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

Prejudice in viewpoints on Dog Cancer Care

Updated: December 14th, 2018

One of the things I realized in my quest for defining what I’ve coined a “full spectrum approach” to treating cancer is personal bias.

I am not talking about racial or sexual discrimination of course.  Rather, something I realized that we all carry within us, and I include myself in this, is the presence of viewpoints that condemn before investigation.

Condemnation before investigation is a concept that was put forth by William Haley, a British philosopher and theologian in the 1700’s, and later attributed to Herbert Spencer. The idea is that something is immediately criticized before actually checking it out first to see if there is merit.

The danger in this process is that limits the options we have in treating dog cancer.  Branches of medicine tend to be divided between conventional (allopathic, Western, etc.) which is your chemo/radiation/surgery,  and alternative, which tends to lean towards deficiency correction, nutrition, mind/body, homeopathy, Chinese medicine, and is a general catch-all for what is “not” Western.

Here’s the problem: one finds that members of one group, more often than not, poo-poo the other group. Without really checking it out first. Condemnation before investigation.

How many times have a heard an “alternative” dog owner tell me that antibiotics are “bad”? How many times have I heard a colleague blow off the idea that the pet food a dog eats can affect his long-term health?  That herbs are silly? How about that surgery is just a bad idea? No real evidence that acupuncture does anything?

These viewpoints are rooted in the same mental process that produces racial prejudice and bigotry against women.  They are belief systems arising from indoctrination, reflexive responses, peer pressure, fear of criticism, and attachment to the ego.

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There is only condemnation of the other perspective or person.  No investigation. No allowing of a “what if…”

When medical people do this, options that could be used to help save a dog with cancer are never explored, the mind is never really allowed to do its job, and we are faced with resulting survival statistics that are garbage.

The key is investigation and avoiding our attachment to certain viewpoints.  Only in this way can we create new ideas and evolve at a decent pace.

I am hard at work on a manuscript that attempts to avoid this partisan approach to medicine, and uses a Full-Spectrum approach to create a comprehensive plan for dogs with cancer.

Cancer, whether in canines or people, can be snuffed out.  The key is really considering the possibilities…allowing that cure and non-toxic remissions to exist as real possibilities…and avoiding condemnation before investigation.

Best to all,

Dr D


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