Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

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How Long Does My Dog Have?

It is very important to do what we can to avoid ongoing depression when trying to cope with cancer in our dogs.  Ongoing depression is exhausting, steals our reserves, and clouds judgment.

It decreases your dog’s chances of good life quality during a life with cancer.  Yes, your ongoing depression.

Please do not misunderstand me.  There are many legitimate reasons for guardians of dogs with cancer to be depressed.

Here are some of these reasons:

Take a look at median survival times with conventional care (chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery):

  • Hemangiosarcoma of the spleen:  median survival time after spleen removal without chemo is about 2 months, and with chemo is up to 6  months.
  • Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the bladder:  median survival time on piroxicam alone is about 6 months.
  • Melanoma of the toes:  following removal of the affected toe, this cancer will take the life of half the patients within a year, assuming there is no evidence for spread at the time of surgery.
  • Lymphosarcoma:  patients receiving the Wisconsin chemo protocol have a median survival of roughly 6-10 months.

(For more specific data on median survival times with different cancers and protocols, see The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.)

So there is every reason to have sadness.  But….continued sadness is not helpful to you or to your dog. After experiencing the grief, it is time for an expectation analysis.  Time to organize yourself and move forward.

Suppose your dog was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma, and seems to be having good overall life quality 6 months later.  Guess what?  This is very good news! Median life expectancy with chemo being 6-10 months, about half the dogs with lympho have passed away in as little as 6 months after being diagnosed.

And that is with chemotherapy!

If you have a dog with lympho and your dog is doing well 6 months after diagnosis, you are already beating the curve, since median survival is as low as 6 months in some cases with the chemo.

What if your dog has lympho and is on pred only? Median survival for those dogs is roughly 2 or 3  months.  So you are ahead of the game if your dog has good life quality 2 months after diagnosis.

If you were to look at some of the other statistics above, you can see that if you had a dog who underwent spleen removal 8 weeks ago,  is not on chemo, and is still maintaining, you are beating the odds.  This is very, very good news.  This is successful treatment!

An integration of these statistics in one’s mind allows for a realistic picture of where we stand with conventional cancer care.

We really must take into account how short these survival times are in our expectations!  We need to redefine success in malignant cancer management.

An understanding of these figures also tells us how we are doing with the addition of our “outside the box” treatments discussed here and in The Guide.

Once we get past the grim reality of these numbers, we can alter our expectations and begin appreciation with gratitude.

The practice of gratitude for each of these days, realizing the  odds, is they key to avoiding continued sadness.

Best to all of you,

Dr D

About the Author: Demian Dressler, DVM


Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM is known as the "dog cancer vet" and is author of Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog's Life Quality and Longevity. Visit his blog and sign up free to get the latest information about canine cancer. Go to http://www.DogCancerBlog.com.

  • Karen

    Hi Dr. Dressler – you are so right about having gratitude on a daily basis. My Mack, 11 yr golden, was diagnosed 8 months ago with a brain tumor, left olfactory lobe. He was given 3-6 months to live with no surgery, no radiation. He is on Prednisone and Phenobarb along with 18-19 suppletments/herbs. I will now add zinc. So yes, so far we have beaten the odds (and I feel guilty saying that,) but he and I are happy everyday and take it day by day.
    Thank you for all you do,
    Karen Bender
    Springfield,NJ

    • Dr. Dressler

      Good for you Karen, and your Mack.
      Keep it up!
      D

  • Amy

    I was in a fog for 6 weeks, on pins/needles, not knowing how long Jimmy would be with me after his diagnosis hemangiosarcoma. I think I found it earlier than normal and as far as we can tell it originated in the abdomen near the prostate. After his biopsy that left a belly full of staples, I think HE was depressed for awhile and then I was depressed too thinking I would have to run out in the middle of the night to put him to sleep. As soon as I decided to go on and enjoy everyday with him and not live in fear that he’d drop dead at any second, things got a lot better. It’s been 3 months and we take it day by day and I pray often for wisdom as to when it’s time to let him go. Your blogs/website, etc. have been VERY helpful. Thanks. Amy

    • Dr. Dressler

      Thanks Amy. Reminds me of my dog Bjorn. He has had extensive orthopedic repairs on his limbs (courtesy of yours truly) and I was always afraid dogs on walks would hurt him, so I would secretly hope they would stay away to keep his legs safe. I realized Bjorn was picking up on my fear as he showed aggression to the other dogs. Once I realized it, he has gotten about 50% better.
      Amazing.
      D

  • Sandy

    Hi Dr Dressler,

    I just purchased your book and am still in the process of reading it.

    I have a 5-year old male Rough Collie that was diagnosed with Lymphosarcoma April 1, 2008. We started him on the Madison protocol a couple of days later. I took him to a holistic vet in our state and we started him on several supplements. We also switched his diet to Sojo’s Europa (Grain-Free) dog food mix and I add cooked turkey. He went into remission after his first treatment and stayed in remission until December. We decided to try Lomustine instead of the Madison protocol again. I kept him on the supplements and food as before. He has been feeling great. He is running, barking and even playing tug. He never played tug even as a puppy. His mood has been great and I am very thankful. So, when I took him in for his check up on May 5th I was shocked and crushed to find out the Lomustine seemed to quit working after only 4 months. I am not ready to give up and I don’t think he is either. Everyone at the clinic was surprised he came out of remission because he is so up in mood and activity. His activity level is down a bit after the his Vincristine treatment on Wednesday but is still acting really good. I understand that many would say that he has already beat the odds and been with us more than a year when his prognosis was 6-10 months. I am very optimistic by nature and don’t give up easily. If he were feeling poorly or I could see that he was too tired to continue, I may feel differently. If Apollo were your dog, or you were treating him in your clinic, what types of supplements or treatments would you use? What steps would you take?

    Also, is it possible to cure Lymphosarcoma? I have been told that it is not but most of the news I get is very pessimistic at best. I would appreciate any assistance or advice.

    PS – PLEASE do not tell me that he has already beat the odds and I should just accept that and prepare for the worst. I can’t sit back and do nothing. I need to help him any way that I can.

    Thanks!

    • Dr. Dressler

      Sandy, you need to get through the book! There is a lot you can do, from supplements to diet to mind-body techniques for your dog. Follow the Full-Spectrum Attack Plan!
      I have yet to see a true cure for lympho unfortunately, but I know of one dog who has lived over 4 years following chemo. So don’t lose hope!
      D

  • Jared

    Dr. Dressler,

    I downloaded your book this weekend and called your office this morning to get some direction.

    I have a Boxer that just turned 11 in March. He was just diagnosed with Primary lung cancer. They did an aspirate and advised furthur to something called Adenocarcinomas. X-rays showed a mass which looked to be on the top of his heart. The Ultrasound showed the mass to be in the frontal lobe of his lungs on his right side. We were planning to do surgery to remove the mass the next day because the mass is putting some pressure on his trachea. They wanted to do a CT Scan to provide the exact location of the mass. The results of the CT Scan showed the start of a smaller mass furthur down in the 3rd lobe on his right side. They are not suggesting surgery after the finding of the 2nd mass.

    I started researching on the internet and found information on your book, blogs and video.

    I am looking for some direction on what to do for him and need your help. He is a healthy and active dog with the exception of the cancer now. I want to do whatever I can for him.

    Thank you for your time,
    Jared

  • Jared

    Dr. Dressler,

    I downloaded your book this weekend and called your office this morning to get some direction.

    I have a Boxer that just turned 11 in March. He was just diagnosed with Primary lung cancer. They did an aspirate and advised furthur to something called Adenocarcinomas. X-rays showed a mass which looked to be on the top of his heart. The Ultrasound showed the mass to be in the frontal lobe of his lungs on his right side. We were planning to do surgery to remove the mass the next day because the mass is putting some pressure on his trachea. They wanted to do a CT Scan to provide the exact location of the mass. The results of the CT Scan showed the start of a smaller mass furthur down in the 3rd lobe on his right side. They are not suggesting surgery after the finding of the 2nd mass.

    I started researching on the internet and found information on your book, blogs and video.

    I am looking for some direction on what to do for him and need your help. He is a healthy and active dog with the exception of the cancer now. I want to do whatever I can for him.

    Thank you for your time,
    Jared

    • Dr. Dressler

      Jared,
      we will be in touch with you tomorrow-
      Dr D

  • John & Paulette

    Dr. D.,

    We recently purchased your book. Our dog Nicholas was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in June of 2006. Back then, we treated him with Lomustine for 6 months. At the time, the doc stated that this was a one time deal. It has been 2 1/2 years since his last dose. I read in your book that the drug is very effective in shrinking the tumor but once given, it can act like a vaccine and would not be effective the second time.

    Nicholas has been recently displaying signs that the tumor is growing. Is there any time limit as to when you feel a second regimen might be effective or do the tumor cells respond as if the Lomustine is a lifetime vaccine? We were under the impression that the Doc. told us it was a one time thing because survival this long is quite unheard of.

    He currently takes Essiac tea, IP-6 & Inisotol, Omega 3 fatty acids in organic flaxseed oil, vit. ester-c, garlic tabs, maitaike mush, liver detoxifier, boswellia, DHEA, Bromelain, prednisone (30mg/day), xue yu tang, and tan yu tang. He is fed Wellness Core, (Holistic food, high protein, lo carb).

    We took your recommendation regarding Doxycycline and got a prescription today. The Doc that prescribed the Doxycycline thought that there should be something else used with it. Do you know if there is something that should be paired with the Doxycycline?

    We will be purchasing the K-9 Immunity medicine soon as another supplement.

    Can you give us any other suggestions?

    Thank you for all the information we acquired from your book. We are off to war now,

    John & Paulette

  • Deb

    My 7 year old Great Dane, Daisy, was just diagnosed with bone cancer. Our vet prescribed Tramadol and Deramaxx for pain and inflamation, and she does seem to be responding well to these as a way to improve her quality of life right now. Otherwise, we’re feeding her all the protein she’ll eat and staying as positive as possible with her. From what I understand, this is a very serious and aggressive form of cancer with no real options. She manifested with limping in her left hind leg, then it progressed to her left shoulder. X-rays of her left shoulder gave it away. Are there any other “quality of life” in the short term recommendations? Thanks!

  • Stacy

    Hello. My almost 9 year old Wheaten Terrier was just diagnosed yesterday with a cancerous brain tumor that is located on her brain stem. The vet said average life is now 3-5 months…longest he has seen is 9 months. The only thing he has given me is 7.5 MG of Prednizone and Pepcid twice daily (every 12 hours). There are people on here talking about other drugs. I also have found this item called EZ Clear. Since I just found out yesterday I’m crying all day and in a fog. But I don’t want to waste time if there is possibly something out there that can prolong her life. I am going to see if my local Barnes and Noble has your book tonight. If you have any suggestions in the mean time please let me know. Thank you.

  • Karen Bender

    Hi again Dr.Dressler – my prior comment is above dated May 9, 09 re Mack, my 11 yr golden diag’d with a brain tumor in the left olfactory lobe in Sept08. Since the beginning of this month (June 09) he has taken a negative turn. Mack’s breathing is somewhat labored(he just saw our vet on June 18,) he is awake much more than he should be at night, and very stiff legged and weak in the hind legs. He is still a voracious eater. My question is: can he take MELATONIN with prednisone and phenobarb? I know you say 5mg per 40lbs of weight. Thank you so much,
    Karen

  • Theresa Greco

    I have a 12 year old Malamute/Great Pyr mix who was diagnosed with an inoperable liver tumor at the end of June. He had exploratory surgery which confirmed the diagnosis. It had spread to his sinuses and he had been bleeding profusely from the right nare (which is what prompted me to bring him in to the vet–along with the fact that he had been experiencing some weight loss). The vet’s office made a call to UW Madison’s vet school, but they would not start my Big White Fluffy Moose on any chemo.

    The vet said that the tumor was too big–that if they were to remove it, he would not have enough functional liver remaining to keep him alive.

    I have had him on K-9 Immunity, Luteolin, milk thistle, parsley, modified citrus pectin, cimetidine, and a basically pure protein diet. I have been feeding him chicken breasts (he goes through filve to seven of them a day) and 1-2 chicken livers each day. He also gets beef roast and freeze-dried beef liver as a “treat”.

    From the time they took the film of his belly to the time of the surgery, he lost six pounds. In the six weeks since the surgery, I have had him on this regimen and he has only lost one pound.

    He had to go back for an additional surgery, as his abdominal wound dehisced, but the vet was very pleased with how he looked. His appetite is phenomenal, his attitude is great, he loves visitors and attention, and is an all-around happy boy.

    The vet said to just keep doing what I’ve been doing.

    They cauterized the sinus tumor during the first surgery, and there has been no further bleeding (thank God!).

    I had a long talk with the Moose, and told him that he couldn’t go anywhere just yet–he had to hang around long enough to be a senile, silly old man!

    I did try the diet that you recommended in the book (which I called “Moose Mash”), but he wanted nothing to with it. It was meat or nothing.

    He has gotten very spoiled, though–he won’t eat the chicken unless I warm it up in the microwave!

  • http://witz_p@bellsouth.net Patricia Witzmann

    We have a 11-12 year old Black Pomeranian, she was diagnosed with bladder cancer in Feburary 2009 and was treated for 3 months before for other things before we did further testing. ChiChi came from the dog pound, we have had her the last 4 years. Our vet said her tumor was to large for surgery, he gave her medication for the irration, and which no longer is working for her. We noticed she is looking more and more bloated and she now can’t control urination, a lot of blood in her urine. She eats good, still wants to play…but she does have more bad days then good as she sleeps alot more.
    My question is how long do animals have with this diease? Our Vet said take it one day at a time and love her, which we have. My husband is ready to put her down, I feek guity even thinking about it. We more than likely will take her back to the Vet soon. She dribbles blood quite a bit. When is the best time for her, not me.
    Thank you for any advice.

    • Dr. Dressler

      Patricia,
      There is a life quality analysis section that you should really read in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide. It helps you make decisions like this. Transitional cell carcinomas, the most common type of bladder cancer, have a median (approximate) survival time on Feldene (Piroxicam) alone of about 2 months. Every dog is different though..
      Thinking of you
      D

  • Chad Felgner

    I have a 12 year old Boxer named Silas. She was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma and a tumor close to her spleen. She was sick that that but has been doing better. She started eating and feeling better but then she just stopped eating. Now she hasn’t eated in several days. She was also diagnosed with lunch cancer.
    Can i help her eat? Can anything be done?
    Thank you for any advise!

  • Theresa Greco

    Big White Fluffy Moose update!!

    Well, my boy apparently didn’t get the memo that he’s Really Really Sick, because he is “rockin’ the free world”. He is still happy, eating well, socializing, surveying his “kingdom” from the hill in the backyard, and generally enjoying life. He has even begun, recently, to get back up on the couch.

    He got tired of chicken after a while, so he is eating beef now. He is consuming about three pounds a day.

    My biggest problem with him right now is trying to get him to put some weight back on.

    Anyone have any ideas?

  • Theresa Greco

    Moose-Goose!

    I had to take Big White Fluffy to the doggie doc for a sore on his leg, which I am hoping is just an infected skin tag and not another tumor, and I discovered, to my delight, that he has gained 2.6 pounds!!!

    Whoo-hoo!!

  • judy and gilles

    I have only recently found your website and feel that your information may have come too late for our dog.

    Our 15 year old Australian shepherd dog had never had any urinary problems and then in June, he stopped drinking and was trying to urinate every few hours, so we took him to the vet and they diagnosed a bladder stone and we did surgery on the spot. The vet reported that he found a mass near the bladder but since our dog was neutered, thought it may have been due to some inflammation since his bladder showed inflammation at the time of surgery. Since then, he had some good days but over the last few weeks, started losing his appetite and straining when trying to have a bowel movement with rather loose stools. His frequent urination was replaced with frequent attempts to have a bowel movement. Due to the loss of appetite we again talked with our vet who recommended a mineral supplement called lixotinic (2 teaspoons a day) and we tried that for a few days with no great results and then took him back in to the vet. The vet said the tumor was in the spleen or liver and had likely spread from the mass he had seen upon bladder stone surgery in June and was diagnosed by our vet September 29, 2009 with what he thinks is adenocarcinoma. He has put him on 40 mg prednisone (20 mg twice a day) and his appetite increased only the first few days and then he went off his feed (I switched to Blue Buffalo puppy kibble as recommended by a holistic vet and from what I read on the internet) and water. We have put him on K9 Immunity critical care pack, have added 1000 mg fish oil, 1000 mg milk thistle and have a decaffeinated green tea extract ordered which will hopefully arrive soon. We also have started him on the Chinese herb Yunnan Baiyao Friday, October 9, 2009 giving him 1 capsule every 12 hours. Unfortunately our dog does not want to eat anything (we have tried just about everything we could think of as well as what other people from blogs, etc have suggested) since October 6, 2009 or drink since October 9, 2009 of last week and has developed diarrhea as of this past Friday, October 9, 2009. We have been giving him electrolytes (pedialyte) via syringe as well as force-feeding a food mix to him and have started him on peptobismol for his diarrhea as of Saturday/Sunday October 10/11. The vet says it is fine to continue him on both the prednisone and peptobismol but basically acts as if there is nothing else to do and that the cancer will likely spread to his lungs. He is exceptionally weak as of this writing. Any suggestions you may have would be most appreciated. We are really at a loss and trying to learn as much about this as possible but feel as if we are too late except to give him palliative care at this point. If that is all we can do, that is fine, I just want to know all options. Thank you for reading and this great website/blog.
    Judy and Gilles

    • Dr. Dressler

      Hi Judy and Giles,
      sounds like some vague information from your vet. You need data. Consider a second opinion and get an expanded work up to figure out what you are dealing with in reality. The guesswork makes everyone feel especially helpless as there feels like no decision can be made. Get the dog somewhere where they can help you make decisions using objective information! And try to move quickly if you can. Best, D

      • Dr. Dressler

        One more thing
        he sounds like he had colitis (large intestine inflammation) and now enterocolitis (small and large intestine inflammation). I would taper off pred slowly, stop all the supplements, get him on a diet of chicken with baby food, and talk to the vet about some stronger meds for the inflammation of the intestine (metronidazole, tylan powder put in capsules, olsalazine, slippery elm, etc). All the stuff given by mouth could be messing up his digestive tract.
        best
        d

  • judy and gilles

    Dr. Dressler,
    Thank you so much for your response and suggestions. We took him off the Yunnan Baiyao almost at the time of our writing to you, especially after what we thought was diagnosed as a hemangiosarcoma was now diagnosed as an adenocarcinoma. Unfortunately our dog became so weak, barely able to walk and still not eating or drinking that we decided to have him put to sleep shortly after we wrote to you. I so wish that I had contacted you earlier as he was such a fighter I find it hard to see this happen and feel as if we could have done more and have helped him, at least not to become so weak. Everything seemed to happen too fast and because we live in fairly rural area, our options for vets are somewhat limited. Before we took him to the vet, he walked down to our creek and just wanted to stay in the water, as if it made his stomach feel better. He had done the same thing a few days earlier and I had to really coax him to get out, so I was wondering if this was his way to deal with pain or inflammation and even went so far as to think about putting an icebag on his stomach area while he was resting. Was this a crazy idea? In addition, when we took him in to be put to sleep, he was so dehydrated that the vet had to use a catheter in his jugular making the whole experience that much worse, as if he was not ready to give up and I still feel guilty, not quite convinced we did the right thing at the right time. I was not happy with the results while he was on prednisone and worried that we should have stayed with Previcox which we had used after his bladder surgery off and on when he seemed in pain or was not eating with great results. The vet thought prednisone was the way to go, saying it should increase his appetite and could decrease the size of the tumor(s) but they may come back more aggressively. I understand that you can not just switch from preds to the non-steroids pain medications, so I just kept him on the preds and had actually started to decrease the amount over the last few days. For some reason I can not explain, it just made since to me but was not what the vet recommended so I was not sure what to do, which has also added to my feelings of guilt.
    I also am worrying as we have 6 other dogs and one of the older dogs has recently developed diarrhea too, making me wonder if there is some connection. I will look into giving her the slippery elm.
    Over the past many years, I have had 12 dogs or so, 6 are still with me, 3 of the 6 that have passed had to be put to sleep for cancer, so I am very worried about the others and truly appreciate your website and writings. One very thoughtful idea from our previous vet was to clip some hair from our dog and keep it in a baggy, which the vet said he could open and “smell” his dog whenever he wanted. Although difficult, I did appreciate his advice and have done the same thing ever since with our other dogs. Just something that maybe some of your readers may want to consider…
    Again thank you so much for answering our post and caring.
    judy and gilles

  • judy and gilles

    We had a question regarding the K9-immunity critical care. Because we lost our dog to cancer, we still have an opened bottle of both the K9-immunity critical care and K9-Transfer factor. We were wondering if it is okay to give these to our older dogs who are not showing any signs of cancer or if we could give them to someone with a dog that may need them more than our dogs, or just to keep them for a “just in case” situation (hopefully not).
    We were also wondering what else we can do to help others (pet owners, vets, dogs, etc) in the fight against cancer. Besides donating money, what other ways can one help?
    Thanks again for a great website and so much help, you are an inspiration (thus the question about helping others).
    Judy and Gilles

    • Dr. Dressler

      Hi Judy and Giles,
      I avoid the use of beta glucan containing supplements for dogs with immune mediated diseases. Broadly these are things like hypothyroidism, skin allergies, lupus, pemphigus, dry eye, lyme disease, amyloidosis/Shar Pei Fever, inflammatory bowel disease/food allergy, and others. Since we are talking about non-specific immune stimulation with beta glucans, we don’t really want to worsen problems that have an immune basis, at least theoretically. Other than that I think they are fine for healthy dogs.
      Financial help of course is always a valued commodity. Helping people who comment about having financial difficulties with gifts for their dog (like a nice present of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, hint, hint) is practical service. Giving encouragement to commenting readers helps. Helping the dog nation by volunteering at shelters with an intention to be of service increases healing overall in the world.
      Thanks for your words.
      Best,
      D

  • shawn m.

    Dr. Dressler-
    Our boxer Camden is 10 yrs old and has been diagnosed with a splenic tumor and liver hemangiosarcoma. The tumor has ruptured and is bleeding into her abdomen which has caused her labored breathing. We don’t want to give up on her because she hasn’t given up yet. She still eats, socializes, goes to the bathroom, and is generally herself. The big problem right now is her anemia. We are giving her 15mg of prednisone daily and started 200mg twice daily of liquid milk thistle. Our vet also suggested starting her on another herbal supplement from Vietnam that will help her blood clot which I don’t have the name of. Do you have any other suggestions for us? Possible supplements to help get the anemia under control, if possible? Thanks for your time and reading about Camden. Shawn M.

    • Dr. Dressler

      Shawn, I think they are probably talking about Yunnan Baiyao, or Yunnan Paiyao.

      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/chinese-herb-for-bleeding-dog-cancers/

      I should let you know though that if the tumor is bleeding severely the way to deal with it is with a transfusion followed by surgery to eliminate the source of blood loss. Labored breathing caused by blood pooling against the back side of the diaphragm is severe, and pills/extracts/tinctures usually will not be strong enough to deal with the problem I am sorry to say, at least not typically. The treatment would have to more more aggressive to make a big difference I feel.
      Best,
      D

  • judy and gilles

    Hi Shawn M,
    First, I want to say that I admire your courage to not give up on your dog. I am not a vet but am curious to see what Dr. Dressler advices for many reasons. Although to this day I am still unsure of what cancer our dog had, the vet did say it was either in the spleen or liver so I am very interested in learning about these type of cancers. We did lose our dog to this horrible disease, long story-see above comments, and I think there were a multiple of issues involved. Not asking the right questions to the right people was a big one. I learned from this website about the herb Yunnan Baiyao. If you have a chance, check it out. I can also forward you some other information I found on it. We did purchase some and I have an unopened box if you are interested. I would like to help others in anyway with their fight against cancer and can send you the box if you want. Our dog also suffered from anemia, more due to his lack of interest in eating and drinking. Our vet recommended a product called Lixotinic. It was in liquid form and our vet sold it but I did a search on the internet and found you could buy it that way also (I think they may have changed it’s name but you will find it even if you search for the lixotinic supplement). I believe they also use it for horses. I have not seen it mentioned on this site (although can’t say I have made it through all the posts) and there may be something better. Anyhow, just some things for you to search as you await Dr. Dressler’s advice. I know I spent as much time as possible trying to learn what I could for my dog as well as for us. The whole experience has made me extremely interested and motivated to learn as much as I can and to somehow help. I wish you and your dog all the best and if I can help in anyway, let me know, even if it is to just talk/write.
    judy

  • shawn m.

    Judy&Gilles-
    Thanks for trying to help. We appreciate your support. Sorry for your loss. We know it hurts, we lost our first boxer 2 years ago to a tumor on his heart.
    Shawn M.

  • Karen B.

    I am feeling very betrayed by our vet tonight. We started with him because he has advanced equipment for treating arthritis. We had tried every diet and supplement we could find. We absolutely did not want to use NSAIDS. The lazer heat treatments that his office offered did not work either. It was going to be either put her down or try an NSAID. He suggested Metacam. She turned into a new dog. She was herself again. Three months later I took her in because she couldn’t get comfortable lying down. Didn’t seem to be in pain, just uncomfortable. His alternative vet suggested we go back to supplementing the Metacam with Tramadol. Two days later, the dog started having contractions in her side. We rushed her to the vet. We discussed not wanting to put her through surgery if it would only prolong her life for a short while. We insisted on x-rays and ultrasounds of her liver and lungs. The vet was very positive about her having good quality of life for a long time. He had been after me to do something about a very large lipoma. We said since she still had a good future we would do that at the same time. Today we have been telling people about her splenectomy and we get the feedback that there is no way she is going to live more than 3 – 6 months. I specifically told the vet that I didn’t want to put her through a surgery if she was just going to expire in 30 days. He did everything but bald face lie to us to get our money. Why did he encourage the lipoma be taken off when she had such a limited life expectancy? We wouldn’t have even had the splenectomy if we had know how much longer she would live. He knew from the first visit we had that we were prepared to put her down because of bad arthritis. Why would he think we would subject her to major surgery just for 3 – 6 months? I am furious.

  • shawn m

    Dr. D-Thanks for responding. Camden is doing very well. We wrapped her abdomen with an ace bandage and a towel for 2 days, as directed by our vet, and her body did absorb the effusion of blood in her abdomen. Since then she has been doing better. In the meantime I have been feverishly scouring the internet for info on canine cancer of the spleen and liver. I have changed her diet to boiled turkey, brown rice, chicken broth, and herbal supplements with her prescription medicine as well. I started her on liquid vitamin e complex for antioxidant benefit to boost her immune system, liquid iron supplement for her anemia, liquid milk thistle to detox her liver, yunnan paiyao capsules to stop the internal bleeding and increase blood circulation, GuiPiTang-GeXiaZhuYaTang to increase blood platelet production, plant derived digestive enzymes to aid in the breakdown of her food properly, and finally 10mg prednisone in the morning and 5mg in the evening. She improves each day and that’s a day more we get to spend great quality of life with her. She was not a candidate for surgery due to the 2 organs that cancer has settled into. Her liver “looks like swiss cheese” with the hemangiosarcoma on it. I was told a transfusion could be an option only if her RBC went up. At the time she was at 18% and going lower. The dr’s didn’t feel she would survive it. So we didn’t risk it. We really thought we were going to have to euthanize her last Tuesday 11/10, but I guess there were other plans for her. We realize we have been lucky. So I am doing the best I can to provide the best care for her as long as she wants it, until the cancer eventually takes over. Which we obviously hope is later than sooner. Hopefully someone else can benefit from the info I have posted here. I think we might have caught the cancer at the right time and help from above.

  • Theresa Greco

    Moose again….

    I had to take him back to the vet for a lesion of some sort on his abdomen. It is (was) about the size of a quarter; it appeared almost like a little piece of skin had peeled back/scraped off somehow. The big problem was that he wouldn’t stop licking it. The vet removed it and sent it in for histopathology because he didn’t like the way it looked and said it didn’t look like anything he’d ever seen before (he’s been a vet for a very LONG time). My concern is that, even if this is a cancerous lesion, what–if anything–are my options? He has already been denied chemo and radiation for the liver tumor, so I doubt that they would be willing to do anything for this. (It was the UW Madison vet school that said he was not a good candidate for chemo.) He’s in really good shape otherwise–he’s maintaining his weight, he’s eating, he goes for walks, gets excited when people come over, jumps up on the couch and naps….

    Eveyone who has seen him is very suprised–and happy–that he is doing so well. He was diagnosed with this inoperable liver tumor back in June, and he’s been fighting the good fight his long–I’d hate to see all his progress become undone because of this.

    So, Dr. Dressler, my question for you is what could I do for him if the news comes back ominous (as I am currently terrified that it will)?

  • Mary

    My 11 year old boxer just had x rays that show an abdominal mass and spoting on the lungs. I never got any clear answers from the vet regarding how long he’s got with us. We love him very much but decided that we were not going to operate or do chemotherapy. Right now, the vet has given us morphine. This was yesterday and I am still tryng to wrap my mind around the fact that on Monday he was his old self and now he is dying.

  • Mary

    I wanted to add that the vet wasn’t very optomistic about the use of predizone. She said if I chose Chemo, no predizone. Surgery, other than biopsy wasn’t mentioned at all and I assume that had to do with the fact that there are quite a few spots on the lung. I told her that I was not going to put an 11 year old dog through chemo, but she did not recommend the predizone. It seems it was chemo and morphine or morphine. I took the morphine. My head is spinning with wondering what to do. Would predizone actually be helpful?

  • Karen B.

    Shawn M. will you please contact me about what you are feeding Camden? My dog has the same type of cancer. Could you email me at kasue1954@yahoo.com ? It lets less spam through. Karen and Janie

  • judy

    Hi,
    I’ve been reading the posts here with interest. My 12y/o lab has a growth near the bottom of her spleen and bleeding in her abdomen. Almost 3 weeks ago I took her in for acupuncture and mentioned her distended abdomen. My vet did an ultrasound, lung and heart xrays, and blood work.She is anemic and the growth which is fairly small seems to be at the bottom of the spleen. The only way to know is surgery of course. I wasn’t ready to potentially lose her on the table. He said odds were 50/50. I started her on Yunnan Baiyou because I had some and knew it was good for clotting. I’ve been giving one-4x a day. What dose are you recommending? Every day I struggle with whether or not to do the surgery but feel very concerned about the anemia. It is so hard to just watch her gradually deteriorate. Is there something I can give her to help the anemia? I was also wondering about wrapping the abdomen-is this a good idea? I’m starting to think about trying the surgery but feel so worried about the anemia.I just don’t see how she could survive it being anemic-am I off on this? At this point she still eats but only salmon, meat,and a little canned food. Thanks for any input!

    • Dr. Dressler

      Judy,
      surgery is your best chance for both increased survival and possible cure. Get a skilled vet or a board certified surgeon. Transfusion before surgery is standard when you have severe anemia before surgery.
      See the blog post on yunnan baiyao:
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/chinese-herb-for-bleeding-dog-cancers/
      best,
      Dr D

  • Tim & Darla

    Hello Dr. Dressler. We have a 9 year old Siberian Husky that has been diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma that first manifested itself on her tonsil. We had it excised approx. 2 months ago. Prior to the surgery, Abbie’s breath was very foul and it was great, almost puppy-like immediately following the surgery. I don’t know whether to attribute this to the antibiotics she was given or to the removal of the tumor. Following the tissue biopsy and diagnosis, we discussed various treatment options with our Vet who has been very supportive of our decision to not put her through chemo and radiation treatment.

    Instead, we have put her on a diet of cooked chicken / beef mixed into a “special sauce” of cottage cheese blended with organic flax seed oil w/ Lignans (2:1) which is called a “Budwig Protocol” for human cancer victims. She eats approximately 1 to 2 cups of the oil/cottage cheese mix daily. We supplement this diet with twice daily “Hoxsey-Like” formula elixer (1.5 ml each); 20 barley grass pills (340 mg each)spread thoughout the day; an Essiac vegi-cap; 500 mg Bromelain; beta Glucan (700 mg); Potassium Gluconate (550 mg); Ester C (500 mg); Heart Plus Caplet; IP 6 & Inositol and a Krill Oil Caplet.

    To date, Abbie has been doing quite well. She shows no outward signs of illness and appears and acts like quite a healthy and happy girl. She still enjoys playing with our other dog ( 4 year old Boxer) and acts normally, although her breath is not as sweet as immediately following the surgery. It’s nowhere near as foul as prior to her surgery however.

    Anyway, we are contemplating the addition of some Graviola to the above mix and would appreciate your comments or recommendation regarding its use.

    Thanks in Advance

    Tim & Darla

  • Shawn M.

    Hi-
    Camden passed away yesterday. She fought hard, but the cancerous tumor on her spleen caused her to hemorrhage for the third time in a month. She went quietly and at home. Good luck to all of you fighting cancer with your dogs.

  • Susan

    My 9 year old precious Maltese, has just be diagoised with Oral Malignant Melanoma. Stage 1. Should I put her through Chemo and radiation, as well as the immunization shot? I don’t want her to suffer needlessly with these treatments, only to have her die in a couple months. She is acting normal right now. Please help. The doctors want to start treatment on Tuesday.

    • Dr. Dressler

      Susan,
      please read and really consider the following post:
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/the-most-important-question-in-dog-cancer-care/
      You also need to gather data about survival times and odds related to side effects or adverse reactions. Suffering needlessly may or may not be a part of your dog’s future. It is time for more information gathering from those providing the treatments so you can, with a clear mindset, be your dog’s number one health care advocate. You may want to read the e-book I wrote to help in this process too.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Laura

    Dr. Dressler,

    My 11 year-old shepherd mix Jakey had recurring hemangiosarcoma on his back left leg. My vet and a nearby vet school recommended amputation to extend his life by “hopefully” 6 months. That was 3 years ago next month! I’m so thankful for the past 3 years! But this past Sunday he was diagnosed with lung cancer, probably mets from the hemangio. He can’t stand up for long, but does seem excited to get up and go outside, will eat this special game meat food I found and seems to enjoy being around people, so I’m not ready to end his life yet. He is on regularly scheduled pain meds and does not appear to be in any distress.

    My dilemna is that I don’t want to leave him alone for long and I work 12 hour night shifts. My pet sitter has agreed to stay with him overnight, but do you think making these changes would be more disruptive to him than to just leave our schedule the way it has always been? I don’t mind paying for the overnight visits at all, but I don’t want to freak Jake out. Do you think it would be comforting for him to have someone with him all the time? He knows the pet sitters, they’ve been with us for years, so they aren’t strangers, but they don’t usually spend the night. My vet said he might live another 2 weeks or maybe another 2 months…if he was actively dying I would just stay home with him, but we’re in this in-between state right now and I don’t know what would be best for him.

    Any advice you have would be appreciated.

  • Mary

    Hi,
    We have a 15 year old cocker Spaniel Mix, Hanna, who has been retaining fluid in her abdomen. We had 3lbs (of fluid) drained atthe vet last week and had all kinds of tests run…came back that her organs were fine, she was slightly anemic and the fluid contained no blood only high level of protiens, x-ray did not show any significant mass…She has been on salix (diuretic) and the last two days has lost her appitite…The Vet now perscribed predisone to see if we could get her to start eating…Any suggestions?? She has been taking short walks and is still very interested in the family and what everyone is doing…Any suggestions would be appreciated!!!

  • Cami

    Dear Dr. Dressler:

    I’m in the same boat as the reader Jared from May 11th, 2009. My choc lab was also diagnosed with primary lung cancer with a large tumor pushing her heart to one side of her chest and many other metastases in both lungs. My vet isn’t experienced in chemo for small animals so she sent me to another clinic here in town. Kona is now on Vinorelbine and has started her first treatment. My vet doesn’t have much experienc with this med and is referring to a local university vet clinic for advice. I would like to know what I can expect from this treatment as he claims to not know but we’ll re-xray her in two weeks and see if there’s any improvement. I now have to force feed her special RX dog food since she won’t eat even the tastiest meats i cook for her. She isn’t throwing up food but does thrown up water daily. Can I expect the tumor to shrink? Her quality of life right now isn’t very good. She continues to lose weight, is very tired all the time and sleeps 95% of the day. She also seems depressed. When I’m home she just follows me around the house and plops down to sleep. What is the expectation with this treatment realistically?

    • Dr. Dressler

      Dear Cami,
      the data is all over the place. Here’s a reference for you:
      http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/119822218/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0
      Bottom line is that first a diagnosis needs to be made and secondly the tumor should be removed surgically for maximum survival time. It also depends on how much spread of the (presumed) tumor there is. As you can see, in terms of tumor shrinkage, the majority of dogs did not respond to vinorelbine by itself very much.
      I hope this helps.
      You may want to consider getting the info on quality of life and other important factors that will be coming up for you in the Guide. A good portion of the book deals with some of the more slippery ideas and how to make decisions that work for both you and your Lab.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • GinaNYC

    Hi Dr Dressler
    I just need another opinion.
    My Dog is 6 years old ( Rottie/Lab Mix ) Since August of 09′ he has had periodic blood in the urine. In the begining we treated him with Baytrill for an infection ( 2 rounds ) He had an xray, vet saw no stones but he said if some are like gravel or radiolucent he would not see them. He was bleeding frank blood in the begining ( for about 1 day ) and then he would urinate what looked like port wine. He cleared up pretty good through Nov, Dec, Jan and Feb just intermittent bouts of small amount of blood at the end of the urine stream and he has been on presciption food ( royal canin urinary SO ). He got another infection 2 weeks ago, Vet gave him clavamox and it cleared up a lot but he still has a tinge of blood here and there at the end of a stream. He is very healthy otherwise, runs, plays, eats like a horse, great spirits in other words, if it were not for the bloody urine, there is not a hint of illness. Since august when he gets these bouts there are also tiny dots of blood in the urine, I guess too small to call them clots. I also ordered for him some hollistic pills for when he is done with the clavamox. My vet suggests an ultra sound when this round of clavamox is done, i am nervous to get him one. As I fear the words ” he has Bladder Cancer ”
    My question is, since he has been having these problems going on 8 months now, if it were bladder cancer, that has not been treated, wouldn’t he be ill or showing other signs by now. My Vet seems to think so. Any opionions is greatly appreciated. What would one see if this was the case symptomatic wise?

  • GinaNYC

    Hi Again
    Just took my dog out for a urination and I let him go on a paper towel so I can see if there is blood, no visible blood this time, but I figured I would mention that a small rough sand like grain came out of him. I understand that stones can be as small as a grain of sand so I figured it was worth mentioning
    Thanks

  • Christina

    Hi Dr. D-

    I bought your book and read it all very quickly. Thank you for writing it and doing all the research! :)

    My Aussie Shep/ Black Lab mix (Toby) was diagnosed with Histiocytic Sarcoma (by biopsy of the tissue)on Feb 24th, after limping on his left front leg for a few weeks. As you suggested in your book, I got a second opinion by a professor/ vet at UC Davis. He suggested that I do an additional “CD18 staining” of the tissue as there are two types of cancer that form in the elbow joints- Histiocytic Sarcoma and Synovial Cell Sarcoma. We should have the results of that back today or tomorrow.

    On 3/5, we did additional tests to see if the cancer had spread- they did ultrasound and unrinalisis. They also tried to aspirate the lymph node, but it was really small and not easily reached, so they could not aspirate. They were pleased to see that metastasis is not present in the tests, ans seems to be localized.

    They think the best thing to do is to amputate and follow with chemo. I know that this type of cancer is aggressive and micrometastasis is probable. Do you know of studies or research that shows average life expectancy for HS based on the following options (and do you know average costs):
    1. Amputation/ Chemo
    2. Radiation/ Chemo
    3 Chemo alone
    4. Alternative/ Hollistic approach alone

    Just trying to make the best decision for my sweet little Toby. I would say I’m in Category B, as described in your book- but my husband is more in Category C.

    Thanks for any advice you can give.

    Christina

  • Christina

    One more thing, Toby is taking Previcox, and is walking just fine with it. He is so far a happy camper- still eating, walking, etc. I changed his diet to your cancer diet and started on Omega 3′s and some supplements. I will be making appt with Holistic Vet this week.

    Thanks,
    Christina

  • Theresa Greco

    Moose!!

    It will be almost a year since my Moose-Buddy was diagonosed with a tumor on his liver that was so big that the vet said that they would have to remove the liver along with the tumor. They sewed him back up and I took him home. They gave him a month to six weeks to live. He also had a tumor in his sinuses, which the vets cauterized. They thought that this one would come back, but it has not so far (thank God), and Mr. Moose is still White and Fluffy and very happy. He has not been able to regain the weight he lost last year, but he has not lost any more, either. I had him on the K-9 immunity and a whole slew of things recommemded in Dr. Dressler’s book. I am just so very happy that he is still with me and still happy. He turned 13 in January He even tried to chase a rabbit the other night! He might very well have caught him, if it weren’t for his ever-so-slow Mommy. Thanks for letting me share

    • http://www.dogcancerblog.com Demian Dressler

      Dear Teresa,
      thank you for this wonderful news. I am so very pleased to hear that your Moose has beaten the odds by such a huge margin!! WOW :)
      What steps have you taken? The readers would love to know.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Theresa Greco

    I used many of the methods that you suggested in your book–luteolin, parsley, and I did some research on the K-9 immunity and found the clinical studies validated the claims. (I am an RN). Unfortunately, the day that Dr. Tanner told me would came caught up to him yesterday–the tumor had burst and he was bleeding out. His red cell count was down to 14, he was no longer eating, he couldn’t take more than a few steps without having to lay down, and we decided that it was time to send him to The Bridge. Dr. Tanner said that it would be only a matter of days for him, and he really wasn’t “Moose” anymore. So I made that most difficult and terrible of decisions that we all have to make for our beloved canine companions, and I very tearfully, agonizingly, sent him to heaven.
    Rest in Peace, my Big White Fluffy Moose. Say “HI” to Tecumseh and Kiena, and save a place for Mommy–for heaven and earth and all of eternity with be utterly worthless without your angelic presences.

    Thank you, Dr. D., for providing me with the tools to give my Moose-buddy an extra 15 months of quality life here in the corporeal realm.

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Thinking of you Theresa-
      all my best,
      D

  • Wendy

    My dogs surgeon said that the average lifespan for a dog with lung cancer (carcinoma-primary tumor) is about one year after his lung lube is removed. Is this set in stone? I can not bare the thought of every day after his surgery thinking about how close it is getting to the end. Should I opt not to have the surgery and try other methods of fighting the cancer?

  • kippy

    hi…my Italian Greyhound, spindle, is suffering with a very large mass in his abdomen. he is very anemic (16%), and his ultra sound, according to the vet, reveals that his tumor is too large and complex for surgery. He has lost alot of weight. Today is the first day he turned away from food…although I was able to get him to eat some yogurt. He can get up on his own for water and can relieve himself on his own. He is very, very weak though. I want to let nature take its course, but not if it means he will greatly suffer. Is it ok to wait this out? Is there anything I can do to relieve any discomfort. If he starts to struggle breathing…is there anything I can do to help? I am sad beyond belief…Kippy

  • kippy

    Dear Dr. Dressler, My 12 yr old italian greyhound has a large mass/tumor on his abdomen. the first vet we went to said it was very large and we should consider putting him to sleep. The 2nd vet we went to did blood work that showed he is very anemic (12%). The 3rd vet we went to did an ultrasound and said the mass was too large to operate. So, we don’t know if it is cancer or not…but the vet believes it is. Our initial visit was 3 weeks ago. I came close to putting him to sleep, but have opted to let nature take its course. He is not in pain, is calm, breathing normally, drinks plenty of water, eats yogurt which I forfify with fish oil and echinecia and goldenseal. He also eats fresh chicken and turkey and I give him a multi vitiman for senior dogs which he loves. He is very, very thin and weak, but is calm. He hasn’t had a bowel movent in 2 days, and he struggles to have a bowel movement with no results. Is there anything more I can do for him? At this point I feel like I’m providing him with palliative care, and would like to give him things to bring about relief. I’m scared that the mass will burst and he will suffer. Also, is there anything I can give him to help him have a bowel movement? Thankyou so very much…Kippy

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Kippy,
      Sorry to hear this news. It sounds like you are in the “life quality care” arena. You should be thinking about Yunnan Baiyao, the dog cancer diet (free download), pain control (tramadol), fluids (your vet can show you how to administer them under the skin), apocaps, and the other steps for improving life quality in the Guide. You should find out if he is constipated or if he is passing less stool due to less appetite, or if he is straining to defecate because his colon is inflamed, or if there is less stool because of dietary changes. Certainly there are many stool softeners that can be used if there is constipation like lactulose, kristalose and miralax.
      Best
      Dr D

  • Diane & Tundra

    Dear Dr Dressler,
    My name is Diane and my big beautiful Great Dane, Tundra, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on Monday. Chest x-ray shows no masses in his lungs. His vet put him on 50mg Deramaxx 1xday and 200mg Tramadol 2xday. Yesterday I started him on Artemisinin, 200mg 2xday. His cancer (still hard to get that word out) is in his right front ankle. Now (past 2 days or so) he seems to be getting very weak in his back end. Is this a new issue arising? Is he too heavily medicated? Does he need that much pain medication?

    I’m beside myself. He has always acted like a puppy, even at 8 years old! To see him hobble is heart wrenching for me. I didn’t see this coming and feel as though I’ve been hit by a truck.

    Thank you for your time,
    Diane & Tundra

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Diane,
      I am very sorry to hear about this. Pain in the back end may or may not be cancer. Many times it is not. There are a variety reasons for it and you need to get it straitened out at your vet’s as unfortunately I cannot diagnose here.
      Hang in there, but get it taken care of.
      Best,
      D

  • Cathy

    My 12 1/2 year old dog was kenneled while we were away. The second day at the kennel the vet called and said our dog was very anemic and need to be xrayed to determine if she had a tumor. My dog is short of breathe and has pale gums. Other than these two symtoms, my dog has no other changes in her eating or sleeping habits. I have been reading the various articles and blogs about anemia and possible results. Are there other alternatives that can be exercised other than surgery. Can my dog be given iron supplements?

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Cathy,
      sorry to hear this news. In dogs, anemia is not a primary disease. The cause must be determined. Ultrasound is usually better than an X-ray for looking at the abdomen if we choose between them. Of course other blood work and a urine test was done?? Until the diagnosis is reached it is impossible to recommend a treatment since anemia is caused by so many different things in dogs..i am sorry..
      D

  • Barbara

    My almost 13 yr old maltese was just diagnosed with cutaneous t-cell lymphoma. She has sores and scaling pretty much all over. I have been told conventional chemo is not effective on this. She is on prednesone and pepcid at moment. The vet suggested palladia. What do you think?

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Barbara,
      Lomustine gives us about 3 months of improvement but most dogs improve. But, Accutane helps dogs 40-50% of the time (less than Lumostine) yet we get a much longer interval of control when they respond (around 8 months). I would also discuss the safflower oil- print out this abstract for your vet- click here. Finally, I would definitely be taking the other steps discussed in the Guide, like apoptogens and diet change, under veterinary supervision.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • http://www.dogcancerblog.com/how-long-does-my-dog-have/ Priscilla/Sarge

    My 7 year old bulldog Sarge just had 80% of two liver lobes removed from two baseball size tumors. He was just diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Liver Cancer. I was told this is very rare cancer and not real sure how to treat. Sarge has had diarrhea since early May and since the surgery May 20th, still loose (soup) stools. He does have appetite and wants togo on walks and play. I wanted to know how long he may have (weeks?) and when and how do I decide to put him down. I do not want my dog to suffer. He is my friend and companion and I will be lost without my guy but I will not let him suffer. Please help guide me through the last weeks or days as to what to expect and how long. Thank you

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Priscilla,
      I am so sorry to hear of your Sarge.
      Although I would like to be able to tell you when your dog will pass away, I cannot, just as an MD cannot tell for a human patient. But, I would start thinking as you are- considering and preparing yourself. There are ways to help his diarrhea like metronidazole, tylan, slippery elm, and treatments in the Guide that can help like glutamine and diet change. Have your vet supervise treatments. I hope you have him on the Dog Cancer Diet?? Immune support? Also I would suggest some of the coping exercises in the Guide that can help a lot with the emotional aspects of dealing with this and clarify the when’s and why’s. I would also read this blog post (click here).
      I hope this helps
      Dr D

  • Dayna for Abby

    HI Dr. Dressler,

    On June 1st I took my very young,1 1/2 year old German Shepherd, Abby, to the vet for a swelling below her right eye. The vet did a biopsy and found the entire posterior upper buccal maxillary area rubbery.

    The lab results showed a microscopic findings: Sarcoma, intermediate Grade with a prognosis of: Guarded. Comments from the Lab reports states the primary differential for this intermediate grade sarcoma is poorly productive osteosarcoma. Oncongenic stimuli for oral osteosarcomas are not known. Surgical excision, even radical, is the treatment of choice.

    My vet is not giving much advice other than advising that treatment is very costly. I suggested surgery, he replied that he would not do it and that I would have to seek the advice of a veterinary oncologist. My Abby, at this time, is very active and eating well.

    Would you please provide me with suggestions? Anything is helpful since I am just learning about this cancer.

    Thank you.

    Dayna and Abby Amsler

  • Russ

    Dr. Dressler,
    Lola was diagnosed with mast cell tumors approximately 7 yrs ago. She is now 12 or 13 yrs old.(she was a stray and I’ve had her 11 yrs). During this course of time I’ve removed between 60 and 70 tumors. Approximately four months ago she began having problems; difficult swallowing and stomach issues. A new bump was diagnosed as soft tissue sarcoma. Given the area, the oncologist did not feel it would spread but it would become larger. Since then, the turmor has disappeared. Her overall health, blood panels, ultra-sounds and recent x-rays, normal.
    When is it time to stop removing the tumors. She eats normal, has the energy of a younger dog, yet the mast cell tumor issue isn’t going away. I need advice.
    As sad as this may sound to you but I love Lola more than I have anything or anyone in my life. So I am trying to be the best companion to her.
    Thank you

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Russ,
      you should read the life quality analysis section and also decide where you stand in terms of the kind of guardian you are. If you have not read the decision-making portion of the Guide, I would do so. I would also contemplate Neoplasene as an option, along with Apocaps and the Dog Cancer Diet, all under veterinary supervision.
      Best,
      DR D

  • Catherine

    Hi Dr. Dressler,
    My 17 y/o dog is just diagnosed with probable hemangiosarcoma and confirmed IBD from her clinical presentation, blood test, x-rays, echo, endoscopy, fine needle biopsy result, and repeated ultrasounds. For 3 weeks she was started on prednisone and metronidazole for her IBD. Per repeated ultrasound the 2.4×3.2cm primary mass in the left lateral lobe liver doubled the size in 3 weeks with new cavitation shown after the biopsy. I was struggled to start the surgical intervention due to her age even if she had been in good health until the recent collapse this May. She recovered from the collapse but not eat as much as before due to her problem complicated by IBD (although she never had diarrhea prior to the collapse). I opt for chemo and she has gone through the first course well. I also have read your Dog Cancer Survival Guide and incorporated that into the cancer fighting battle. I have searched the web a lot and find little info regarding primary liver hemangiosarcoma. The question I have is do you have any cases with primary liver hemangiosarcoma without image evidence of met? Would surgical resection a better choice in the early stage of cancer developing in my dog’s case? Would prednisone for IBD interfere with Doxorubicin or simply promote the growth of HSA? greatly appreciated.

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Catherine, these tumors can increase in size a lot (and also sometimes shrink) depending on the amount of blood within the cavity of the tumor. Surgery is advisable if you want to deal with this as HSA in the liver and elsewhere can rupture and this by itself can be life threatening. I would not worry too much about the pred promoting the HSA. I would definitely consider the use of Apocaps (1/4 to 1/2 dose with the dox and a full meal if using pred) as well as yunnan baiyao for bleeding, all under veterinary guidance and contingent on liver function tests.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Catherine

    Dear Dr Dressler,
    Thank you for your reply. My 17 y/o dog Zai Zai received doxo but failed the treatment according to the post 2wk f/u UTZ which shows the primary liver HSA remains the same size in left lobe of liver but with new mass in right lobe of liver with other diffuse hypoechoic nodules. The vet didn’t see it anywhere else in the body at this time. The vet gave us options: 1) add cisplatin to doxo 2) try carbo, 3) try palladia as if treating liver cancer since there is no definitive biopsy 4) do nothing except care. We started a new chemo Carboplatin (even if you mentioned the rescue chemo is not as good as I just read) instead of doxo+cisplatin as this new one is our last hope even if it has less successful rate per stat. She has started Apocap with her cancer diet. It is her day three on Carbo and she seems to tolerate it well except a bit nausea and decreased appetite but Mirtazapine helps. I am not sure if I make a right decision for choosing a rescue agent instead of combo chemo. Is Apocaps a good chemosensitizer to Carbo too? What is your thoughts about treatment failure with chemo? again any reply greatly appreciated.

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Catherine,
      since you have started the carbo i think you should see how it works. Are you consulting with an oncologist? I would suggest this if not as they do chemo all day and can tailor the chemo to the dog pretty effectively. There have been no studies on carbo with the apoptogens in apocaps, although as you know the cisplatin and carbo are closely related.
      I hope this helps-
      D

  • Andrew

    Dear Dr. Dressler,
    Four months ago my beloved 8-year-old French Bulldog was diagnosed with a high-low maxillary fibrosarcoma. Even before I brought her to the vet (who in turn referred me to an oncologist), I knew something was seriously wrong. I’d been brushing my Frenchie’s teeth from the time she was a puppy and therefore familiar with her oral cavity… I noticed a gradual swelling in the right maxillary region. Right off the bat I was told that surgery was out of the question based on the tumor characteristics; the benefits of radiation, I was told, amounted to an average of 4 months progression-free survival. I explored cryoablative surgery, but assessment ruled her out as an “ideal candidate.” I explored a chemo-embolization procedure — and she was actually anesthetized in preparation for it — but the procedure was aborted based on the relevant blood vessels being too small. Cyberknife might have yielded some benefit, but I decided that if high-low’s are generally resistant to radiotherapy, that technique would not be a magic bullet. I’ve had her on a homemade high-protein/low carb diet and put her on Apocaps and recently prednisone which my vet recommended. The prednisone has been VERY helpful, but I’m afraid the tumor is starting to affect her breathing (her right nostril is virtually closed due to tumor growth). As a Frenchie she already has breathing issues… so how cruel is that! This tumor is SO frustrating, because aside from the disfigurement and asymetry in her face, she’s her happy playful self. But I know it’s only a matter of time. Now on to my question, in your experience, what, if anything can be done about a histologically low grade/biologically high grade fibrosarcoma?? Is there anything that could help her aside from what I’m we’re already doing for her? And doctor, one last thing. Is it at all possible that the weekly teeth brushing precipitated the development of this cancer? I know how illogical that sounds, but the fact that I took such good care of her teeth all those years, and then she went on to develop a tumor so uncharacteristic of her breed… it’s just a bitter irony that I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life. Why THERE? Why her? Thank you!!

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Andrew,
      I am so sorry to hear about this. I am sure you have read the Guide? After this, I would consider adding Neoplasene topically, or inhaled injectable through a vaporizor, and oral, as well as oral artemisinin. All should be done with veterinary supervision. I would also add in some beta glucans (K-9 immunity, non-flavored formulation).
      best,
      Dr D

  • Catherine

    Hi Dr. Dressler,
    Thanks for your prompt reply. Yes my dog has been seen by oncologist since the collapse in May and these advices were provided by the oncologist. It’s been one week since starting Carboplatin after failing doxo. My dog’s RBC has been slowly dropping (Hct=20) and now with microcytic anemia ( it was anemia but with normocytic and normochromic) and she was given iron shot today and the oncologist may start her on some SC injection to stimulate RBC production. I am guessing that the HSA in liver is taking up too much of blood and iron. Do I have to be very careful with some blood thinning supplements and diet such as ginger, krill oil, and digestive enzymes as mentioned in your guide? As you mentioned previously to decrease Apocaps with prednisone, now she is switched to budesonide 2mg QD for her IBD which shows improvement now, does the same decreased dosage of Apocaps apply to budesonide 2mg?
    And does famotidine have the same anticancr effect as cimentidine? Thanks very much!

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Catherine,
      I would not worry all that much with the ginger and krill, but you need to check with your vet. Yes, drop the dose of Apocaps with budesonide (use together under veterinary supervision. No famotidine does not have the same effects seen in the “test tubes” as cimetidine.
      Best
      D

  • Christy Steil

    Dear Dr. Dressler,
    My beautiful Bison frise was diagnoised today after a sonagram of neoplasia of the spleen liver and kidneys, the vet thinks the cancer may have spread to the brain as he had a ceasure two weeks ago, last week after the xray I jumpted on your website and I have been feeding Teddy your cancer diet and started him on 4000mg of Turmeric/curcumin 1000mg fish oil and garlick oil. I am desprate to help him he is only 10years old can you suggest anything else that might extend his life? He is still active and happy and is not in any pain. I feed him three times a day as he is starving and has gone from 19lbs to 13lbs. Please help us! what else can you suggest? am I giving him the right amoumt of Turmeric fish oil etc? I am so desprate please let me know if there is more I can do.
    Thank You

    Christy & Teddy Steil

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Christy,
      It seems that you are making some guesses about the supplements to use. Have you read the Guide? Are you using all of your available conventional options? No chemo? How about appetite stimulants (mirtazipine, cerenia, etc)? Are you using apoptogens? Immune support? I would not be giving garlic oil as we don’t know the amount of the actives that can cause hemolytic anemia. A little garlic is okay in the recipe as you see. You can also search this blog by using the search bar on the upper right.
      I would start by focusing there-
      Hope this helps
      Best
      D

  • Catherine

    Dear Dr. Dressler,
    Thank you for the strong article “Guardian v.s. lover in dog cancer”. I agree sometimes love, hope, and pray aren’t enough if there is no solid action taken to fight the actual enemy. And I think TIME is the most critical part in the cancer fighting process. My 17 y/o dog dx’d with possible HSA in the liver just left me after 2 months and 10 days of battle. My dog had gone thru chemo with doxo and later carbo and was started with cancer diet right away and full spectrum approaches as soon as available. However her IBD caused by cancer and decreased appetite from chemo made her very picky to cancer diet and I had to make it to puree to feed her with syringes when she refused healthy food. Her cancer was too aggressive and resistant to be suppressed and eventually it took her life this past Monday even if only by local invasion in the liver without signs of metastasis per close follow up UTZs. I witnessed her dying half way rushing into ER. That was fast. I regret that I didn’t insist on surgery which was not preferred per vets due to her age. I always though my dog would die of normal aging since she was healthy until the collapse. I wish I would have read your guide earlier in my dog’s senior life to earn knowledge of cancer and to prepare for the unknown. Thank you.

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Catherine,
      I am so sorry to hear about this. Thinking of you during this time of departures.
      All my best
      Dr D

  • Catherine

    It has been a week since my girl left me but it feels like yesterday. On the day she was dying, she was still getting up drinking, wandering in the backyard and just accidentally peeing in her bed which she rarely did. I am looking at all the supplements left behind with tears, tears, and tears endlessly. We lost the battle. I know there is no cure for cancer but an end for life but we fought for it. People say my girl was so much luckier than other stray dogs and she had a long life but for me there is no comparison. She was, is , and will be my girl. I am hoping there will be a cure for HSA and all other kinds of cancer someday, in the near future.

  • http://www.dogcancerblog.com kara

    Hello doctor

    My dog has a tumor we took her to a vet they said it was just a fatty tumor, but i read on this website that most fatty tumors are soft and feels like jello. My dogs tumor feels hard and stiff and you cant move around under the skin. Is it really a fatty tumor? Or something else??

  • Amanda D

    Thank you Dr. D What great information.

    CATHERINE – if your still reading this site please email me on amanda23@bigpond.net.au.

    Would love to talk to you about your experience as my dog is going through the same thing.

  • Nick

    Hi Dr. Dressler,
    Our 5 yr old English Bulldog Bear just got diagnosed with low grade lymphoma of the duodenum. He has lost a lot of weight (17 pds) since the first week of May. He was 59 pds and now is 42pds. He eats great for us and likes to go on walks and play with his toys still. Our vet says the weightloss is significant b/c it is a intestinal cancer and he is having malabsorption b/c of it. He has soft stools all the time. What can we do to help his stools get back to normal? I have started to cook for him giving lean beef and vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) with omega 3′s, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and a multivitamin With his situation being so young and the cancer being low grade would you do chemo treatment if it was your dog?

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Nick
      I am concerned about a couple of things. First, the problem is not his loose stools, it is the cancer cells in his body causing the loose stools. I am worried that we have perhaps not given chemotherapy the consideration it is due? In the Guide there is an extensive discussion of treatment plan analysis…might be worth checking out for you. Here we examine normal life expectancy and gained life expectancy from treatment. Your Bear is much younger than his normal life expectancy. Depending on the classification of the lymphoma, median life expectancy with chemo might be 10, 11, or more months, depending on what papers you read, and most will respond to the chemo. This will bring him closer to his normal life expectancy. If he were past his normal life expectancy, you might be more prone to avoid chemo.
      Also, I am wondering about the supplement selection. There are a host of other supplements that have a bit more merit specific for cancer that you might be checking into that have undergone extensive analysis and review. These include the apoptogens, beta glucans, modified citrus pectin, and many others. I would get an oncologist involved and also take some time to read the Guide- it will help this path you and Bear are on.
      Best,
      Dr D

  • Dan

    Are you serious doctor???? Pretty heartless honestly i’ll highly do not recomm.
    your site

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Dan,
      yes, I am. On the contrary, my heart is very much in place. Cancer, on the other hand, is heartless. However, in spite of the numbers that are published for survival times, there is much that can be done to help, in many cases beating these numbers and living through this experience in a way that holds no regrets for our selves or for our loved dogs.
      D

  • Chris

    To Dan –

    Are YOU serious? I’d love to hear you enumerate some of your “points” regarding why Dr. Dressler is heartless. As he notes in his response, there is much that can be done and, as someone who’s pup has been diagnosed with bladder TCC, I want to hear about any and all options. Sure, I may decide that options provided may not be what I want, and I may even think that some of them are ridiculous, but I want to know about them. Anything that may give me some hope is something I want to hear about.

    Most of what I’ve read in Dr. Dressler’s book regarding diet and supplements as agressive responses to fighting cancer seem as valid to me as most of the “traditional” therapies. The most successful therapy for bladder TCC is piroxicam combined with mitoxantrone chemotherapy. And the success rate for this protocol is approximately 35% – in other words, a roughly two in three chance that it WON’T have any effect which, unfortunately for my little girl, turned out to be the case. So, now, having found Dr. Dressler’s book later than I would have wished, I’m working on what it will take to get her on his diet and supplement program. Even if it doesn’t have any effect, Dan, can you tell me how his information is more, “heartless,” than traditional vets and oncologists who will only consider therapies that, even when successful, carry the risk of side effects that can make the dog’s quality of life such that the cure is as bad as, or worse than, the remedy?

    On another blog entry, one of the commenters indicates in her response that her vet won’t consider alternative therapies because he doesn’t want to give her, “false hope.” One of the things I’ve learned is that ANY hope, and ANY action, that gives me the chance to fight for my little girl, is one that I’m going to try. Not only does it help me focus on something positive, it keeps my mind off of the sorrow that I will inevitably have to face, even if it’s just for a short time.

    Sadly, I’m sure you won’t see this response to your comment, since you likely won’t be back to this site. And that’s fine. That’s your choice, But for me, I’m choosing to learn, to fight, and to hope, and that means searching with an open mind. No, I won’t be looking into the power of crystals, or “miracle” cures, but since these aren’t the things that Dr. Dressler is promoting, and since he also provides clear medical rationale and/or statistics around the therapies he does promote, his guidance doesn’t fall under snake oil salesmanship, but under reasoned investigation.

    It sounds like you’ve choosen to give up. I’m sorry for you in that regard, but angry as well that you seem to think that the rest of us should give up as well. But if I’m wrong, and you do see this, again, please feel free to tell the rest of us why we should give up on hope for our loved ones. I suspect, though, that the only person you’ll convince to do so will be yourself.

    To Dr. Dressler – sorry for the rant, and kudos to you for your response. But I actually took his criticism as a jab at all of us, not just yourself, and as I said, I’m angry about that, and wanted to let him know that.

  • Sarah

    Dr. Dressler,
    My baby chopper 10 year old bulldog was diagnosed with lymphoma 2 weeks ago monday. He showed no signs other then a mild cough after he would play and his left submandibular lymph node with swelling. We took him to our vet and after blood work and aspirate of lymph node it came back that he had lymphoma. She immediately sent us to a oncologist in los angeles where they recommended the Wisconsin protocol. They stated that dogs do not have the side effects like people do when receiving CA treatment but that is hard for me to believe. We started him on Pred (they wanted 40mg) and he is 39 lbs. I did not feel comfortable with this dose as I know the side effects of pred. I feel the pred would kill him before the cancer would. So he is on 10mg tapering dose. He has been on for about a week. I am also giving him a fish oil. I have done some research on the k9 immunity and am considering ordering it.
    My husband and I decided against the chemo. He seems to be doing great, eating great, playing, drinking. No problems besides mild fatigue but that isnt anything out of the ordinary for him, 10 year old lazy bulldog!!

    One question I do have, is it possible that a mistake could have been made on the cytology report? His labs are perfect! They said so perfect that better then a puppy! Would any of these values be elevated with lymphoma? No anemia, lymphocytes normal, everything normal! Chest xray done, nothing significant however I dont think it is a good quality xray. I have noticed that in last couple days the other lymph node has swelled up. But no other in his body. They wanted to do u/s and bone marrow biopsy etc, but that wouldnt change the course of plan or treatment. Only predict his outcome.
    This has been a horrible last two weeks. He has bee the light of our lives for 10 years. We have 3 bulldogs and cant imagine life without them! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Sarah, this is a pretty open ended question and the answer could fill a book..(actually it has, the Guide!)
      I wonder whether you have the data on the use of pred for lymphoma? The suppression only lasts for months usually, and then the cancer gets resistant. Don’t be fooled. If you are wondering about the diagnsosis, get a copy of the path report and get a second opinion.
      No, the lab work does not necessarily change with early lympho.
      After you are satisfied the diagnosis is correct, I might reconsider the chemo to be honest. Get the data you need- 80% of dogs respond, median life expectancy with the chemo is around 10-12 months or more depending on who you read. Chemo side effects do happen but they are rarer than in people.
      I would also remind you about the apoptogens, immune support (like the beta glucans in K-9 immunity, among others), higher than normal doses of omega 3′s, melatonin, and the other strategies in the Guide. There is also a section on treatment plan analysis that I think might help you guys a lot.
      Hope this helps,
      D

  • http://www.twinheartphoto.com Diane

    Hi,
    My cattle dog cross, Suki, 15 1/2 years, became violently ill in Jan and was subsequently diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. At that point, she had a very large splenic tumour.

    I brought her home with anti-nausea meds and some pain meds, in case, expecting her to die within weeks. I had no intention of subjecting her to a splenectomy at her age. And she was diagnosed 2 days before my husband’s 5 hour surgery for colon cancer and all the subsequent, iatrogenic complications and surgery it entailed. We said no to chemo for my husband (so little to no benefit with a great deal of horrendous and often permanent side effects).

    So I had little time and energy to change a whole lot for her. I didn’t change her diet (already a very good quality feed) or add supplements.

    Long story short, although I suspect she’s had a few bleeds, 7 1/2 months later, she is a robust, happy, full of energy dog with little of the normal “old dog” problems even (except for hearing and sight).

    I have 2 friends who also had dogs with the same disease, diagnosed about the same time, one who did surgery and chemo, and one who used all alternative practices, both of whose dogs have died.

    Chemo is extremely expensive, very stressful for dog and person and highly toxic. Yet, for dogs it supposedly gives a few months. At what cost? And why is this being encouraged? Why has the cancer culture gotten to this extent; where we don’t even question if quality of life is not more important than lengthening it (possibly, although I wonder) by a fraction of a year.

    I’d rather see us looking more into why this is happening– perhaps over-vaccination, using vaccines with toxins, people using pesticides, some flea products, feed and so on.

    And we need to allow people to use their own judgement and not be guilted into doing something for their dog that their “gut” warns against.

    I’m all for doing what we can, in the way of food and supplements. But when we add poisons to their system, with very little evidence of success and much evidence of harm (we have to include the stress to the body the stress to their psyche [going to the vet], and the stress to their humans– both emotionally and financially), then one has to wonder if it isn’t the drug companies who are the ones who’ll do well.

  • Jennifer

    Just looking for any advice. My 11 y/o Pomeranian (Gizmo) was ok one day and violently sick the next. He started vomiting in the middle of the night and I rushed him to the vet the next morning. His labs were awful, anemic, hyperglycemic, high WBC, etc… Diag him with pancreatitis and a tumor on either the spleen, liver, or pancreas…the dr was not certain exactly where it was. He has been at the vet for two days and is responding to the treatment. No more vomiting and scarfed down the small amount of food the dr gave him. The vet said Gizmo probably has three months and of course I am devastated. Please give me any advice on how to make the best of his time with our family.

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Jennifer,
      one of the first steps is getting a biopsy to find out what type of cancer you are looking at. This may be easiest with either an ultrasound guided biopsy or an exploratory. I would definitely start to read the Guide so you can start getting ready now. The different types of cancer all have different outcomes, and there is data in the book on the different common cancers and their life expectancies. 3 months is a number that is hard to say without this more specific information to be honest with you.
      Best
      D

  • Chrissy

    My 10 yr. old pitbull was just diagnosed with a tumor on his spleen. His belly is filling with fluid from it. I just dont feel the vet. gave me more options besides surgery and chemo. I dont want to put him through all of the stress of surgery and chemo when they gave him 6 months with and without surgery. I was wondering if he should be on some kind of painkiller and if its possible to drain the fluid.I just feel they didnt give me any idea on what to do so I just feel helpless right now. I dont want him to be in pain or suffer.Any idea on what I should do to make him as comfortable as possible?

    • http://DogCancerBlog.com DemianDressler

      Dear Chrissy,
      so sorry to hear about your Pit. Yes, the fluid can be drained with a procedure called therapeutic abdominocentesis. We also don’t know the type of cancer (you need a biopsy which might be obtained with a non-invasive fine needle aspirate with ultrasound guidance). Bear in mind the fluid may return after drainage. Chemo might help, you know, and the life expectancy may be different that what is stated. You should be considering diet, apocaps, beta glucans like K-9 immunity, yunnan baiyao, modified citrus pectin, and daily efforts to boost your boy’s life quality. These are all discussed in the Guide and to some extent in this blog. Pain control can be helped with Tramadol plus gabapentin plus or minus metacam, depending on well being of kidney and liver and intestine…
      I hope this helps
      D

  • Chrissy

    His red blood cell count was at 24 but they said his body is fighting because he was regenerating the cells. His liver, heart and everything else is fine.

  • Maria

    Hi Dr.
    I just found your site and plan to buy your book. My dog has TCC and just had a large portion of his bladder removed today because of the cancer. I’m afraid now that maybe I did the wrong thing even though I was trying to help him. Though I’m glad most of the cancer is out, there was an area near the ureter that may be more cancer cells that they couldn’t remove. I’m hoping he won’t be too uncomfortable with less bladder now. And I am afraid that the cells that may be cancer may grow fast. They are sending samples to the lab to find out what is going on. I am also very afraid that uroabdomen may occur, in fact I am terrified about this complication and didn’t know about it until after surgery. My boy Max is staying overnight for one, maybe 2 nights. I’m thinking 2 might be best to keep him safe. How common is uroabdomen after bladder surgery. I could not find this info on the web. I have been an emotional mess for days now and I know I shouldn’t cry around my Max too much because it upsets him too, so I try to do this on my own instead. I downloaded your cancer diet and hope that can help him too. Thanks so much, you seem like a very compassionate person.

    Dr. I forgot to mention that Max was on piroxicam for one week but he could not tolerate it and he vomited a lot. He was taken off it and we did surgery a few days later. I was told there were other milder NSAIDs that may be given that may help him if necessary.
    Maria

  • Ann M

    19 yrs ago I had an American eskimo with inoperable TCC of the bladder in Januay. That was before the discovery that piroxicam could help with TCC. We tried chemo. The first one stopped the growth, but didn’t shrink it. After 3 treaments we tried another that Muffet did not tolerate well and she developed acute renal failure. After she recovered from that we tried a third chemo and that seemed to help, tho her kidneys were somewhat damaged and we almost lost her that first Fall. We felt she could not handl any more chemo, but we opted to give her subcu fluids to help with her kidney function. After a couple of month she developed cellulitis from the fuids so we stopped those to allow healing. Much to our surprise her creat/bun were the same with and without the fluids. Muffet lived till the following Feb -almost 26 months with bladder cancer! Having he vaccinated the December before her death may have cased her death due to compromisng her immunity. Other than antibiotics for a couple of scary, bloody bladded infections, Muffet lived that last year on no chemo! It was close a few times, but we never gave up and neiher did she! There were more complications which included the need to stimulate her bone marrow to make red cells as that hormone production in her kidneys had been damaged. We lost her when the cancer went to her shoulder bone at age 12. We alo had another dog with TCC that lived 17 months with it. And we know so much more that we did back then. So what I am saying is to not give up -as long as your dog in comfortable and happy keep fighting. We just lost a beautiful dog from stomach cancer and that was far worse and there seemed little we could do to stop it.

    • Demian Dressler

      Thanks for your helpful input Ann
      Best
      Dr D

  • Kellygirl

    This is quite an interesting discussion and a question at the foremost of any owner’s mind having to deal with a pet with the big C. Dr. D, you give a good reminder to just enjoy each quality day you have with your pet. My 10 y.o. golden retriever Bailey (who looks just like the one in the picture) was diagnosed with osteosarcoma just about 4 months ago. I chose to have surgery to amputate his right hind leg, but decided against chemotherapy. I was grateful to stumble upon your books after not quite finding what I was looking for in terms of alternative treatments, and I shared that information with my vet, who has been very supportive of how I am caring for Bailey. I am homecooking his diet similar to what you recommend but am using the BalanceIT supplement instead of all the individual nutrients in your recipe and others I’ve found. I am doing cycles of EGCG and antioxidants (EGCG, turmeric, fresh garlic, parsley)and then cycles of artemisinin, with lots of fish oil through both cycles along with MSM, Prozyme, Rimadyl, and an herbal supplement called Whole Body Defense with echinacea, polysaccharides, maitake, and a couple other ingredients. Bailey has adapted real well now without his leg, and he is eating well and his happy self. I am grateful for every happy day that Bailey has, but when you speak of breaking the curve, in my mind I still want to fight in the hopes that we may have more years together rather than more months. I know the reality is grim, and this is your life’s work, so I understand your perspective. But there are a few positive endings where dogs really do break that curve. So I feel great in the moment about how my dog is doing, but I will feel better still if I see him thriving like this in 3 more months, 6 more months. This whole experience amounts to having to make the best decisions given a bunch of terrible choices. And especially for those second-guessing themselves, there are no bad decisions. It’s a matter of making the best choices for your dog and for what you are capable of sustaining. Initially, it’s tough when you are trying to figure out what to do, but I reached a point of feeling great peace with my decisions, and I have no regrets and will not have any. Thank you so much Dr. Dressler for sharing this vital information with us. I had the first edition book downloaded but just ordered a print version of the update to see if there is additional information to ponder.

  • Krysten Elbers

    We just removed a lump from my 13-year old Italian greyhound which had grown very quickly over the last 8 weeks. The lab results came back positive for a high grade, high mytotic rate malenoma. Because we had biopsied other lumps a few months ago and done chest xrays, which were clear, and her recent chest xrays show her lungs are still clear, no lymph node swelling yet, etc. We’ve seen the oncologist and are weighing chemotherapy vs the melanoma vaccine.

    My question is, is the life expectancy greater with chemo or the vaccine? We are leaning toward the vaccine because I think she’ll tolerate it better, and my online research appears to show that the vaccine has an edge over chemo, but I have not asked a veterinary professional yet.

    Thank you so much.

  • Michele

    Dr Dressler,
    My 8 yr old was brought to the ER last Thurs night and found free fluid in his abdomin. The following morning, he colapsed and had to undergo emergency spleen removal. It came back hemangiosarcoma. In the time before we knew he developed a heart ahrythmias and now possible anemia. How do we know if this is all linked to the cancer in the spleen, and what chances to we have to fight all this off and get him well enought to consider the chemo treatment.

    • Demian Dressler

      Dear Michelle,
      in medicine we usually follow the principle where if a single disease can explain everything, we usually target it without looking for a host of other diseases. This does not mean that multiple diseases are not possible, it simply means that most commonly if the single disease fits with all the signs, it most commonly will be the single disease. In this case everything you describe fits with HSA. I would venture to say that most dogs will rebound with appropriate care in these circumstances (more than half for sure) adequately enough to approach further treatment steps.
      Best
      D

  • Michele

    Sorry, I should mention he’s an 8 yr old Golden Retriever. He’s been very weak this last week and doesnt’ want to eat much at all. The blood test tomorow will most likley reveal the anemia and I’m guessing the suggestion for the transfusion. I just don’t know what success rate we are looking at if we go forward with the vet’s advice. .

  • Rebecca Riley

    Hi,

    I just adopted a rescue dog who is 14 had testicular cancer but also a heart murmer so cannot have his testicles removed. The vet has advised to keep him happy for as long as he is comfortable. So far he is showing no symptoms other than enlarged testicles. How long on average would a dog survive with untreated testicular cancer?

    I just want some rough idea of how long he may have

    Rebecca

  • byron

    my dog was diagnosed with sguamos cell carcinoma prostate cancer in feb 2011 it is now november he is taking neoplasene and thuja along with more antioxidents , he started with 15 mg of prednisone now he is down to .25 mg is this good he is healthier than he ever was, we also changed his way of eating now he eats a no grain diet, lots of fish and chicken and vegtables. But will his kidneys shut down next if his caalcium goes up that means the cancer isnt gone yet am I right?

  • http://www.dogcancerblog.com valerie

    hi dr.,
    i am afraid that my 7year old shitzu might have cancer in his testicles. how can you tell?

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Valerie
      cancer is diagnosed by your vet by submitting a specimen of the growth to a pathology lab- please see your vet and get this checked…
      thanks!
      D

  • k reynolds

    Hi Dr D
    I have a 12 yr old golden one of the loves of my life that was just diagnosed with a tumor in her bladder. I have done a lot of research in reguards to it and am wondering if it is safe to give her both milk thistle and graviola extract together and if so what are the dosage recomendations?? Thanks

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear K
      Sorry to hear this about your Golden. :(
      Luckily for you tens of thousands of hours of supplement research has been done for you right here…
      First:
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/graviola-not-recommended-for-dog-cancer/
      Second, milk thistle is fine but will do very little. If you would like to use supplements, you should be reaching for things like apoptogens, neoplasene, beta glucans, etc. This area is covered in detail in the Guide and should be read, along with an extensive section on supplements that were excluded or ranked lower in priority. Please be sure to have your vet involved in your treatment decisions too.
      All my best
      D

  • rebecca

    Hi Dr D,

    I left a comment a few months back but didn’t get a response so thought i’d try again. I adopted a 14yr old dog with testicular cancer and a heart murmer so he cannot be castrated. We have been told to keep him happy as long as he has, I am just wondering roughly how long a dog would live with testicular cancer if untreated…he has no sypmtoms so far asdie from a very enlarged hard testicle.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Rebecca
      hard to answer as there are different cancers that occur in this location and they have different behaviors, I am sorry, need biopsy or fine needle aspirate results
      D

  • marlon

    i have a chihuahua aprox 10yrsold , last wek i noticed he was haveing trouble urinating and bowl movements loss of apititate . o i took him to a local vet near my home . he wanted to put hinm to sleep one thing im total aganist, anyways without doing any blood tests or any othr tests i explain all things i noticed and doctor says he thinks dog has tesicular tumor or maybe spread to spine, beacause one testicle was bigger then othr at time when i brought hm in, size of a large marble , doctor put him on prednisone 5mg and also cefpodoxime tabs 100 mg , my question is aftr 2 days he became active again what i mean walking eating good apitate drinking . now aftr 5 days i notice he has one big testicle size of a jawbreaker and othr is size a small pea . is thir something i can do to relive the pain or decrease the testicle for him so he can be in comfort please advise me now its only 6days later and i have decresd the predesone tab 5mg to once a a day, and we noticed our dog testicle to be very enlarged size of a large ball or jaw breaker , as well penis enlarged , doctor told us to go back to 2 predesone a day 5mg eachx2 = 10mg my dog is only 4 pounds aprox , we as well useing cold compress at least every othr hour to sooth him in that area apetite is good going to urinate is ok , but still not lifting legs only squating like female does and he is a male . is this a safe treatment how long of a life we have with him. to make him comtable , is thir a way to maybe remove is only testicle at this point or are we only fighting fathr time , dr never took blood work when 1st seen and he is a rescue dog that we got wover a year ago aftr we seen people trow him on to a freway along with his brothr we mended him thenm and so far has gave us best love in the yr we have him. can people advise what to do as far as i know never neuterd never teeth taken care of all rotted out except 4 and thir decay as well , we been feeding him pedigree wet food and bountiful dry soft . most recent when he has not apitate we had pieces of boiled chicken , thanks god bless to all we dnt have much funds to furthr the enever but just asking quilty time with him and any sugestions , thanks mr m.h.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Marion
      I would get this testicle removed and biopsied. This will answer many of the questions you post. Please discuss this with your vet.
      Best
      Dr D

  • Johanna

    My 12-13 year old intact old Chow was diagnosed with possible prostrate cancer and or TCC back in June of 2011. He has been on piroxicam since June and I noticed today 02-03-12 hat he has difficulty getting up and walking, mostly his hind legs are not supporting him. I did not take him to the vet today because I felt that it was a passing thing. Can someone tell me if you have had any any similar experiences ? Should I put him down? I am truly heart broken

    Thank you

  • Marian

    I have an 8year black lab who was diagnosed with SCC on a toe after 4months of inefficient treatments, she had a surgery on 31st jan in where only the 2nd phalanx of the fifth digit in rear leg was amputated and on monday she’s schedule to amputate the rest of the digit, the vet suggested to take chest x rays and they came up clean. The lymphnode looks enlarged and it will be aspirated as well but my fear is that we find malignant cells there, if we do what can we do, and what’s the survival rate with and without amputation of limb in case it has methastasized to the regional lymphnode. What are the possible treatments for SCC and what’s the best thing we can do in order she doesn’t suffer?

    Thanks

  • Ashley

    I just found out today that my dog has cancer and they said that she’s had it for a pretty long time and I’m very sad and I wish I could do something but I don’t have any extra money… And she had babies but only one lived does that mean that the babie could have cancer too??? Pleas Help

  • didiblue52

    I thought I might add some interesting info on my Papillion. Flash will be 9 in July. Last October he was diagnosed through exploratory surgery with lymphoma. It was seen on many of his organs and confirmed with biopsy. We chose to sew him up and bring him home for what ever time remained.
    Our Internal Med Vet put him on Prednisone daily, Leukeran once a week and a high fat/protein food. It is now the end of May and we still have our little guy. He gives no sign of the horrible symptoms he had in October. One never knows…….

  • MELISSA SMITH

    My dog Snow tcell lympoma with a mass near his chest he was on chemo and pred. for 6 months.Within 4 months on chemo he got megaespogas and asprition pnunomina can the chemo cause this?Also after the 6 month he got very sick for two days he wouldnt eat or drink and just threw up yellow bile.I took him to the er they gave fluids and antibiotic but nothing was working I was told the best option was to put him to sleep .I feel awful like maybe there was something else I could have done he was only 9 years old and he was my life.

  • Theresa Gargan

    My 10 year old Jack Russell, Moses, has both bladder cancer and an enlarged heart. He was diagnosed with cancer in February of 2011 and has been on Metacam. In January of 2012 he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart and was started on enalapril, pimobendan and disal. A week ago he began to have labored breathing and his heart rate was 240. After doing an EKG the vet added spironolactone and diltiazem to his current meds. I had cut way back on his metacam as it was irritating his stomach. Since starting the new meds his abdomen is very swollen and he is drinking all of the time. He is trying to urinate but with the bladder cancer cannot keep ahead of the water. Should I limit his water intake to make up for the fact that he cannot urinate as well? I know I cannot save my boy but I do want him to be comfortable and have a quality of life. Your thoughts would be much appreciated.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Theresa,
      this is a patient cardiac management question and I need to refer you to your vet ASAP. Do not restrict water as Moses is on diuretics which dehydrate him. You likely will be starting spironolactone and possibly rutin, but I am not sure as I don’t know the cause of the swollen stomach. I hope this helps
      Best
      Dr D

  • Marlena

    Thank you for your post Dr. D, my 6 year old Siberian Husky Kodiak was diagnosed with stomach cancer 2 days ago. My vet told me it is not time to put him down yet, That he still has a little bit of quiality life left I overcome with intense sadness and grief, and hating myself for every minute I didn’t spend with him because I went off to the beach or the mall or whatever, and left him home with my other dog, or wishing I had done this or that differently. Last night he was sleeping on my kitchen fllor, ad I just got a blanket and pillow and laid on the floor next to him and cried myself to sleep, with him in my arms. But he had a wonderful day today..He ate well,, he ate lots actually, he barked, he played ball, he was happy. I guess I should be thankful that I have time with him, to cherish him, and say goodbye on my own terms. Each day is a gift, the lessons he taught me in 4 years will certainly last a whole lifetime, sometimes you don’t realize what you have till it’s gone, I get to let mine know how much hes loved for a little longer. I just wish I knew how to be as brave as he is.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Thinking of you
      Dr D

  • Bruinjon

    Its heartbreaking to read all of these messages from people concerning their pet. We lost a wonderful dog to kidney disease two years ago, and she far outlived other dogs with the same disease. However, I realize that it is a pure crap shoot; diet, her (dog) will to live, etc., all played a part. Now my beautiful Siberian Husky has just been biopsies for lumps popping up all over her body. The vet has already noted malignant looking cells, so I am not hopeful. I love this dog so much! I’ve only had her two years, having rescued her for euthanasia and curing her of heart worm. She deserves better, and I know she is a tough dog and a fighter. That said, I have to consider her quality of life, and ask myself if I’m doing it (prolonging her life) for her or for myself. Everyone has a right to their opinion, so I will state mine here. I realize that the cancer will kill her, and I realize that soon she will be suffering. As much as I never want her to go, no amount of diet or medicine will save her. I am just so happy she got to experience the last few years of her life on her terms. Good luck to all of you, I hope you make decisions that are best for you pet and you.

  • Fae

    My little dog has bladder cancer & she can no longer urinate. Could you tell me how much longer she can live without urinating. You cannot even look at her & tell she is sick.

  • kater

    My dog that is 11.5 yr. in the last 2 weeks has gone completely blind. The vet said that the retinas are fine and no cataracts. He suspects that he has a brain tumor. I thought he had doggie Alzheimers but this makes sense. I decided with the vet to take it day by day, and at times he seems so full of life, but the last week at night he has been very restless panting very hard. He has started having accidents. About once a week in the middle of the night he wakes me up crying and trying to stand but can’t them after about 30minutes gets up and walks fine. I just don’t know what to do. Any advice would be appreciated.

  • Robbie

    I just found out three days ago that Munson, my 9 yr. old male English Bulldog, has hemangiosarcoma and that surgery and/or chemotherapy are not realistic treatments due to the advanced stage of the cancer. My vet informed me he has only a few weeks to live. I have been searching websites to understand cancers in dogs and found this one. I realize that I am not alone in my suffering. From reading a lot of the stories here, a lot of people have to endure the same grief as I am going through right now. Like one poster mentioned, I am also grateful that I have a little time left to cherish him and realize that each day left is a gift. Good luck to each and everyone out there who has an animal w/ cancer.

  • Mollys mum

    Hello,
    I have never used one of these forums before, but i am hoping someone who has been in my position can help. My Maltese schitzu has just been diagnosed with a huge tumour in her left lung and the tumour is bleeding into her lung and tummy, vet actually showed us a tube full of blood that they drained. She is seeing a specialist soon however, i want to know if anyone has ever been in the position of having treatment or not with a dog like mine and what the outcome was. She is tired all the time and coughs so much she tires just from walking down the hall way…… Please help!
    Thank you… One very worried mummy

  • Linda

    My white boxer Jessie who is an angel was brought to the vets for a cough and she spit up a little blood once. We left the office after the xray with Vet sadly telling me she has a big tumor pressing on her lung. My son and I are so upset. I did some research on an over the counter drug when I googled how to shrink tumors in boxers or dogs. They said get benadryl 25 ml and tagamet 200mg give twice a day if there is a tumor and once a day to prevent one. The xrays the woman showed the tumor shrunk in three months. I gave it to her last night and her breathing in one day was so bad. She is 9 and they do not recomend surgury. I dont know what to do. They didnt give me prednisone or pain meds and said to try to enjoy the next few weeks and were sincere. During the day she still wants to walk to the beach, eat, play and then at night is tired and breathing heavy. She is like a daughter to me as my son is 21 in his last yr in college. I think during a physical especially for a boxer an xray should be suggested. I may have had time to catch this. When I went in for her last physical I asked the doctor if they fealt any lumps and that I was worried she could get cancer. Im not a vet—instead the vet said it was just fatty tissue. I know my finances are low but why would they say lets do an xray on her since she is 8???? It should be required and if the customer wants to decline oh well, however I wouldnt have. To quick of a visit that does cost money but leaving without all the facts. A simple xray. I shouldnt have known that after loosing my parents at 60. Please pray for Jessie, I have a copy of her xrays if anyone knows how to read them to tell me what they think. Im now missing work and staying home with her ans I am self employed. Please pray for my Jessie the best dog I have ever had and loves everyone!!! Linda in Marshfield Ma

  • http://spellboundcollies.com Jill

    My 11 year old collie was diagnosed with TCC. It began with the typical straining and blood in urine. We did an ultrasound, they found a growth on the apex which they felt they could get clean margins so we did surgery. The rest of her ultrasound was normal – no signs of metastasizing and her x-rays clear. The surgeon said her lymph nodes looked normal. The biopsy came back as a high grade TCC. There was early microscopic serosal invasion and there were some cancer cells seen microscopically in the margins. I saw 2 oncologists; they basically recommend the same thing: vinblastine for 6 weeks (every week) and then vinblastine every other week for 6 weeks. We are waiting for her MDR1 results before starting chemo (should I go in that direction). They also spoke to me about the metronomic therapy (which makes more sense to me).. but they feel with her very aggressive form of cancer (it is VERY aggressive) they suggest vinblastine. In the meantime I have changed her diet (thank you Dr Dressler) and added in a ton of supplements including I’m yunity (based on the U of Penn recent research with hemangiosarcoma) maitike, fucoidan, selenium, vit c, modified citrus pectin, ip-6, etc etc. I always home cooked meals so they have had a healthy diet but I have stepped it up. I add in broccoli sprouts to one meal every day. I use triple filtered water. I am trying everything in my power to increase her survival time. She is on perixocam and misoprostol and I am trying to decide how to proceed – with vinblastine or metronomic (leukeran). I have also done allot of research on low dose vinblastine. Research shows that it actually kills the treg cells (at 10-33% dose in humans) and activates the killer cells for an increased immune response. I also have read research where removing the tumor reduces the treg population within 24-48 hours. Basically, I guess my question is – is there any way to attenuate treg cells and increase killer cells naturally with food or supplements? I assume some of the supplements I am using will do that with their immune response and I know some help restrict the blood flow to cancer cells.. but I am struggling to find answers and make smart choices. If the treg population is spinning out of control how well will any of this work?

    I also checked with LifeVax in the DC area. They have a dendritic cell immunotherapy which sounds awesome and is appropriately priced. The only problem is they need a sample of the tumor to prepare the antigen and I don’t think the surgeon maintained any.. but I have an inquiry in. SO, basically they can’t help unless the tumor grows back (which I hope it doesn’t) and at her age I don’t really want to put her thru surgery again. Right now we are 18 days post surgery and she is doing GREAT!!!!

    Bottom line is there any way to stimulate the dendritic cells and attenuate the TREG cells and increase the IL-2 response with food or supplements?

    Any help or guidance would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you!

  • Linda

    Im sure you are very busy still wondering on my white boxer that was just diagnosed from an xray with a tumor. Also as Robbie above mentioned with her age (even though she acts 5) surgery isnt realy an option. I gave her one dose of the 200 mg tagamet and 25 mg benadryl but her breathing seemed to get heavy. I wasnt sure if she was just having a reaction to the benadryl. I think I will try one of each at different times to rule out any allergic reaction. Im hoping this will shrink her tumor and give us more time with her. She was just playing and running down the beach like crazy the other day until she coughed up a litttle blood. Thats when I brought her right to the vets and they said she prob has a month or less. Ive been doing research on the interent for 7 hours tonight and the past few. I lost my parents at 60 please dont let me loose my dog too. She is my world. I feel for everyone on this site. As Robbie said above we are not alone. Prayers and hope for all. Linda in Ma.

  • Robbie

    Linda,

    I just read your post about your boxer. I know the pain you feel right now. You are not alone. I give my English Bulldog two (2) – 25mg benadryl tablets when he starts to breathe real heavy. It seems to calm him down and put him at ease. I also give him Rimadyl for any inflammation and tramadol every 12 hours for any pain. My last post here was on September 20th. Munson is still alive, although I know the days are very numbered now. You are right when you say dogs are our world. They ARE family too. I’ve been enjoying the last few weeks with mine. I’ve taken him for many rides in our car and on our golf cart. My wife bought a jersey for him to wear. The jersey also hides the fact that you can really see his backbone and ribs now due to weight loss. At this stage of his cancer, I don’t have a particular diet for him. We just let him enjoy the foods we do. I even scramble him eggs for breakfast!! Take it day by day and try to take some comfort in the fact that at least you know that you have some time left and you can show your boxer how much you love her. Sometimes death is so sudden that we don’t get a chance to say goodbye. You and I are getting that chance. Take Care……

  • Stacy

    My four year old Maltese mix (we rescued her from a shelter almost two years ago) was just diagnosed with lymphoma. It is in all of her lymph nodes and possibly has spread to her spleen but we aren’t sure about the spleen because we haven’t gotten past the initial diagnosis of her having it in all of her lymph nodes. We have been given options of chemo and told that it might buy her a year, or we can keep her on prednisone and keep her comfortable and that she may last anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months. Of course no one can determine the time she has left here on earth. We are wondering since she is so young, should we put her thru the chemo and hopefully buy her more time? Or will that harm her and make her miserable just to add a few months. We don’t want her to suffer anymore than she already has been. Or do we continue on the prednisone path and pray she stays with us for as long as we can get? We are really torn as to what to do and what is best for her. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Zadies mom and dad

  • Libby

    Hello Dr. Dressler.

    My male shih-tzu, Jordan, will be 14 years old in February 2013. This past March, we found a large mass cell tumor on his chest. The vet did surgery to remove the tumor, and was successful in removing the entire tumor. At his follow-up, his blood work came back showing no remaining signs of cancer.

    However, a few days ago, he suddenly became very ill. He was urinating without realizing it, and throwing up alot. After two days of refusing to eat and seeing no improvement, we took him to the vet.

    The vet did x-rays and bloodwork, and said that there was a large mass on one lobe of his liver. The bloodwork revealed toxic levels of the enzymes produced by the liver (sorry, I don’t remember the specific names). He said that he was unsure if it was cancer, and that if we really wanted to, he could do surgery. Either exploratory, or to just remove the mass/that lobe of his liver. But he’s almost 14. Is he too old to undergo surgery? Is the surgery just too major? If we do opt to do surgery, how much longer would he be expected to live? If surgery ends up not being an option, do we put him down? Or do we let nature take it’s course (while making him as comfortable as possible, of course)? So worried. He is family to me.

    Thank you for your time.

  • http://www.dogcancerblog.com vanessa

    3 weeks ago my adorable 11 year old Jack Russell was breathing noisily. The Vet said it was fluid and prescribed Frusemide, he went back 3 days later for ultrasound , they said, and he was, much better, the scan showed no tumours but the vet said he did have a heart problem causing the fluid, he also prescribed Prednisole and antibiotics. He went back for further ultrasound this week and we have now been told there is a large mass by his heart squashing his organs, his tummy has also been swollen and we were told this was gas. He now has Cardalis to take once a day, aswell as the prednisole and frusemide. He seems so much better, the tummy swelling is definitely improving. He is eating and drinking, he is a little more tired than he used to be though. What should we expect? Whats likely to happen to our little boy? I dont know what to believe anymore. Any help will be so appreciated. Thank you

  • Audrey Bruell, MD

    My 11.5 yr old collie had an emergency splenectomy Nov 2 for and was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. I would like to know if you’d be willing to give me a phone consultation with me regarding the best treatment for him. I of course will pay for the consult. I can fax you all info so far. 2 abdominal ultrasounds and 2 chest xrays show there are no gross mets to either organ. The spleen though had ruptured at the time of surgery.. He tested negative for the MDR mutation. He’s been doing very well post op except for some cardiac arrhythmias which seem to be slowly resolving. He just visited a cardiologist who gave him the OK for adriamycin. All three oncology vets have recommended daily long term Yunnan Baiyao about which I have great hesitancy. My dog has seen three oncologists and he was given three different recommendations. Please call me @ 248-701-4039. I live in the Detroit area and would be happy to prepay for this consultation with my credit card. I would appreciate your response ASAP since they want to start ADRIAMYCIN therapy next Tuesday. I’m not sure how to proceed
    Thank you,
    Audrey Bruell, MD

  • harleywrecked

    Does a dog suffer to breathe in the end if they are allowed to die naturally from a non-regenative anemia?

  • Byron

    I called your office on dec 28 you never retuned my call my eskimo is feeling better every day and now is starting to poop regular again I only needed advice to help shrink the prostate he is using Piroxicam and conium and it seems to be working any other advice, I will probably use neoplasene again to rid the cancer is this possible?

  • baldwin family

    Our 9 ye old boxer had a sore on his testicle,

    we kept it cleaners and used ointment to clear it up.after 3 weeks without clearing up now his testicles and glands by hi penis Are swollen . Can this be an infection or cancerous.

  • Mary

    i have to say that looking over this and other sites, cancer seems generally no win. I have a 11.3 year old dog who has a mass thought to be spleen cancer, and will not be taking the 4-6,000$ course of “chemo and radiation” or spleen removal surgery. He had an excellent life, could not have been better. I am nursing him and trying to keep him comfortable and determining when it the time to “send him over the bridge.” He now seems to be blocked in the colon, although his scant eliminations look normal. I was told he had this condition 2 months ago. It’s a wait and see situation. I feel subjecting him to heroic medical intervention at this point will reduce his quality of life and possibly span.

  • Gareth Bailey

    Dear Dr Dressler,

    I have found out today that my Dog Kai a cross between a mastff and an American bulldog has cancer (grade 2)in his back leg where they removed a lump.
    They have told me that they can remove it fully as there is not enough skin for it to heal and he will be left with an open wound.

    The only option they have given is to either give him chemo or try some new drugs that have only just come onto the market, (the name escapes me) they haven’t even used them at the vets so he wants to research them more.

    Just want to know if you can give me any advice?

    I feel so helpless and heart broken, i don’t even know how long he’s got as they said with type 2 it’s so hard to find out.

    Any information would be gratfully appreciated.

    Thanks and regards,

    Gareth Bailey

    • Dr. Susan Ettinger

      Gareth,
      First thing is to get the name of the cancer. Was is a grade 2 mast cell tumor? Next is to consult with an oncologist and maybe a surgeon. Oncologists like me focus on treating pets with cancer and have more experience, especially when it comes to chemo. (Was your vet talking about Palladia or Kinavet?) Also do some homework =) I have a series on blogs on mast cell tumors here, so get the diagnosis. Also check out the Guide for lots more info.
      Good luck! Dr Sue

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Gareth, I am sorry to hear this tough news. But you may be able to try some other options, or at least consider them.
      One would be to see if there is a vet there who is aware of some of the other steps:
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/an-overview-of-what-else-can-i-do/
      I’ve been using apocaps along with low dose oral neoplasene with mirtazapine along with the steps in the Guide (diet, immune support, doxycyline, benadryl if this is a mast cell tumor, etc) in my patients for mast cell tumors for some time with success. Please be sure to have all steps supervised by a vet..
      I hope this helps
      Dr D

  • NIcki

    Hi there,
    Just wondering if you could offer some advice on how much time my 4 year old golden retriever might have left with us.
    He was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma in the deep leg tissue around 4 weeks ago. we was under going test the 4 weeks before.
    He never showed any signs of illness other than he had a lump on his front leg.
    After they did the biopsy to get a final result of what the problem was, the wound just never healed. after 2 weeks he had a bad bleed from the wound and we amputated his whole leg and shoulder.
    The ultra sounds scan shows no spread and he has recovered really quick. 14 days after the op he is jumping in and out of the car and playing and running as normal.
    When i decided to go for removing his leg the vets told me it was a complete cure; now they are saying there is likely to be microscopic spread and that he only has a short time, though due to his age and position there is little infomation on the progression of what the cancer should follow.
    Just wondering/hoping that you might have some more info.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Nicki
      we need a little more info…are there any other treatments aside from the amputation?
      Whether or not there were may impact the information you are seeking.
      I would also read this post to be sure you are using all the tools available to you for your dog:
      http://www.dogcancerblog.com/an-overview-of-what-else-can-i-do/
      I also just wrote a blog today on some survival data of dogs with hemangiosarcoma of the spleen with different chemo protocols, in addition to a new one, that you might want to discuss with your vet and oncologist.
      Best
      Dr D

  • Robbie

    I first wrote on this board on September 20, 2012, 3 days after I found out my 9 yr. English Bulldog, Munson, was diagnosed w/ hemangiosarcoma. Yesterday afternoon, 3/26/13, at 4:40 pm EST my little buddy passed peacefully at our home w/ me, my wife and my daughter. Our vet came to our home to help put him to sleep. It was very painless and peaceful as he passed in my arms in one of his favorite places. We were blessed to have a little over 6 months with him since the diagnosis. His time to live at that point was estimated to be only 60 days. For all the people out there w/ pets who have cancer, I truly feel your pain. May God Bless All of You and Watch Over You.

    Rest in Peace Mr. Munson…………

  • Doris Z

    My golden mix, Wagner, age 12.5 began to show a decreased appetite and some weakness about a week ago. Yesterday, an ultrasound showed a swollen spleen and a most likely dx of hemangiosarcoma with liver mets. He has declined rapidly in just a weeks time. Given that he has a serious blood pressure problem (cause could never be determined, labs normal, ultrasounds normal with the exception of heart enlargement) and is on multiple meds for that x 2 years, I opted not to do surgery to remove his spleen. He doesn’t seem to be in pain, and my vet recommended several holistic supplements as well as antibiotics, since the ultrasound indicated that the liver lesions could possibly be infection rather than mets.

    My prayer is for him to have whatever good time that is possible, even if it’s only a few days. The decision was not a financial one, rather one that I thought was most compassionate for him, although this is breaking my heart. Wagner is my “heart dog.” Knowing I will lose him to this awful disease is unbearable, yet I have to put him first. His appetite remains poor and I am having great difficulty getting him to take any of his meds, although he continues to drink well.

    Dr. Dressler… My question… am I making the right decision for him? Should I opt for the surgery and hope for a better outcome? I know that without surgery, I will lose him very soon, yet his heart condition might negatively impact his recovery from surgery and he could suffer more. I want to do what’s right for him regardless. If he was eating well and seemed at least somewhat ok at this moment, I would probably have decided to do the surgery… however, in less than a week’s time, he has gone from a typical 12.5 year old to very compromised, weak, and refusing to eat for the most part. He continues to seek me out and desire loving affection and does not appear to be in pain.

  • Jini Amonn

    Dear Dr, Dressler..

    We became aware this past January that our 11 year old female had TCC. Even though her tumor may of been removed we opted do to her age and degenerative joint issues to treat her holistically with some traditional and natural supplements to maybe prolong her life, She was prescribed the liquid Medicam from her cancer vet instead of Perioxcam since she has a super sensitive stomach. The medication was replaced by my local vet when I mentioned how expensive it was now she is on Meloxicam. Additionally I was told she needed to take antibiotics for life, Cephalexin, Her bowel movements became very runny I assume from the antibotiotics and the vet stated to cut back to two a day. I went further down to one and supplement with Cranberry and D=Mannose. I have been giving her one treatment of the Budwig remedy with half cottege cheese and yogurt and flax oil a day, She seems to be ok with that, additionally she takes a mushroom multi, probiotic,doggie vitamin by NuVet, My issue is the reoccuring bleeding and licking of her vulva. These spells come and go and I was wondering why? I have checked her PH and it is high on the alkaline side and I was wondering if ACV would help. Bottom line is these bleeding spells are they do to the tumor and to be expected for her cancer? She is eating, has energy, but has started licking alot, bleeding and squats alot when outside. There is urine coming out but brown or bloody…does this mean her tumor is growing and will eventually burst?, Thank you…

    • Dr. Demian Dressler

      Dear Jini,
      the first step I would suggest is to read the guide. It is not a difficult read and will give you many of the answers you are looking for.
      I would be on the look out for not only blood from a bleeding tumor (yes, that can be the culprit), but also resistant urinary infections (cephalexin may not be addressing any bacterial component). If this were my dog I’d also be considering things like Apocaps, dandelion , yunnan baiyao, and the other steps discussed in the Guide, all under veterinary supervision. Further options are a low dose of oral neoplasene with mirtazapine under veterinary supervision.I would avoid red meat and keep your dog lean too as these are documented risk factors.
      Best
      Dr D

  • Laura

    My two year old dachshund was diagnosed with cancer covering her stomach and her spleen and intestines. Apparently the tumor had been growing for three months and the doctors just kept putting her on different food diets. The doctor keeps telling us she has anything form a few days to two weeks left to live because the cancer is really aggressive and has spread very far. Please give me some sense of direction as to what to give her and what vitamins to add to her food. Im trying to take it one day at a time i just want to do as much as i can to keep her as long as possible while she’s still eating and responding to us.

  • Janet

    Hi Dr. Dressler.
    My 10 year old miniature schnauzer, Pinky, was diagnosed with Stage 2 lymphoma in October 2012. She underwent 19 weeks of chemotherapy with my vet and we visited Texas A&M veterinary hospital every 4 weeks for her Doxyrubicin injection. She responded very well to chemo, entered remission within weeks of beginning treatment and stayed in remission throughout her treatment. Needless to say, we were overjoyed with her response to treatment and were hopeful for a long remission. Unfortunately, remission lasted only 4 short weeks! End of April, her lymph nodes were once again palpable and we noticed another small lump on her right side. We have started a rescue protocol of L-spar, Lomustine and prednisone. My baby is NOT doing well. After the first treatment, her lumps shrank within days but only a few days later came back and increased in size very rapidly! I feel that this relapse is happening very fast, is very aggressive, and is not responding well to treatment. The worst part is that her lymph nodes are so big she is now having difficulty breathing. This is dramatically affecting her quality of Iife. She is not as energetic and playful as she usually is. Her appetite is intact. she is still urinating normally and stools are normal…no vomiting…but panting all the time and her nights are the hardest.
    We have an appointment with our vet tomorrow for blood work. I am going to ask him if there is any other drug we can add to the regimen to try to get some shrinkage of her lumps….also I am concerned that the lymphoma may have spread to other organs. I am wondering if I should request another referral to the vet school to see what they say. I have ordered some Black Cumin Seed essential oils and some lufft leaves to augment her treatment…these will not be here for several weeks. And I am also doing daily massages with essential oils just to calm her nerves, keep her relaxed, and to share some quality time with her in quiet communication and prayer.
    Any advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you for your time.
    Janet

  • Alissa

    Hello, I am a proud pug momma of Mabel, 6.5 yrs old. We took
    her in to the vet for a check up bc she just didn’t quite seem like her self,
    slower on her morning walks when she usually pulls . Within a week and
    continued testing, they found that she has a renal mass in her kidney and the
    vet recommended surgery to remove one kidney and the renal mass. That was done on Sept 5th, the surgery was good and they took out all the tumors they can see/feel. Yesterday, they came back to us with the biopsy results and informed us that it was Hemangiosarcoma (renal type which is rare). We are devastated! There is no visible evidence(i.e. nodes in the lungs, liver, etc) but the assumption is that it has molecularly traveled in the body, because it is in the blood stream.

    Mabel is recovering well from surgery, she is just super
    friendly, happy, determined (especially when she wants to go to the park)! We
    also just started her on Chemo (Doxy something) and on schedule to do 5
    treatments then follow with metronomic chemo combo of paladia and Cytoxin.

    We are looking at some holistic options + diet changes; we just want to make sure not all changes happens at once and stress her system

    i love this article, I find myself in and out of sadness and
    I really need to just forget the statistics and enjoy Mabel for who she is…

    • Susan Kazara Harper

      Hello Alissa, I’m sorry to hear that Mabel and you are going through this. But the goods news is that you got her in to the vets when you noticed unusual behavior, and that you have a treatment plan.
      The first thing I want to tell you is to not lose hope. I know that Hemangiosarcoma sounds scary, and it is a tough one, but my own dog had hemangiosarcoma in the spleen three years ago. I too freaked out a little when I realized it was a blood vessel-based cancer, but he was already on a fantastic, real-food diet (thanks to another one of our dogs who had cancer the year before) and with chemo and great nutraceuticals, well, he’s still with us with no sign of the cancer. Metronomic chemotherapy is a much easier protocol to manage than some, and apparently it is particularly effective for hemangisarcomas. Your plan to help her with diet and all means of support is great. If you go to http://www.dogcancerdiet.com you can find an immediate download of the best recommended foods to give (and those not to give) your dog. You’re right on track; take and enjoy every day, because that’s what Mabel is doing. Don’t look for bad news, enjoy every moment. All the best!

  • getreal19783

    I hope your Maltese is still doing good. I have a chihuahua who was diagnosed the same way. He is on Piroxicam every day, eats 95%meat food as per oncologist .

  • Helen

    Dear DR D,
    I have an 11.9 year old female spayed White German Shepherd Dog who I have raised since birth. I had raised her mom as a pup, and her mom was a full WGS who was bred with a full WGS male.. Princess has a history of an umbilical hernia at birth which was reduced at age 10 weeks. Princess was diagnosed with muscle wasting in her hind quarters about two years ago which continues to be a problem for her as she ages. WE do not know why she has muscle wasting, and neither does our Vet. Regardless, she manages. She has a history of UTI, and some leaky incontinence over the past few years and she has been treated with appropriate antibiotics and her peri area is kept clean and shaved to avoid bacteria. Her last ultrasound 8 months ago was negative and unremarkable. Last Friday, she was incontinent of a large amount of gross hematuris. I brought her to my Vet who advised me to do an US on Monday which I did. The US showed a 3.8X3 CM mass in her bladder which is thought to be Transitional Cell Carcinoma. Options are: to do nothing- gives her about 3 months, to do surgery followed by Chemo, unsure, about a year time, Chemo without surg has 35 % chance of shrinking tumor but dogs feel better on it, or anti inflammatory therapy w/ piroxicam- 15% chance to shrink tumor. Any advice sir? My Princess girl moves slowly, but has the spirit and innocence of a puppy in her eyes…

  • Susan Kazara Harper

    Hi J B, We are always thrilled when our dogs get better. however it comes about. There is a lot of buzz about marijuana oil. So far, the data suggests that about 20-25% of dogs get dysphoria, which is a state of feeling unwell or unhappy, discontented, with emotional and mental discomfort. This in itself can adversely affect health. When the cannibinoids are standardized so they are tested in dogs such that we don’t see this response, it will be easier to support its use. We always urge caution when searching for solutions. Use discernment everyone, check the studies, and make good choices for all the doggies out there.