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

The Number One Way to Cure Canine Cancer

Updated: February 5th, 2019

These days, there is so much information out there about cancer in dogs.  Some is good, and some is not that hot.   If you dig, you will find enough to make your head spin.

You will get the basics from your vet or oncologist. These are what I call The Big Three, and consist of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  This is conventional cancer care.

Then we have more  “alternative” treatments, including special diets and supplements.  Go further into alternative cancer care and you find Neoplasine, ozone, IV vitamin C, high doses of certain bioflavanoids, touch therapies, mind-body fields like psychoneuroimmunology, chronotherapy, and more.

The cutting edge advances in both these big areas are covered in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

Many of the comments I receive on this blog are from concerned dog lovers who are trying to come to an action plan that makes sense.  They are often faced with trying to make lemonade from life’s juiceless lemons.

In dealing with this difficult struggle, sometimes the best choices are unclear.  However, there is a single statement that I believe few who know what they are talking about would deny.  It involves the one treatment that is most likely to cure a dog of cancer.

Get a copy of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide to learn more information and tools to help your dog with cancer

The number one way to cure canine cancer, at the present moment, is surgical removal of cancer cells.

None of the other techniques or approaches are as effective.

Now, this does not necessarily mean that you will select surgery as the treatment for your dog.  There are life quality factors to consider.  Some tumors cannot be removed without harming the body.  Some dogs have other issues that make surgery impossible.

But folks, this is the bottom line.  Get the cancer cells out.

Neither diet, supplements, chemotherapy, radiation, or any other facet of cancer care in dog is as effective as this single, old-school approach.


Dr D

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  1. Andrea and Grover on May 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Dear Dr. Dressler,
    When you say it’s a “genetic issue” do you mean that it is a hereditary disease or that it is not a hereditary disease and Grover has a mutated gene (his DNA has been damaged)?

    It’s okay – I know what you mean by wide margins : )

    I have been doing lots of other things to address the underlying causes…

    I have changed Grover’s diet to a high protein/low carbohydrate one, I have been giving him supplements (mostly anti-oxidants) and filtered water, I have stopped giving him chemical-based veterinary products, like vaccinations and worming treatments (I’m giving him a Homeopathic worming tincture instead), and I have removed all chemical-based products from my home. I have consulted with a Naturopath and a Holistic vet, I have gotten second opinions from other oncologists and surgeons, I have been staying positive and looking after myself, I have been giving Grover lots of love and care, I have been doing Louise Hay meditations for cancer, I have been meditating with Grover, I have been taking him to the beach as often as possible (which he loves), and I’m thinking of taking him to obedience classes with a view to doing Agility, but I need to find a club that accepts Titre Testing. There is probably more but I can’t think of it right now.

    My reasons for wanting laser surgery are more to do with the after care than with the scalpel, if that makes sense. I have decided to put my foot down and say ‘no’ to all conventional surgery. This is because I’m not willing to put Grover through conventional surgery again…

    The last time Grover had surgery, my vet was running behind schedule – Grover was supposed to be operated on in the morning but because my vet was so behind he was operated on in the afternoon. When I came to pick him up, he was still on the IV fluid and he had just woken up. He was very disorientated and he was screeching like a monkey. Also, for some reason the nurses hadn’t cleaned him up and his fur was smeared with blood. I had never seen him in this state and it was very distressing. Also, having stitches and wearing a cone for 10-14 days is too much for him. The whole time he was desperately trying to get it off, bashing it into furniture and the back of my legs, and it drove the both of us crazy! And he was confused because he couldn’t understand why he couldn’t lie or sleep comfortably, lay on my lap, get close to me or sleep next to me under the doona (quilt).

    Also, my vet made a mess of his stitches and now he is covered in thick, ugly scars. I’m hoping, the next time he has any tumours removed, that the surgeon can tidy them up.

    Thanks for suggesting the Neoplasene and the Frankincense oil – I will talk to Grover’s Naturopath and Holistic vet about the Frankincense oil and see what they have to say.

    Also (I’m changing the subject now), I have another question if that’s okay…

    My relationship with Grover’s oncologist has reached a point where it has become unworkable. My problem is that she is the only oncologist in my state (Victoria). There is an oncology consultant in Sydney called Dr Tony Moore and I have asked my vet if she could consult with him, but she convinced me to continue working with the other oncologist.

    I’m feeling very disheartened about Grover’s cancer at the moment because I don’t feel supported by my oncologist, or my vet, and I’m not sure what to do. Do you think I should find another vet? My other problem is that I live in a rural area and she is the only decent vet in our district – I would have to drive for miles to see another vet.

    Thanks again for everything – your book has been very empowering and I would recommend it highly to anyone. Having a dog with cancer can make you feel very alone. It is comforting to know that there is someone like you who understands : )

    Warmest wishes,
    Andrea and Grover,
    Victoria, Australia

  2. Andrea and Grover on May 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Dear Dr Dressler,

    Thanks very much for your reply, and I’m sorry I have taken so long to get back to you. I have decided to put my foot down and say ‘no’ to all conventional surgery in the future…

    This is because I’m not willing to put Grover though conventional surgery again. It has just been too traumatic for us. The last time he had surgery, my vet was running behind schedule – Grover was supposed to be operated on in the morning but because my vet was so behind she operated on him in the afternoon. When I came to pick him up he was still on the IV drip and he had just woken up. He was very disorientated and he was screeching like a monkey. Also, for some reason the nurses hadn’t cleaned him up and he was still bleeding (his fur was smeared with blood). It was very distressing. Also, wearing a cone for 10-14 days is too much for us. It restricted him from being close to me and sleeping under my doona (duvet). The whole time he tried desperately to get the cone off (he is a very determined little Pug) and he constantly bashed into the back of my legs, which drove me crazy. Plus the stitches look absolutely awful and my vet made a real mess of him. He is a beautiful Pug and now he is covered in thick, ugly scars. I’m hoping to have his scars tidied up with the laser surgery the next time he has any tumours removed.

    Grover is on a high protein/low carbohydrate diet:

    1 kilo cooked chicken breast, diced
    415 g can John West Pink Salmon
    3 scrambled free range eggs
    1 cup cooked brown rice
    2 cups processed raw, frozen vegetables
    1/2 cup yoghurt
    1/4 cup flaxseed oil

    I was feeding him an organic diet but it was really expensive and inconvenient. He is also having the following supplements:

    Blackmores Echinacea ACE Plus Zinc
    Blackmores PCIP (Potassium Chloride; Iron Phosphate)
    Blackmores Acidophilus
    Blackmores Milk Thistle
    Slippery Elm powder

    I have made the decision to use only surgery and natural therapies to treat his cancer. I’m sorry, this is going to sound controversial here in this blog and I don’t mean to criticize you or your theories: with respect, I would prefer to use anti-oxidants to treat his cancer, rather than the oxidants contained in Apocaps. This is because I would prefer to reverse the processes that have caused his cancer rather than kill the cancer itself. Your book has been very empowering, I am very grateful to you and I would recommend it highly to anyone, but this is the only part of your theories that I don’t agree with.

    I’m changing the subject now…

    My relationship with my oncologist has reached a point where the relationship is unworkable. I’m unhappy with their service and I don’t feel supported in treating Grover’s cancer at all. My problem is, she is the only oncologist in my state (Victoria). There is an oncology consultant in Sydney and I asked my vet if we could work with him instead, but she convinced me to continue working with the other oncologist. Now I feel unsupported by my vet as well and I’m thinking of looking for a new one. My other problem is, I live in a rural area and my vet is the only decent one in the area – I would have to drive for miles to see another decent vet.

    I would be very grateful for your advice because Grover has developed another two tumours… And I’m feeling very disheartened about his cancer treatment at the moment.

    By the way, I’m also doing a number of other things in terms of Grover’s cancer care, but I’m mindful that this is already a very long post!

    Warmest wishes,
    Andrea and Grover
    Victoria, Australia

  3. Andrea and Grover on April 11, 2013 at 2:34 am

    Dear Dr Dressler,

    My Pug “Grover” had 5 Mast Cell Tumours removed last November and now he has 7 more that need removing.

    Is it possible for Grade I MCT’s to be removed with laser surgery? I’m asking this because Grover has 3 MCT’s on his face and the Oncologist recommended that my vet remove them with excisional margins.

    Also, I’m concerned that Grover might grow more MCT’s in the future and need even more surgery. Is laser surgery, under a local anaesthetic, a safer option than repeated surgeries under a general anaesthetic?

    Warmest wishes,
    Andrea and Grover,
    Victoria, Australia

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on April 24, 2013 at 10:16 am

      Hi Andrea,
      Sorry to hear of your Grover’s MCT’s. Its a genetic issue in pugs. Yes, it is possible to remove grade 1’s with surgery, although a surgical laser is simply a cutting/tissue removal instrument and has no special properties compared to a scalpel blade in this arena. The question is whether the surgeries have wide margins or not. You want wide margins with mast cell tumors and vets will often skimp because they are afraid clients will oppose a second surgery if necessary. Wide margins, by the way, are not “clean”= these are words have different meanings. Wide margins refer to the distance around the tumor at surgery time where the incision is made. If the vet is willing to do a local, that is a great method, but pugs are wiggly…so it depends.
      I’m wondering what is being done to address the underlying causes? Apocaps? Diet? What else?
      You might also consider topical Neoplasene or Frankencense oil under veterinary supervision only as non-surgical (but reactive, not preventative) steps.
      Dr D

  4. Tanya on August 9, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Dr. Dressler, thank you for your response. We are using your book, its our cancer flighting bible. Yes, she is on pectin, K-9 immunity, and Apocaps. I have contacted the two professors regarding Artemisinin, they wanted to wait for chemo to be over, so you are right, now is the time. Thank you again.


  5. Tanya on July 25, 2012 at 4:31 am

    My 85 lb then 5 yrs old Aierdale was diagnosed with osteosarcoma a year ago and given 2 months to live. We went to amutating the hind leg with tumor, then 2 courses of chemotherapy. She does have lung metastasis, however, she is very happy right now, blood test came back good, and she lives a normal doggy life. She is our miracle dog. It appears there is not much available to treat lung metastasis, unfortunately. She is currently on metronomic chemotherapy and she has been on Apocaps and on your diet ever since diagnosis. Any ideas for other treatment?

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on August 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Dear Tanya
      I am sorry to hear about this for your Airdale.
      Have you read the Guide? There are some other things that you might want to build into your plan.
      Modified citrus pectin?
      Beta Glucans (K-9 immunity, no flavor – strait mushroom blend only) with transfer factor?
      These are some options I’d be considering under veterinary supervision. You can search the blog for this stuff but the book is more complete..
      I hope this helps
      Dr D

  6. Sterling1 on July 15, 2012 at 8:03 am

    My dog had advanced oral cancer (melanoma) on her tongue and she was given 3 months to live. Treated her with a combination of ozone treatments, both in her colon, injected subcutaneously and ozonated water, along with a raw food, grain free diet. The lesion has shrunken in size and her energy is amazing. Ozone is not a panacea for every illness; it is part of an integrated approach to healing the body’s illness.

  7. Robert Jaffe on September 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Dr. Dressler, after reading your references to the use of Neoplasene and Ozone therapy I have to ask what you’d think of direct ozone “injection” to dissolve the tumor in one procedure (with many injections.) You may have see the YouTube video which shows a human with a gigantic tumor (on their stomach?) into which ozone gas is being injected from multiple – what look like 30 ML syringes.

    My German-shorthair-lab who has a large, mast-cell tumor under his chin and I believe lacks the personality to endure the Neoplasene treatment requirements, (the pain/collar restrictions etc) and I wonder if you think that sort of procedure – or perhaps an injection of dihydroartemisinin might be viable alternatives? (I’ll revisit my copy of “The Dog Cancer Survial Guide…” in the meantime! Robert and Charlie.

    • DemianDressler on September 6, 2011 at 8:09 pm

      Dear Robert,
      I’m not sure if the ozone will avoid the concerns you have. If we have dying cancer cells there will likely be a defect (open tissue bed) where the tumor cells used to be. this probably will still require the use of an E. collar and so on if there is a lot of tumor cell death. I assume that surgery is out of the question?
      Keep us posted

  8. judy and gilles on November 7, 2009 at 7:42 am

    I agree with your comment about removing the cancer cells and recently heard on the radio news about a treatment for liver cancer called “microwave ablation”. Although they were speaking of human cancer, my thoughts immediately turned to canine cancer and if this is a viable treatment. If you would like, I could try to find more about what hospital was doing the treatment and the doctor who was interviewed. Hopefully this may be another way to get rid of the cancer cells…

    p.s. to Joanne and Cassie, thank you so much for the diet recipe. I have been looking for something to feed my dogs that does not break the bank and is reasonable to find and fix.

  9. Joanne & Cassie/Canada on November 6, 2009 at 4:02 am

    Dear Dr. Dressler:
    I had contacted you in the fall of last year about Cassies’ inoprable mast cell tumor on the hock of her leg. We opted for Chemo – very expensive, yes it is. We did have some Pet Insurance which helped. At any rate Cassie has been Cancer Free since her Chemo. She just had a blood workup done last week and the Vet said it was excellent. Now having said all of this I give Cassie the following in her diet:
    1. Dog Immune from Aloha Medicinals
    2. Dog food with no wheat or glutens – dry
    3. four fish oil capsules daily
    5. one tumeric capsule daily
    6. pure yogurt
    7. flax seed powder
    8. dried chicken pieces for treats
    9. acidophilus Bifidobacterium
    I do not know if this will help any of the people above but I hope so. Keep the faith people and listen to Dr.Dressler.
    Joanne & Cassie – Ottawa, CANADA

  10. Brian Roney on October 26, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Hey Dr…..I have a dog that is 80 pounds, with a tumor behind his is causing some bulging in the eye…..I have him on a new higher protein diet, with fresh vegies and more exercise……the vet thinks it is cancerous..but the biopsy is too difficult and expensise. He is one, anti-imflamtoies, and a pain killer….I also hav him on a small does of omega-3 – two caps a day. Do you think that he could use more? Any other thougths that might help?


    Brian Roney

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