This Diet Stopped our Dachshund’s Mast Cell Tumor in its Tracks - Birch Boys, Inc.

This Diet Stopped our Dachshund’s Mast Cell Tumor in its Tracks

May 09, 2019Garrett Kopp

My goal in writing this is to thoroughly explain everything I wish I had known the moment I realized my 8 year old dachshund was battling for his life. This is an in depth analysis of Joey's Journey to Triumph- From the events leading up to his diagnosis, to his detailed regimen for success.

black dachshund recovering from cancer mast cell tumor

Early Symptoms

I first realized something was wrong when I noticed that Joey was consistently experiencing difficulty while defecating… It gradually got worse, to the point where he’d let out subtle whines and yelps as he strained to move his bowels. As soon as I realized he was in pain, I set up an appointment with the vet for the following day.

Later that day, (the day before his appointment) I noticed a lump on the side of his butt. I did a little bit of research, which led me to consider that maybe he had a swollen or infected anal gland that needed to be expressed. At his appointment, we shared this concern with the vet. She performed a rectal exam, and seemingly agreed, as she attempted to express his glands before ultimately prescribing a week-long dose of antibiotics.

Throughout the following week, we went through the script for antibiotics, but Joey’s irritation persisted. I gently inspected the lump near his anus every day. By the end of the week, it appeared to have grown slightly larger. I called and booked another appointment with my go-to vet for early the following week.

Sudden Severity

The day before his planned appointment is when disaster officially struck. That morning, as Joey was trying to poop, his subtle grunts and whines escalated into a series of ear-piercing screams and wails that lasted for minutes on end. Drops of blood started dripping from out of his rear end. His shrieks were so violently loud that several neighbors and even children (we live across from a school) ran into our backyard and observed the entire spectacle… It was horrifying. He was unsuccessful in passing it, and slowly the pain subsided after he gave up.

Since this was a Sunday, we strayed from our usual veterinary clinic and rushed him to the nearest pet emergency center. I faxed over the records from his most recent appointment and urged them to investigate the growing lump on his buttocks. After all, this thing was visible to the naked eye AND very easy to feel. They decided to put him under anesthesia, as he’d be in too much pain to endure a rectal exam without it.

“Aha!” They found what they thought to be the answer. They basically informed us that they had found a blockage - they removed an old balled up turd that was stuck deep within his rectum, assuring us that would solve the problem. Additionally, they gave us a high-fiber canned dog food to use for the week, and a double dose of the same antibiotics that he was prescribed before. (It’s worth mentioning that Joey had been on Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight Recipe Dog Food - no longer available in it's original recipe - throughout this entire ordeal… It’s a dry food, but a good one at that).

For the next week or so, Joey seemed to be better. He was defecating normally for the first time in a while. We thought it was all over. But there was one thing that made me a little skeptical. The lump was still there. Surely they had noticed... Maybe it was just a common fatty lump or something? I wasn’t sure, but I tried not to dwell on it. After all, he seemed to be well, and they’re the experts.

Joe Takes Another Blow 

As soon as Joey transitioned back to dry food (about 10 days later) he had another episode. This one was even worse, and there was much more blood. By this point, the lump on the side of his butt had swollen to at least the size of a golf ball. I called our local vet and told her it was an emergency, and within minutes, we were at the clinic.

For the third time, I emphasized my concern about the lump, and I pleaded that she get to the bottom of it. Poor Joey… another rectal exam.

As she felt around, there was no way to disguise the meaning behind the look on her face - This was not good. In fact, the very words that she used were, “It's huge.” She told us that it was definitely cancer. It was a malignant tumor, and it was big.

It was so big that she couldn’t reach the other end of it, which meant that it was at least twice the size of what was visible on the outside. She continued to explain that the tumor had most likely been pushing against his intestine/rectum, effectively “pinching” it. She asked if his poop had been misshapen at all, or if it was coming out flat or squiggly, which I confirmed, because it had been.

She told us that she suspected it to be an apocrine gland adenocarcinoma (cancer of the anal gland.) Based on its size, she expressed that it likely may have spread, but his lymph nodes seemed to be fine, so maybe not. Ultimately, the type of cancer couldn’t be confirmed without a biopsy and we couldn’t know whether or not it had spread without an ultrasound.

The Prognosis

If it had already spread, Joey’s death was just a matter of time. If not, surgical removal was an option, but it would risk his ability to pass feces ever again. And if he couldn’t poop, he’d need to be put down. She referred us to a specialist and we went ahead and scheduled the biopsy, ultrasound, and surgery -- for six days later. She prescribed painkillers to keep him comfortable.

As soon as we got out the door, my partner and I broke down in tears. Six days of grief-stricken limbo lay ahead. It was a powerless feeling.

The grief only lasted for an hour or so, because it quickly turned into anger. I was angry at the fact that this was somehow overlooked again and again. I was angry at myself for not pushing them to take a closer look… I was most angry for not trusting myself when I could see the signs as clear as day.

That’s when it hit me. I realized that I needed to take matters into my own hands. I’m no veterinarian, and by no means would I ever discredit the training and knowledge it takes to become one, but I promise that nobody on Earth could ever care as much about Joey’s health as I would, or work as hard as I would to prevail in this fight.

Bring It On!

So, I spent the next 5 hours doing research, and I came out of it with an action plan. He needed a super diet - immediately. Before I get into the diet, I feel that it’s relevant to understand a few things I’ve learned, and a few things about my background.

The first thing you should know is that holistic remedies are an integral part of modern pharmacology - especially regarding cancer. I find the term “alternative medicine” to be incredibly stupid, because natural substances have never contrasted with manufactured drugs or modern medicine. They aren’t an “alternative” at all, in fact; they’re often the ingredients. For example, did you know that Chemotherapy is actually just a combination of plant alkaloids? I don’t know how this strange hostility between herbalists and modern medicine ever originated, but the fact of the matter is that they’re entirely interdependent.

I’ll be transparent and tell you that I’m the founder of a company that harvests and sells wild mushrooms, many of which have been heavily researched and highly renowned for their antioxidant providing properties. I have always striven to be a resource of information, and I have directed people to articles and studies about the benefits of the mushrooms we offer. But make no mistake, I am a mushroom hunter, not an herbalist.

This was the first time cancer has affected me in a way that has required me to take action - where I’m in the driver’s seat, so to speak. That said, please understand that in no way is any of this an advertisement. I would never claim or imply that anything I sell can treat, cure, fight, or prevent cancer. If there’s anything I’ve learned from this entire endeavor, it’s that cancer is extremely complex and adaptable… It’s why there’s no cure.

This is what I am saying, though - Between access to products of my own, my proximity to others in the industry, and a few trips to my local pharmacy and grocery stores, I found a unique opportunity to attack this tumor from every single angle - and it paid off remarkably.

The Right Dog Cancer Diet 

Joey started the diet on the same day that we learned he had cancer. The proportions and dosage below represent his total food for the entire day (not each meal). Each morning, we put all of the items on this list into a blender and mashed them all up into a paste that would be easy to digest. We fed him one half in the morning, the other half before bed, then repeated the process each day.

  • 1 Cup Raw Chicken Breast (cooked if you prefer)
  • 1 Raw Egg (cooked if you prefer)
  • ½ Cup Raw Salmon (cooked if you prefer)
  • ¼ Cup Rolled Oats (soaked)
  • ¼ Cup Boiled Carrots
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Sliced Apples (remove seeds)
  • 1 Tablespoon Flax Seed Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Benefiber (or other fiber supplement)
  • 1000mg Vitamin C Supplement
  • 2000mg Fish Oil Supplement
  • 1ml (25 drops) Birch Boys Chaga Tincture
  • 1ml (25 drops) Birch Boys Turkey Tail Tincture
  • 1 Teaspoon Four Sigmatic 10 Mushroom Blend:
    • Contains 160mg of each Chaga, Reishi, Cordyceps, Lions Mane, Shiitake, Maitake, Enokitake, Agaricus, Meshima, and Tremella

Don't Ignore The Mushrooms!

The potential of these mushrooms is seriously no joke. Here's Joey and I next to a big piece of Chaga!

chaga benefits for dogs with cancer

A Quick Turnaround

The first surprise we experienced was that we did not have to give him a single dose of the pain medication after his appointment. Over the next few days his coat started to look more and more sleek; he became more and more playful, and every single one of his bowel movements were facilitated with ease.

On the 4th day of the diet, I attempted to show a co-worker his tumor, and much to my surprise, there was no sign of it. I searched for it, then I felt for it, and it simply wasn’t there. I called the vet’s office and notified them of the news. They were pleasantly surprised. We agreed to bring him back on the day we had already planned for, but called off the surgery.

At the appointment, the vet found absolutely no signs of the tumor. She did not treat the situation as any kind of medical miracle, but she agreed it was strange. A good strange, nonetheless… But she cautioned us to keep a close eye on it.

Back, But Not For Long!

Sure enough, three weeks later, it slowly started to come back. Joey’s custom diet remained constant during this time (I doubt we’ll ever stop making his food). Thankfully, though, the tumor was much smaller than it had been during his times in distress. I called the vet and informed her. She advocated that we promptly bring him in for surgical removal of the tumor before it could grow back to a size that could create complications. We obliged.

The surgery went very well, and Joey has quickly recovered. Although it would be premature to say that his battle is over definitively, the vet was confident that she was able to remove the tumor in its entirety, and there have been no signs of its return. Upon microscopic examination of the tumor after surgery, she determined that it was actually a mast cell tumor, not an adenocarcinoma.

Concluding Thoughts

After the surgery, we had the opportunity to have a more in depth conversation with the vet. I shared my thoughts on the whole ordeal, because I was curious to see if they aligned with hers. I proposed my theory - that the diet caused the tumor to shrink rapidly, then, perhaps the cancer adapted, which would have caused it to slowly re-appear.

Although she was reluctant to attribute the tumor shrinkage to the diet with certainty, she said that it was very plausible. She did tell us that the diet is perfect in every other regard, and asked for a detailed write-up of the regimen, as she’d encourage that it be used by other patients of hers in similar situations.

It's been a pleasure to share the challenges I endured throughout this intimate and unexpected experience. I couldn't have done it without consistent help from my loving partner, our knowledgeable veterinarian, and of course, the cutest little hot dog on the planet... my little bro, Joey. If you ask me, Joey's Journey has just begun.

Please contact us if you have any questions. We are seeking additional information and review from our veterinarian in order to ensure the validity of the information on this web page, and to ensure that we have not made any misrepresentations. Until further correspondence, we are keeping their identity anonymous out of respect.

fighting cancer for your dog's life and winning
Garrett Kopp Expert Chaga Harvester and woodsman

About The Author

Garrett Kopp is the 25 year old Chaga visionary and founder of Birch Boys, Inc., a company well-known for its assortment of teas, tinctures, and extracts from healing wild fungi. Kopp grew up in the Adirondack Mountains, where he naturally developed a broad passion for the wild northern forests of New York. He began to specialize and narrow this passion toward Chaga after a freak accident where he helped himself to a cup of what appeared to be iced tea in his Grandmother’s refrigerator, who had started harvesting Chaga and brewing it on her own amidst a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Soon thereafter, Kopp and his grandmother expanded their Chaga harvesting activities to local farmer's markets, where they discovered significant demand for the fungus and its powerful ability to help everyday people.

These entrepreneurial efforts landed Kopp acceptance into Clarkson University’s early entrance program, the Clarkson School, where he studied Engineering & Management and Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Several years and hundreds of research hours later, Kopp returned to his hometown. Having shipped to over 20,0000 individuals throughout all 50 states, Birch Boys has organically grown into a nationally recognized online brand . Kopp is proud to have built a vertically integrated supply chain, sustainably sourcing the fruits of tree-borne fungi from over 220,000 leased acres of leased private land in the Adirondack park, where it is carefully harvested by hand before being dried, processed, and extracted with love, at his fungi factory in none other than Tupper Lake, NY.

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Comments (10)

  • My 8 year boxer has Mast cell Tumor. 6 months into it and she’s on a similar diet. Except the mushrooms. Will start Reishi and chaga immediately. I would like to know if Joey was on chemotherapy as well? Or any other steroid treatments.
    Also does a topical application of chaga powder help with external tumours?

  • Hi! My 9 yr old Shiba Inu has a mast cell tumor at the base of her ear, which has spread to the lymph nodes. I am starting her on Reishi and turkey tail supplements, in conjunction with chemo. Do you agree, or should I wait on the chemo? Thanks! Hope Joey is doing well!

    Christina Paris
  • My dog is a 50 lb Pitbull should I double the amounts in your recipe

  • Can this be prepared and frozen in portion amounts to be fed daily?

    Farrar Hickey
  • My 8 yr old has been diagnosed with a mass attached to one anal gland. Can’t do surgery or biopsy, afraid of hitting nerve endings. Do you think this diet would help my dog?

    Vicki Daniel
  • Hey Garrett,

    Zoe our dog just got diagnosed with Mast Cell Cancer and when searching for alternative treatments I found your blog post about how you helped Joey to battle it.

    Would you mind having a call with me? Or can you help me by answering some questions:

    - Did you use radiation or chemotherapy, did the mushrooms help to deal with the degranulation?

    - What kind of dose would you suggest for a 15 lbs dog?

    - Could you give some info on which brands you used for the fishoil etc?

    Thank you,


    Cyrill Gutsch
  • I’m confused about how much of each mushroom I’m supposed to give . I know how much turkeytail to give , but unsure about the other four . Maitake,Reishi,Shiitake and Chaga can you help with this

    Warren Short
  • Could you give me which brand you use for bit c and fish oil. Many bit c have sugar and mast cell feed from sugar. It is very overwhelming there are so many brands. My dog has inoperable mast cell.

    Oama chetan
  • Hi. My dog has been diagnosed 4 days ago with mast cell tumor. I started her on turkey tail and I will do your diet. Did your dog have chemo or radiation ? Please help me to figure things out. I’m still in shock and I want to give my little girl a chance to fight. She is all I have. Thank you so much.

    France Lowndes
  • It would be great if you could come up with a diet regiment for cats too. I for one would definitely like to purchase it. Consider it, cause there is a market for a new method of pet food ( for 🐈 cats). Especially the ones who’re sick or get overdosed by doc’s only see the pharmacy side of treatment.

    Cheryl DeShields

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