Wednesday, 4 February 2009

CV247 John Carter remembered

It has been such a joy to hear from so many lovely people and I've very much enjoyed hearing memories of John from so many sources.
Here's Gunner's story. A Belgian Shepherd Dog being treated at the same time as my old Sally.

Dear Beverley

Thanks so much for sharing your experiences of John Carter and his treatment and for including the link to the news item on your blog - it brought back so many memories as I too took my dog to John for cancer treatment in 1994. I was very fond of John so extremely sad to hear of his death last year but delighted to hear that his CV247 has at last been licensed for veterinary use - albeit in Hungary! (although I think I'm correct in understanding from your blog that any vets in this country can now apply for supplies of it to use? [editor's note: I hopefully wil be able to very soon share with you the name of the first UK vet that will be able to treat using CV247 and also supply your own vet if they are happy to treat]) - I do hope John is looking on from the afterlife and so knows about it too!

I'm also delighted to hear that you would like to write a book about John and his work - I too have always thought that he should have been awarded the Nobel Prize - maybe it can be awarded posthumously?

You'd be most welcome to include my story if you felt it would be of use to you?

My beloved dog, Gunner (a Belgian Shepherd - Terveuren) was the absolute love of my life who went everywhere with me - one of those "once-in-a-lifetime" special, special dogs. Everyone who met him fell in love with him, even people who didn't usually like dogs - he had such a gentle, loving and wise energy. So you can imagine, when he was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in his left hind leg at the age of 10, I was absolutely devastated and prepared to do anything to try and save him. (Incidentally, on another theme - this was within about a month of having an "extra-large" booster vaccination - I hadn't had him vaccinated for some years, having started to hear rumours that it maybe wasn't such a good thing, particularly for older dogs, but was then strongly persuaded otherwise by a new vet - something I'll always regret.)

Gunner seemed completely fit and healthy in every other way, other than limping on that hind leg (and having a swelling where the tumour was). I had, thank God, met John a couple of years previously - a friend had wanted to find a homoeopathic vet and his name came up as being the closest (although he wasn't actually homoeopathic but as you know very keen on many other natural methods of treatment) and I'd gone along with her and been impressed enough to take Gunner for a check-up at age seven and on that visit noticed that most people there had dogs with cancer and so learnt that that was what he specialised in.

I was living in Exeter at the time of Gunner's diagnosis, doing a Fine Art degree as a mature student - but immediately gave that up and moved back to my parents home in Twickenham in order to take Gunner to John's for treatment as I felt this was our only hope. So within two days of the diagnosis we were in John's surgery in Kenton Road being given details of the diet, armed with bottles of potassium, niacin tablets and vitamin c tablets and being told quite sternly by John that we would need to come twice a day for treatment as, unfortunately osteosarcomas are the hardest form of cancer to treat - as the tumour is in the bone itself and the blood supply to the bone is quite poor so difficult for the nutrients in John's treatment to actually get into the tumour (bit hazy about the science of it - I suppose more likely it would be the nutrients boosting Gunner's immune system and his T-cells and maybe harder for them to get to the tumour).

The first week or so was really hard - I was so upset and in shock I think - I had no car so had to persuade friends and family to drive me or take taxis to Harrow twice a day (a 40 minute trip each way if we were lucky - more usually an hour due to traffic - nothing though compared to the distances some people were travelling as I gradually discovered!) But gradually John's kind and friendly presence relaxed us and we met such a lovely group of other people and dogs who were going through the same or similar to us - some also going daily, some only needing to go twice or once weekly. Gunner had always hated going to the vets, but somehow he knew this was different and always happily trotted into John's waiting room with his tail wagging, completely relaxed - wondering which of his friends he would see that day. I then managed to buy an old banger and drive myself (hair-raising in itself, having not driven for five years or more!) and we settled into a routine of getting up, juicing carrots and wheatgrass, making up Gunner's food for the day (as John had said it was important he didn't go too long without eating) making sandwiches for myself and setting off for Kenton.

As you say John was a lovely eccentric character and had no conception of time (!!) so we spent many hours waiting for him to arrive - some people did get annoyed at this but I just felt there was nowhere I'd rather be - as long as I was there, Gunner would get the treatment and was hopefully getting better. By then there was a core group of us who were in it for the long haul and the support that gave to us all was immeasurable. When I think back its amazing that all the dogs got on so well together - I think there was a special sorting of healing atmosphere in that place, even though it looked pretty austere!

So we continued having twice daily treatment for eight months - Gunner thrived on the diet - his fur got shinier, he was relaxed and happy, full of energy and love - raced around on three legs as if nothing was wrong (it was obviously uncomfortable for him to walk on his bad leg, although he did sometimes, amazingly - but other than that he wasn't in any discomfort at all - amazing as I've since heard that bone tumours are usually extremely painful).

The cancer didn't spread (it usually does, quite quickly, with bone cancer) and the tumour didn't get any bigger - but it was still there and Gunner's leg started to get quite swollen. Another of John's patients with osteosarcoma (a female yellow labrador called Dash, who Gunner adored, incidentally) had had six weeks of treatment (she had also got secondary cancer in lungs and heart as I remember) - and her owners then made the decision to have her leg amputated (they were having to come down from Exeter twice or three times weekly). This amputation was very successful - she coped perfectly with three legs and the cancer had gone from her lungs and heart (and incidentally she was still doing well a couple of years later). Because of that, we reluctantly made the decision to have Gunner's leg amputated as it seemed as if the treatment couldn't actually get rid of the tumour - and we were worried that the swelling could get worse and start to cause him discomfort. He would be fine on three legs, we knew that, as he was already in effect only three legged.

Anyway, we took him to a lovely vet a few miles away, who John referred us to - he obliged us by x-raying Gunner's leg without using an anaesthetic (Gunner was so good they were able to ask him to do "dead" and he just lay still on the table) and we booked him in for the op.

That day was awful (for me) - I was so worried Gunner wouldn't survive it - but all went well, they kept him in overnight and by the next day said he could go home - they were astounded by how well he had recovered - he was up and about and barking when I went to fetch him, and hopped into the car as if nothing had happened!

Unfortunately for us though, a miracle healing wasn't to be. Two weeks later, Gunner suffered some sort of stroke - I rushed him back to the vet who'd done the operation and they kept him in overnight - how I got through that night I'll never know - I stayed at a friend's house, sleeping (well, lying!) on the sofa (I couldn't bear to go home, in case that dreaded phonecall came to say he hadn't made it), and lay awake all night praying and praying for a miracle and then just praying that I would at least see him again. My latter prayers were answered - they stabilised him and I was able to collect him the next day - but they weren't very optimistic.

My beautiful boy was so full of life, he still wanted to go for walks, ate with gusto, still went to John's for his CV247, still loved to see his friends, although his body wasn't working properly (he was still lop-sided from the stroke). For a week he seemed to be improving and I really thought he'd make it, but then he started to decline - I took him to a spiritual healer but nothing helped. I stopped taking him to John but John rang me every day to offer support and advice - he was such a good friend during it all. My soul was ripped in half when two weeks after the operation, on 22nd December 1994, my beautiful Gunner died.

A friend of my brother's, who is a doctor, told me that strokes can quite often follow amputations - something to do with bone marrow in the blood stream (in fact my nan had died of a stroke after an amputation a few years previously) - if only we had known that before (although I believe its rather a controversial opinion so I'm sure many vets and doctors would refute this).

We'd tried everything but it seems it was Gunner's time to go home. I just thank John so much for those blessed eight months we had together where Gunner was so happy and pain-free - for the wonderful friendship and support we received from John and his other clients and their dogs and most of all for the gift of spending those eight months entirely in each other's company - Gunner and I that is. Gunner was my most beautiful, precious golden boy - a true gift from God - he taught me so much in his living and his dying. He lives on forever in my heart - I will never "get over" losing him but I'm used to him not being with me now and know his wise and wonderful spirit lives on as I'm sure John's does too.

As one of the wonderful spiritual books I read after Gunner's death (Who Dies? by Stephen Levine) says, being healed doesn't always mean your body will survive. Gunner was truly healed in a spiritual sense I think. It took a while longer for me as I was so bereft at losing his physical presence. I thought I could never have another dog but six year's later I felt ready and now Oboe, another (rescued) Belgian Shepherd shares my life - I know Gunner approves!

Anyway Beverley, I'm sorry I've really waffled on here - probably much too much info. that wouldn't be relevant to your book - I hope you don't mind me sharing the details of my story with you.

Actually, I forgot to say, I even met you at John's surgery one day - I remember it was a boiling hot day and we were stuck in traffic on our way to John's as usual, and I was periodically spraying Gunner with a plant spray to keep him cool - when we arrived at John's it turned out that you had been behind us in the traffic - you commented on having noticed I was a more than usually dedicated dog owner (or something similar) and should have known I was coming to John's! You had brought Sally for a check-up I think - it was only afterwards I discovered who you were as you left some copies of Dog's Today for the waiting room (and some of the other regulars knew you I think - and I remember the older couple who used to bring their Yorkie from Yorkshire were there that day and you being really impressed by that!)

Anyway Beverly, as I said before, thank you so much for sharing your story of Sally and your father - I was very touched to hear it and I really do hope you manage to write the book. John really did work miracles and deserves to be widely known about - I'm just so thankful his treatment is now secure and will go on to save many more lives.

Keep up the fantastic and tireless championing and campaigning for our dogs that you do.

with very best wishes

Mandy Payne

PS Having thought a bit more about the diet John used to prescribe, I think it varied a bit depending on the severity of the cancer - for Gunner, he wasn't allowed any protein except 2oz of lamb's liver per day (that was for a 62lb dog); no salt in any form (even cucumber's weren't allowed as apparently have some sodium in them); only grains allowed were oats, to be made into biscuits just using water; no mushrooms (but all other veg OK and had to be organic); carrot juice VERY good and had to be given several times daily - as much as he would drink; sprouted wheat and alfalfa also VERY good and given daily. No fat of any kind. Only bottled mineral water to be given to drink and for making the oat biscuits (NO tap water, ever!) - and sodium content to be checked so one very low in sodium to be used (some are quite high).

Obviously this diet pretty restrictive so you wouldn't keep a dog on this for ever, just for duration of treatment then ease some other things in. To make up for the low protein, Gunner was given a B12 injection every day by John. He also had liquid potassium every day and Vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid) was to be added daily to his food; also given Nicatinamide tablets (a form of Vitamin B3 - this particular form causes the blood vessels to expand so helps circulation - but causes something like a hot flush - which obviously you can't see in a dog but did used to make Gunner pant! I think that effect is lessened if they're given with food) And given pancreatic enzyme capsules several times daily (derived from pigs) - so quite a lot more involved than just the CV247, so hopefully this info. will be given out with the sachets (as I'm sure all these supplements can be obtained quite easily) - obviously the Hungarian vet who worked with John would know all the precise details of this.

I know the diet was based on the Gerson Therapy used to cure cancer in humans - lots of info. on that on the net - Max Gerson's book " A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases" talks in depth about the diet in one or two chapters and his reasons for it (John lent me his copy at the time to read) but there may be more books out now for anyone who wants to really go in depth into the reasons for it.


Barbara Jones said...

Dear Beverley
I am a vet in Shropshire and was so pleased to be directed to your blog last week by a client with a dog with a tumour. I have been vaguely aware of John Carter's work over the years although unable to find out much about it - after reading your original posting I can understand his reticence in talking to anyone about it at what was probably a difficult time for him. We use a whole range of complementary therapies in our practice including several different regimes to support cancer patients, depending on what is most suited to the individual. As I followed through the links I became more and more excited about the possibility of adding another string to our bow. Quality of life for the patient has always been the priority when deciding on what course of action to take and as far as I can see this treatment and dietary advice can only do good. I have been in touch with the manufacturers and have been contacted by someone who has arranged for me to have a supply to use on some of my current patients. If I see a similar success with the regime, I would be willing to see other patients, by referral from their own vets. My contact is
Barbara Jones BVMS MRCVS VetMFHom
Oakwood Veterinary Centre

Sandeep said...

A very good and a heartfelt account by Mandy Payne about her Belgian Shepherd Gunner. Reading it feels like you were actually a part of the life of Gunner. It also reflects on the character of John Carter as a person and as a vet. I very recently came to know about CV247 and this post after having lost my dog to Osteo and could very well connect to it. I tried another alternative therapy artemisinin which is being tested extensively in canines and had my beloved dog still been there would certainly have tried this also. He was as much precious to me as Gunner was to the Mandy.

Sharon said...

John Carter RIP. I met this amazing vet a decade ago when he treated my Lucretia for cancer. John Carter was a forward-thinking, conscientious, compassionate veterinary surgeon. I cannot speak too highly of him. He treated my cat, Lucretia, KNOWING I didn't have a lot of money. He charged me £20 per session for consultation and treatment. He didn't charge much for his services at all. He was all about saving animals whilst also avoiding animal suffering. The animals always came first! This man will never be forgotten by me.

He developed this treatment by studying cancer and treating cancer-stricken animals. He was against vivisection, he was the font of all veterinary knowledge, he also encouraged me in my work too, never once denigrated me, only ever encouraged me, in fact, there was some resonance between us.

In his waiting room, I saw dogs and cats from all over UK who should've been dead from cancer long ago but who were happy and healthy. Their own vets were astounded! CV247 is administered with high doses of vitamin C and one must follow a strictly organic diet with no salt. Unfortunately, feeding Lucretia was a problem b/c the only organic food available was not only not very palatable but it contained salt. Lucretia did not make it. RIP Lucretia, still sadly missed, my beautiful spikey black kitty xxx

CV247 was also trialed in NHS hospitals on end-stage lung cancer patients. The results were quite astounding. CV247 does not get rid of the cancer, it seems to stop the cancer from growing and in Lucretia, when she was eating organic raw meat, I observed myself the shrinking of the tumour. She had a rare form of nasal cancer. V rare. Untreatable.

Now John Carter is gone - a light has gone out. There are not many vets who match this unique, amazing, intelligent, wonderful man.

Rest in Peace John Carter - Gone but never forgotten.

Nicky Gurrin said...

Dear Beverley,

I am a vet In South West London.
I have found my way to your blog kind of by chance but I cannot believe the chain of events that have led me here over the last few hours.
It begins with a client showing me some literature on CV247. We have just diagnosed their dog with a malignant mammary tumour and they are keen to try anything that may help without putting her through more tests and aggressive surgery. I have always had an open mind when it comes to alternative therapies. Having lost my Dad only a few months ago to a very aggressive cancer I remember trawling through countless websites researching into anything that might help him as conventional medicine had failed.
Throughout my career as a vet, I have always had an open mind with regards to alternative medicine. When people ask me I always tell them about my beautiful Lady.- My dog growing up. As far as I remember she never really went to the vet until she reached about 15. She suddenly became very ill when I was about 16 and we took her to literally the nearest vet to us. It was John Carter on Kenton road and it was in the year 1992 I think. I was sure he would recommend euthanasia as she was so poorly and was too weak to even walk into the surgery. He didn't and instead gave her an injection of 'something' and sent us home with strict instructions on a diet that included liver and heart. At the time I had desires to be a vet so I took up the duties of nursing my Lady. We had to go back to the surgery every day. Initially she didn't seem to improve but I remember one evening going with the intention of saying goodbye to Lady. Mr Carter gave her an injection and she snapped at him. Lady NEVER snapped at anyone and we saw this as a sign that she wasn't ready to leave us. Anyway to cut a long story short, Lady slowly improved until I can honestly say that she was like a puppy again for a whole year. I can't remember exactly the details but we visited Johns surgery several evenings in the week. I don't know what he was giving her but vaguely recalling a pink solution, I would assume it was Vit B obviously amongst other things. I remember the waiting room always being full of people with their pets having travelled from miles to see Mr Carter. We did not know of his reputation but I will always be grateful for the day we turned up at HIS surgery, purely by chance ....
He was an inspiration to me as a vet and I always find myself telling people of the story of my Lady and the vet John Carter.
I had no idea of the significance of this until today.
After speaking with this client, I began looking into this CV247. As soon as I read the name JOhn Carter, I was sure it must have been the same John Carter I will always remember so fondly with regards to my dear Lady. And having read more, I now know it is but cannot believe it has taken until now for me to realise exactly how important and special this vet really was.
I just had to share that with someone. I will always remember what he did for my Lady and also so many others.