Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Dogs with Cancer

Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Dogs with Cancer
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Turkey tail isn’t just some mushroom; it has a slew of health advantages for your canine companion. Turkey tail is a type of mushroom that can be found on dead logs. Trametes versicolor, or Cariolus versicolor, is the scientific name for this plant. In popular usage, it’s called turkey tail because its rings resemble those of a turkey tail.

This medicinal mushroom has piqued the attention of cancer researchers. In reality, it’s used in cancer treatment in a number of countries. This mushroom is also used in Chinese medicine to improve the immune system and increase capacity.


Polysaccharide-K (PSK) and polysaccharide-P (PSP) are the two major medicinal components in turkey tail mushrooms (PSP). They are known as beta-D-glucans, and they are responsible for giving structure to the plant’s cells.

Beta-D-glucans have the ability to bind to immune cell receptors directly. They basically fit together like two puzzle pieces and work to strengthen the immune system.

Beta-D-Glucans aid in the regulation of immune function while the body is under stress from an illness, the restoration of immunity in dogs with autoimmune diseases or cancer, and the reduction of the inflammatory response.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms are extremely beneficial to the immune system, which is why they are used in holistic medicine. They are designed to attack your dog’s immune system. They bind to macrophages in the body and activate them.

Macrophages are the cells in the body that essentially ingest and kill pathogens (foreign bacteria and viruses). They also boost antibody production to protect the body and slow the spread of cancer cells.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Dogs with Cancer

A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary Medicine looked at the effectiveness of turkey tail mushrooms in treating dogs with hemangiosarcomaHemangiosarcoma is a form of vascular cancer that spreads quickly (spreading to other parts of the body). It’s a highly aggressive condition that’s mostly found in a dog’s spleen. Even when the spleen is removed after a diagnosis, the overall survival rate is poor, with most patients dying within 1-3 months.

Scientists gave a compound made from turkey tail mushrooms to dogs with hemangiosarcoma. There was no other form of treatment in the study, which was double-blind. The dogs that were given turkey tails had longer survival periods and fewer metastasis, according to the findings (spread of cancer). 

Ergosterol is another compound found in turkey tail mushrooms. The anti-tumor properties of this compound are well-known. In 2012, the FDA approved human trials regarding their use in cancer treatments.

Digestive And Urinary Health

Turkey tail mushrooms can also regulate the immune cells that control inflammation. It’s particularly useful in reducing inflammation in the digestive, urinary, and respiratory tracts, and serves as an excellent prebiotic. Prebiotics increase the growth of good bacteria in the gut- a very important part of your dog’s immune health.


Turkey tail mushrooms also contain health-boosting phytochemicals including the antioxidant phenolic compounds gallic acid, protocatechuic acid, and catechin.

Plant-based Beta-glucans

Mushrooms aren’t the only source of beta-glucans. They’re also present in cereal and grain cell walls. Plant-based beta-glucans, on the other hand, have a distinct and less complex structure than those found in mushrooms.

Turkey tail and other medicinal mushrooms have a complex triple helix structure that gives them immune-boosting properties, whereas cereals have very little of it.

If you’re buying turkey tail mushrooms for your dog, be sure your mushroom has a certificate of analysis with a beta-glucan content of at least 30%. Especially if your dog has cancer.

Also, make sure the mushroom product doesn’t contain a lot of starch because the beta-glucans aren’t derived from cereals or grains.

Buying Turkey Tail Mushrooms for Dogs

There are several types of mushroom supplements you can buy for your dog:

Fruiting Body

This refers to the whole mushroom, which is usually dried and powdered. The liver can be irritated by fresh, ground mushrooms, and dogs should never consume raw mushrooms.


Mycelium is the “root” of the mushroom and not the entire fruiting body. It’s typically grown in grains and can also be called “full spectrum” mushrooms. It’s important to note that mycelium is usually lower in beta-D-glucans and any beta-glucans found in the product might be plant-derived and not from the actual mushroom. 

On average, mycelium grown on grain contains about 5 to 7% beta-glucans.

Hot Water Extract

Most turkey tail studies are done with a hot water extract. In fact, this is how mushrooms have always been prepared in traditional Chinese medicine. The cell wall of the mushroom is indigestible to dogs (and humans), so extracting the mushrooms in hot water makes the medicinal ingredients more available and safer to eat.

On average, hot water extracted mushrooms contain 30% to 40% beta-glucans.   

do dogs like mushrooms and turkey tail mushrooms for dogs with cancer

Giving Your Dog Turkey Tail Mushrooms

Mushrooms should be given between meals if possible, but real mushrooms may have a bitter taste, so you might need to mix them with kefir or bone broth. You can add them to your dog’s meals if he doesn’t like the taste, and he’ll still get the benefits, so don’t worry. Turkey tail mushrooms are a versatile snack that can be an excellent addition to your dog’s daily supplements.

Read more:

Anti-inflammatory activities of the chemical constituents isolated from Trametes versicolor

Medicinal Mushrooms (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version – NCI

Turkey tail mushrooms act as nonspecific immune modulators | UCLA Health Connect

Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail Mushrooms) and the Treatment of Breast Cancer – PMC

Single Agent Polysaccharopeptide Delays Metastases and Improves Survival in Naturally Occurring Hemangiosarcoma – PMC

Published by Amber L. Drake

Dr. Amber L. Drake is a celebrated author and a distinguished cancer specialist, renowned for her comprehensive research in canine cancer prevention and nutrition. She is widely recognized for her commitment to helping dogs lead long and joyful lives, as well as for her contributions to veterinary medicine education. As the CEO of Canine Companions Co., the Founder of the Drake Dog Cancer Foundation and Academy, and the Co-Founder of Preferable Pups, she has become a respected and influential figure in the canine community, earning the admiration and respect of dog enthusiasts around the globe.

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