Turkey Tail Mushroom Prolongs Lives Of Dogs With Cancer

Turkey tail mushroom extract increased survival times in dogs with hemangiosarcoma?

This is the finding of a clinical study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, published in 2012… (more about it later in this post)

What is turkey tail and why is it a potent fighter against cancer and other diseases?

Turkey tail mushroom is so named for its resemblance in colours, patterns and fan shape to the tail feather of a wild turkey.

turkey tail for dogs with cancer

Turkey Tail Mushroom

best turkey tail supplement for dogs

Turkey Tail

See what I mean?

What Is Turkey Tail Mushroom?

Turkey tail mushroom is also known as Coriolus versicolor or  Trametes versicolor (scientific names),  Yunzhi (or cloud mushroom) in Chinese and Kawaratake in Japanese. Turkey tail mushroom belongs to the Basidiomycetes class of fungi. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years.

Turkey tail mushroom contains several bioactive substances such as polysaccharides, proteins, peptides, amino acids, purpurins and terpenes.

The 2 commercial polysaccharide extracts used clinically in the Far East are:
– Polysaccharopeptide (PSP) derived from the COV-1 strain of turkey tail mushrooms in China
– Polysaccharide Krestin (PSK) derived from the CM-101 strain of turkey tail mushrooms in Japan

Both extracts are chemically and structurally similar.

The anti-cancer activities of PSP and PSK have been proven in cell culture, animal models and human clinical trials.

How Does Turkey Tail Mushroom Fight Cancer?

Both PSP and PSK exert immunomodulatory and anti-tumour effects.

Immunomodulatory Activity

The polysaccharides in PSP and PSK consist mainly of beta-glucans (ß-glucans).

ß-glucans regulate immune functions by activating and/or increasing the number of various immune cells such as natural killer (NK) cells, monocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, dendritic cells, T and B lymphocytes.

In cancer patients, the immune system is suppressed by tumour and/or chemotherapy. PSP and PSK can restore the immune response by activating immune cells to destroy cancer cells.

Direct Anti-Tumour Activity

PSP and PSP have direct cytotoxic effects on certain types of tumour cells via inhibition of proliferation, induction of apoptosis and sensitisation to various chemotherapy agents.

Advantages Of Turkey Tail Mushroom As An Immunotherapy Agent

  • high tolerability, with no or minimal side effects
  • improve survival and quality of life
  • compatible with chemotherapy and radiation therapy
turkey tail mushroom dogs, turkey tail supplement for dogs with cancer

Turkey Tail Mushroom

Human Clinical Trials of Turkey Tail Mushroom As A Cancer Adjunct Therapy

Turkey tail mushrooms are one of the most researched medicinal mushrooms.

Since 1970, trials in Japan have shown that PSK significantly extended survival at 5 years or beyond in cancers of the stomach, colon-rectum, oesophagus, nasopharynx and lung (non-small cell types), and in an HLA B40-positive breast cancer subset. In 1977, PSK was approved as a cancer therapy in Japan.

In China, PSP was developed in the 1980s and approved for clinical use in 1987. Besides cancer, it has been clinically tested to treat hepatitis, hyperlipidemia, chronic bronchitis, chemical-induced stress and other diseases.

In double-blind trials, PSP significantly extended 5-year survival in oesophagal cancer patients.

PSP significantly improved quality of life, provided substantial pain relief and boosted immune function in 70-97% of patients with cancers of the stomach, oesophagus, lung, ovary and cervix.

Clinical Study Of Turkey Tail Extract & Canine Splenic Hemangiosarcoma (Spleen Cancer In Dogs)

The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine conducted a study to determine the dose-dependent anti-tumour and survival effects of a proprietary turkey tail mushroom PSP extract (brand: I’m-Yunity) in 15 dogs with splenic hemangiosarcoma following splenectomy (spleen removal). None of the dogs underwent chemotherapy. Dogs were randomly divided into 3 treatment groups that received 25, 50, or 100 mg/kg/day of I’m Yunity until death.

Here are the findings from this study:

  1. Some of the dogs treated with I’m-Yunity alone lived beyond a year. Before this study was conducted, the longest reported median survival time for untreated dogs with splenic hemangiosarcoma was 86 days.
  2. Dogs in the 100mg/kg/day dose group had the longest median survival times reported to date, at 199 days. This was longer than survival time (141 to 179 days) reported for dogs receiving doxorubicin-based chemotherapeutic protocol.
  3. The median time to development or progression of abdominal metastases was significantly delayed in dogs receiving 100 mg/kg/day I’m-Yunity (112 days; range 30 to 308 days) compared to dogs receiving 25 mg/kg/day (30 days; range 16 to 126 days).
  4. There were no adverse effects from the PSP treatment.

The high dose of PSP (100 mg/kg/day) significantly delayed the development or progression of abdominal metastases and provided the longest median survival times reported to date.

Since the dogs did not receive adjuvant therapies, the results of this study showed that I’m-Yunity (turkey tail mushroom PSP extract) may be effective in fighting tumours.

“Although hemangiosarcoma is a very sad and devastating disease,” Cimino Brown (researcher) said, “in the long term, if we prove that this (I’m-Yunity) works, this treatment can be a really nice alternative for owners to have increased quality time with their pet at the end of its life.”

The researchers are carrying out further trials of I’m-Yunity in dogs with hemangiosarcoma to confirm and refine their results.

Bottom Line

Hemangiosarcoma is a highly aggressive and invasive cancer that originates from the blood cell. It tends to affect the spleen (splenic hemangiosarcoma) of large dog breeds such as German Shepherds and golden retrievers.

Dogs with splenic hemangiosarcoma usually show no early symptoms of the disease. By the time the tumour ruptures, an emergency splenectomy is often necessary to stop the bleeding and save the dog’s life.

Prognosis is poor for canine splenic hemangiosarcoma, due to early and widespread metastases. Median survival times are 1-3 months following surgery alone and 3-6 months following surgery and chemotherapy. Most dog owners choose not to pursue chemotherapy since it does not significantly increase survival times in their dogs.

The above study in dogs with hemangiosarcoma found that the turkey tail mushroom extract could offer survival and quality of life benefits. In Japan and China, turkey tail mushroom extract is clinically approved as a treatment for various types of cancer in humans. Hence, I believe turkey tail mushroom may even help dogs with cancer other than hemangiosarcoma.

I’m-Yunity is an expensive turkey tail mushroom supplement or it may not be available in certain countries. If you are looking for a more affordable alternative, here are 2 reputable turkey tail mushroom supplements used by many pet owners:

  • Host Defense Turkey Tail (capsules)
  • Canine Matrix Turkey Tail (powder)



*** Which turkey tail mushroom supplement helped your dog with cancer? Let us know in the comment box below. Thank you for sharing! ***


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