Today’s Dog Cancer Answers podcast episode tackles a sensitive subject: why veterinarians don’t always catch cancer early.
Renee has called in with a question about her experience with mesothelioma. Why on EARTH, did it take so long for her dog to get an accurate diagnosis? And now that they know what he has, what treatments should she use?
Dr. Demian Dressler answers both questions. The bottom line on why it took so long is this:
When your dog’s cancer has identical symptoms to a much more common condition, they assume it’s probably the much more common condition, not cancer.
This is REALLY typical in medicine. Doctors have a saying: “when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.”
Unless you live in a place with LOTS of zebras, it’s a pretty good rule of thumb.
Symptoms like fluid in the belly, coughing, and trouble breathing usually indicate heart problems in dogs.
So they get treated for heart disease. Only when those treatments don’t work, do vets think about other possibilities. And heart disease is something that is hard to treat … so it can be something vets “give up on.”
Mesothelioma is really uncommon, so it took Renee’s veterinarians a while to diagnose it.
As for how to treat it, Dr. Dressler listed the following as places to start.
- K9 Immunity
- Modified Citrus Pectin
- Oral Neoplasene
- Oral Mirtazepine
- Low Dose Naltrexone
This is a complicated protocol and needs to be supervised by a veterinarian, of course.
You can read the transcript on the episode page on the Dog Cancer Answers website.
Here’s the video version of the podcast:
PS: Feel free to share this article or the podcast itself with your veterinarian and their staff.
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Molly Jacobson is a writer and also the editor of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, published by Maui Media. A lifelong dog lover and self-professed dog health nerd, she is all too familiar with dog cancer. She has been supporting readers of this blog since the beginning. Molly earned a BA from Tufts University, and after a career in bookselling and book publishing attended The Swedish Institute to become a licensed massage therapist in New York State, licensed by the medical board. Her fascination with health is both personal and global, and she is most proud of how this site and the associated publications have revolutionized not only our approach to dog health, but our own health.