Some tumor types are pretty common, and readily diagnosed with a routine veterinary visit. Once you have that diagnosis, here are some of the things from my experience with a variety of tumor types. I encourage you to read each description, as they can all give valuable insight as to how to proceed or modify your use of essential oils for an individual animal.
Lipoma – or Fatty Tumor – This tumor type is quite common – especially for the canine species. My theories on why it is very common include generations of inappropriate diets, filled with poor grains and overly processed “nutrients”. These processed diets are also void of one very important thing – enzymes. Enzymes are needed to digest food. But guess what? They are also needed to digest the fat in your body (among other things) and to make sure that your body is not depositing the fat in an abnormal manner or in excess in the form of a fatty tumor. For my patients, dietary supplementation of digestive enzymes, especially those that contain the fat digesting enzyme Lipase – are key in preventing and resolving fatty tumor formation. Prozyme Powder is a digestive enzyme that we routinely use for our patients in our veterinary practice. I also would very much recommend the Enzyme Powder available through Mercola Healthy Pets – HERE, and you can also watch a great video about digestive enzymes as well. Digestive enzymes ARE NOT solely about the gastrointestinal system – all of your body functions require enzymes – and additional enzymes in the food, means additional enzymes can remain active in the body. And “digest” tumors and lumps away.
As for essential oils, Lipomas can respond somewhat to their use. It is not a very fast response, and does require some patience and due diligence. Certainly not an overnight fix, nor will results be seen in weeks. Usually, these lumps take months to see changes in – and the more lifestyle improvements that can be made, the better. Both Sunshine in a Bottle and Dump-a-Lump are appropriate to use diluted and massaged into the lipoma. The essential oils have the above support mentioned in regards to inflammation, infection, and support of a normal immune system and function – and the added citrus oils contribute not only their anti-tumor properties, but also have been known for aiding in fat digestion and dissolution. In general – starting with a very diluted mixture and rubbing this onto the lump area once a day is a great starting point. I will often have someone start with a 4 ounce bottle of Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO) – available on our Order Accessories page HERE. Then add approximately 2mL (or about 80-100 drops) of either blend to the bottle. Rock to mix well, and ideally allow to sit overnight at least, for the mix to “marry”. This blend can then be used to massage a fatty lump daily for 3-7 days, usually using a little puddle in your palm, and rubbing it together to spread it over both hands for our massage. This solution is usually too dilute for most lumps to respond to. So after 3-7 days of massaging at this concentration – I will add another 1mL (about 50 drops) of the neat essential oil blend to my massage bottle. Some of the FCO will have been used up, and as you continue to add essential oils to the bottle, your concentration will become stronger and stronger. For most lipomas, many massage blends end up in a 50:50 ratio – half FCO and half of the essential oil blend. Depending on the animal – daily massage is used when well tolerated. It is rare that we would use neat (undiluted) or stronger concentrations of essential oils in the case of lipomas.
Mast Cell Tumors – This is also a fairly common tumor, and is very heavily associated with the immune system. Histamine release is a large concern when “messing” with these sorts of tumors, and inflammation is very common – since essential oils can help support both of these situations, they can be even more helpful. Some animals may experience one discrete skin tumor – which can look very similar to a Histiocytoma discussed above – or they may have many tumors spread all over the body. Internal Mast Cell Tumors can also occur, and can infiltrate internal tissues and organs. Diagnosis is very important, and a qualified pathologist should evaluate cellular samples, biopsies, or tumor removals for grading and evaluation. In general, these tumors respond to full body support, far more completely than only focusing on applying essential oils to the lump itself. While we still will apply essential oils to the lump – even to neat concentrations – full body support with products such as the AromaBoost RTU or Boost in a Bottle should be included in a holistic regimen, along with diet changes, supplements, and other parts of the Foundation of Health.
Skin Tags – Although unsightly, skin tags are often just “hanging around” and are often of little concern. Application of essential oils can prove helpful to some skin tags, but some seem to not respond at all. Some essential oils, such as neat Oregano, seem to “burn” the skin tag – resulting in a scabby tag that sometimes falls off. Depending on the location of the Skin Tag – neat application of Dump-a-Lump can be used even daily to twice a day to see what sort of response might be found. Locations near the eyes, face, or delicate structures should only have essential oils applied under the direct instruction and guidance of a veterinarian.
Sebaceous Cysts – Sebaceous Cysts (and cysts in general) are created by a lining of cells surrounding the lump. In the case of the Sebaceous variety, these lining cells excrete and produce sebum (a greasy, waxy substance), which is accumulated inside the “sac” of the tumor (think pimple). Just as a pimple can resolve, some sebaceous cysts go away on their own. However, other cysts grow larger, become inflamed, and even secondarily infected, which leads to increased problems and issues. Again, there are many ways cysts may respond to essential oil use. Essential oils can support the reduction of inflammation, reduce secondary infections, promote the expulsion of abnormal substances, support immune response, and even promote abnormal cell death (apoptosis) – however, rarely do we see the lining of the “chronic” cyst completely resolve. For that, surgical removal is required as the structure of the tissues has been formed and altered (sort of like scar tissue) – and that is a different thing to deal with altogether. However, we do see shrinkage of cysts and the ability for the cysts to maintain at a smaller size, without secondary infections commonly. The often large, crusty cysts that are common in Cocker Spaniel dogs (among others) – do respond nicely to a continued exposure to essential oils. Although we do not usually see complete resolution – we do see healthier skin, less crusting, and less secondary infections and complications due to the additional support provided to the lumps. Many cysts (again depending on location) can support a neat topical application of essential oils. Another favorite method for use of Dump-a-Lump – especially for the crusty lumps – is to add 40-60 drops (more or less can be used depending on the case) to 4 ounces of distilled water. This mixture should be made in a Glass Spray Bottle – available on our Order Accessories page HERE. Shake the mixture prior to each use, and mist over the lump as needed. For some lumps, once or twice a day misting can be used, and then tailored to the individual animal. Spraying as often as needed to keep the area healthier and happier. For most of these sorts of lumps, I rarely dilute the essential oil in Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO) – as the lesion is usually fairly greasy in general and sometimes added moisture can be a bad thing. In a few occasions, the initial use of the oil in FCO can be helpful to break up a particularly crusty lesion – but after that point, I move towards Water Misting.
Sebaceous Adenomas – Lumps such as the one to the left, are sort of wart-sebaceous cyst hybrids. These can also be associated with large scabby crusts, and can even become quite itchy and infected. Different than a lined cyst filled with sebum, a Sebaceous Adenoma still creates waxy, greasy substances – but does not tend to fill a sac with the material – as with a cyst. As described for the Sebaceous Cyst – the same care and maintenance can be used with essential oils. Supporting the body with tools for good skin health is still a great plan, but the immune system is less in play than with true warts (papillomas).
Essential oils may help maintain comfort, reduce itching, and reduce secondary infections associated with these lumps. But, it is rare that we we see essential oils offer complete resolution of the lump.
Warts – Actual and true warts (Papillomas) in the medical sense of the term, are often of the viral nature in dogs and most other animals. We can see these on the skin, and even in places like the oral cavity. Birds can be affected by papillomas (warts) throughout the oral cavity and digestive tract. For birds with papillomas or warts, we recommend misting them with Feathered Plus as described for birds on the product page HERE. Warts are also strongly related with immune system “inadequacy” – and so complete body support is highly necessary to support the body in clearing the warts. Whole body support with items such as Standard Process Immune Support, Dermal Support, and Tuna Omegas are highly helpful – as is routine applications of AromaBoost RTU or Boost in a Bottle. Dump-a-Lump can be applied directly to most warts (depending on location), and can be helpful in supporting their resolution.
Equine Sarcoids – Sarcoids are the most commonly diagnosed tumor in horses. They account for approximately 1/3 of all reported equine tumors. They can pop up spontaneously, or occur in a location of a past trauma, injury, or wound. These particular tumors develop from the Fibroblast cell, which grows out of control. The cause for this unregulated growth is currently unknown as far as traditional veterinary medicine. Papillomavirus (Bovine) has been implicated, and a viral connection is definitely suspected. No matter the cause, the body and immune system are not “playing nice” when this condition is present. The immune system definitely requires support in multiple layers – and I definitely recommend Equine Immune Support by Standard Process for these situations. Essential oils are very helpful – both topically to the Sarcoid itself, and as part of a layered “whole body” regimen including AromaBoost RTU or Boost in a Bottle. Skin Spray Base, RoseRamie, and/or RoseRamie Plus can also be used in a Water Misting application to these tumors, and even applied neat – often alternating with the applications of Dump-a-Lump. Since these lesions are complex and difficult – trying several different blends, application methods, and regimens – while also changing things up every now and then – is a really good idea. I will see what the Sarcoid seems to respond to the most, and focus my attentions on these blends and methods – however it is always a good idea to try a few different things. Blue Cypress essential oil in Dump-a-Lump has encouraging reports with both bovine viruses as well as with Papillomas – and the relationship shared with Sarcoids make it a distinct benefit for this condition.
Eyelid Tumors – Tumors and lumps of the eye are a whole other subject. As a holistic vet, I would love to say that we could leave tumors alone that we suspect are benign (many of the eyelid are) – but in reality – I have seen them become so large and irritating, that they really do need to be removed. Eyelid surgery became a bit of an obsession for me in my practice. If you do it wrong – you can greatly change the ability for an animal to close its eye properly. You can never replace eyelid tissue that is removed – so “doing it right” the first time is really important. The more tissue that has to be removed from a lid margin, the more chance you have for a complication. That is why I recognized the importance of removing an eyelid tumor earlier rather than later. A small tumor could be removed quickly and easily, and hardly change the eye contour or ability to blink and close properly. A very large tumor, could be rubbing on the cornea itself, creating a non-healing ulcer, infection, and HAVE to be removed for the eye to heal and to sometimes save the eye itself. I would much rather remove a small tumor early, than have to reconstruct an eyelid margin while removing a large tumor later. And, the animal heals faster, better, and easier with less involved surgeries. Diagnosis of the tumor type by a qualified veterinarian is very important. There are some swellings that may not be a tumor at all, but more like a hive or tissue inflammation that may resolve on its own.
But can’t essential oils make these go away? My honest answer is that it is unlikely. Again, I may see all of the benefits of reduced inflammation, swelling, and size, increased comfort, reduced secondary infections, etc…however, the lump actually going away, rarely occurs. If an animal truly cannot undergo surgical removal – then support with essential oils is a really great thing. But in reality, most people are “hoping for the hype” of essential oils to be true.
There have been some eyelid tumors that do go away with essential oil use. These are likely to be of the variety that the body can resolve on its own in the first place. And certainly, essential oils supported the body to do so. It is never wrong to support the body and hope for the best! In these situations, due to the location of these lumps – I would not recommend the use of Dump-a-Lump, as oils such as Oregano, Clove, and Peppermint are far too irritating for these delicate tissues – even in a water mist. The use of Skin Spray Base in a Water Misting application would be the best idea for most lumps located near the face and delicate eye areas.
Other types of tumors – There are many types of tumors of course, and not all can be discussed individually. Dump-a-Lump contains all of the essential oils that I saw to benefit lumps of all sorts – and the craft in their use is more of understanding what type of lump you are dealing with, the medical characteristics of it, and how amenable it is to applications of essential oils.
In a situation such as that to the left – the consideration has to be made more-so that the tumor is attached to a bird. In this situation – using an item such as Feathered Plus would be more indicated (along with diffusion) than the direct use of Dump-a-Lump. Species type and tumor location must all be considered before using essential oils for any animal.
Topical Applications: Pads, Paws, Eyes, and Ears…
There are certain rules we follow for application of essential oils to animals. In general, I do not like to apply essential oils to paws and paw pads – and am careful in how I proceed with most direct applications to skin. This is where application to tumors varies however. I often view a tumor as an abnormal “extension” of the body – so to speak. It is not the “true skin”, pad, or paw of an animal once it has created this abnormal mass of cells. So, in some ways, a tumor is not part of the animal any longer – although distinctly attached.
In essence, when I am applying essential oils to a tumor – it is almost more accurate to say that I am applying the essential oils to the tumor – not to the animal. Of course, the animal is a part of the tumor – it would be silly to try to disconnect that relationship. However, and especially in the case of a larger or more discrete tumor – an application of essential oils at the site of the lump – will be considered very differently than if I were applying to the animal as a whole.
Never, Never, Never Inject Essential Oils!!!
This became a disturbing recommendation that many essential oil “sellers” sang the praises of. The result has been that too many animals were subjected to painful, dangerous, and un-managed medical experiments. Please read THIS updated Past Newsletter on the subject of injecting essential oils into tumors.
A Word on Post-Surgical Recovery
Sometimes lumps have to be removed. It might be in order to obtain a diagnosis, because cancer is confirmed or suspected, or it may be because the lump has been causing enough issues that it is just better to be gone. No matter what the reason – we can support tissues for proper and fast healing, while also offering the benefits mentioned above with essential oils to any remaining abnormal cells, infection, or inflammation. I will usually not use Dump-a-Lump once the lump is removed – but will move towards using a water mist of Skin Spray Base for post-surgical recovery and health benefits. Please see that product page for more information.