aggressive growth — it was starting to spread to the other side of the mouth — meant Satellite would need to lose a third of his jaw. Scanlan worried that amputation would be a difficult, if not impossible, adjustment for the senior-citizen terrier. But doing nothing was likely a death sentence: The average survival rate without treatment is just four months.

The holistic approach: Scanlan decided to try black salve, one of several herbal formulas popularized in the 1930s and based on Native American folk medicine. So named because of its tarry appearance and smell, the salve, also called cansema, has had a renaissance in recent years as a holistic treatment for tumors, particularly skin cancers.

How it works: Black salve contains two cancer-fighting herbs, bloodroot and galangal. The addition of zinc chloride, which is caustic, “kind of burns the surface,” Scanlan explains, allowing the herbs to reach the cancer cells. “Bloodroot has a formulation that seems to be fairly specific for receptors on cancer cells, so it attacks cancer tissue, but doesn’t do much to healthy tissue,” Scanlan explains.

Initially, says Scanlan, the salve creates a crater that eventually fills up with healthy tissue.

In addition to mouth cancers, Scanlan uses black salve on other topical cancers such as malignant melanoma, fibrosarcoma, mast cell tumors, and cutaneous — but not internal — hemangiosarcoma.

The outcome: “I immediately started seeing results,” remembers owner David Geffner. “The tumor turned gray and white. It looked like it was dying. Gradually it shrunk, and I’d say within a few months it was gone.”

Satellite wasn’t as thrilled. “He hated it,” Scanlan remembers. “You had to put a fast swipe in his mouth.” The salve not only tastes terrible, but ingesting too much can cause vomiting or worse.

Five months later, the tumor started to reappear. Scanlan resumed treatment, and it again receded. Today, two years later, Satellite is still cancer free.

Caveats: Although black salve is available without a prescription, and in pharmacies a milder version is sold as ichthammol ointment, Scanlan strongly urges dog owners not to use it without a vet’s supervision.

“It can be painful, because it is caustic, and the animal feels the tissue dying,” Scanlan says. Infection is also a potential risk. As a result, she says, “I don’t hesitate to use painkillers or antibiotics.”

Satellite’s tumor responded very well to the black salve, but “it won’t necessarily work on every single tumor. Some cancers are resistant,” Scanlan cautions. The longer an owner waits to try the treatment, the larger the tumor, and the more surgeries the dog has undergone, the less likely the black salve will be successful. It also works best on soft tissue, she adds. “If the cancer’s already gone into the bone, it probably will not work.”

Denise Flaim is a DOG FANCY contributing editor.


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Xena   Dubai, International

11/24/2015 8:33:55 AM

Hi there, would anyone i believe my dog has an oral melanoma. We are currently waiting for the biopsy results. I just read your article and was wondering what brand of Black Salve did you use?

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Anna   International

8/21/2015 9:59:53 PM

I want to share my good news story because I know how devastating it is to receive test results saying your dog is likely to pass away within a month. My 10 year old cocker spaniel was diagnosed with epitheliotropic lymphoma, which presented as a lesion in his mouth. This type of cancer is rare and very aggressive with the outlook likely to be 1 month, or if we're lucky some dogs can last to 6 months from diagnosis but his remaining days will be unpleasant. We attended the cancer clinic we were referred to by our vet and told radiation would be the best treatment option, despite there being very few cases tested globally - not enough to give a real indication that radiation has worked previously. After much anguish we decided against conventional treatment. Long story short... we treated his mouth lesion with a combination of Black Salve and Nuwais. Both products are quite controversial if you speak to vets, as they are 'unproven' and the nature of them eating out the cancer has side effects (how that differs to the radiation recommendation I don't understand??). The products worked, they killed the tumour and it quite literally fell out, leaving a clean cavity of healthy pink tissue which healed over within a week. Since then he has had a couple of others pop up, the largest was in his ear and we treated in the same manner (Black Salve & Nuwais mixed 50/50 for mouth tumours & Black Salve only externally) the same thing happened each time - the tumour died and fell out. There is no doubt the local area gets sore for a few days, but I have pain killers from my vet if he seems to be suffering. It has now been almost 10 months since diagnosis and almost 6 months since the last tumour appeared/was treated. I also gave him a treatment of Black Salve internally to ensure there was nothing internally that was growing and I wasn't aware of. In addition to treating the tumours I give him Life Gold (from Cancer drops in his food and keep him on a meat and veg diet - no carbs. He is full of energy and looks as happy and healthy as when he was a puppy. I don't foresee his health taking a turn for the worse anytime soon. I'm no expert in dog cancer treatments and can't say that this treatment would work for all but it's working brilliantly for my baby, much to the surprise of my vet who diagnosed him, and I just wanted to share in case anyone benefits from it in the future.

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Jenny   Nashville, Tennessee

3/27/2015 10:52:45 AM

My 11 yr old boxer mix developed a mass cell tumor the size of a golf ball. The vet wanted to do surgery, but said that it could make it worse. Also that the healing of the skin around the tumor may not heal. I decided against it. The vet sent me home with antibiotics and prednisone. Also 75 mg of benadryl twice a day. I researched and started to give her tagament as well. Her tumor shrank after 2 weeks, and then it came back bigger and bleed. I bought black salve from best on earth products on the Internet and started to put a small amount on and keeping it wrapped for 10 to 16 hrs. I would also give a trimadol for pain. She didn't really like it, but after 2 weeks it looks like it is gone and healing nicely. I would only put it on every 3 to 5 days. The tumor bleed alot and started to fall off in pieces. She is so much happier now and she didn't have to go through surgery. I don't understand why vets don't try this approach first, but then again how would they pay their bills.

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Stephanie   North Canton, OH

10/24/2010 5:44:43 PM


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