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

Signs of Dog Cancer and Decompensation

Updated: November 22nd, 2018

People are often stunned to find out their dog has cancer. Why? Because cancer seems to hit out of the blue. I often hear “but he’s been fine until the last couple days!” In this article, I’m going to take just a minute to explain why “cancer” seems to happen overnight. (Hint: it’s because of dog cancer decompensation … not cancer itself.)

“Signs of Dog Cancer” Are Really “Signs of Dog Cancer Decompensation”

Search for the warning signs of dog cancer, and you’ll find plenty of listicles that include items like the following:

  • a new lump that is hard
  • a limp
  • coughing
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • thirst changes
  • bad breath
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • abdominal swell
  • difficulty breathing
  • spontaneous bleeding
  • unusual odors

But those are not signs of cancer. They are signs of dog cancer decompensation.

Your dog has had cancer for a lot longer than you realize. The signs listed above are actually signs that your dog’s body has stopped being able to compensate for cancer, and her body’s normal functions are breaking down.

Looking back at your dog’s last few months, or even year, you might think I’m crazy.

How is it possible that a dog can act totally happy, eat, drink, move around, socialize … and have cancer?

Don’t sick dogs act sick? Well, let’s take a look at that.

Decompensation Defined

The clearest definition of decompensation I’ve found is this:

“Decompensation is the functional deterioration of a previously working structure or system.”

Every organ and system in the body function well under normal circumstances. And every organ is designed to have lots of built-in safety systems so that if something goes wrong, the organ can STILL function while it repairs itself.

So, when a medical problem is introduced, the body can “compensate” for it. Let’s take a non-cancer example.

Say you are using a hammer and hit your thumb. That’s our medical problem: your bruised thumb.

The tissues immediately swell up. That’s the immune system sending fluid to the area both to keep it from moving too much (which could further injure it), and also to bring white blood cells to the area to start helping repair the damage.

Your immune system is “compensating” for the medical problem by sending help.

Now, normally, your thumb would heal in a few days or a week. You might not even really notice the thumb’s hurt, after a while.

But let’s say that you damaged your nail very badly in the strike. The body simply can’t repair the damage done. After a week or so, you might find your nail falling off. Now it takes months for your nail to grow back in.

Well, that’s your “decompensation,” right there. Normally, you have a nail on your thumb. But now, you don’t. Your body could not compensate for all the damage done.

So now you’ve got a clear sign … for months … that you have been damaged, and that things aren’t normal.

When Safety Systems Fail

When your dog has cancer, her body will kick in all sorts of safety mechanisms (depending upon where the tumor is) to keep the body working properly. Dogs act normally during this time.

So do people, if you think about it. You probably know someone who has had cancer. Did they feel terrible right at the beginning? No … we don’t start really noticing symptoms until cancer has disrupted our health. Until our safety systems start failing.

So what we see listed as the “signs of cancer” are not really signs of cancer at all. They are signs that cancer has gone past a certain tipping point.

They are signs of dog cancer decompensation.

They are signs that cancer is in a late stage.

In other words, once a dog starts to act sick, it’s already late in the game.

What to Do If Your Dog is in Decompensation

If your chest is tightening as you realize that your dog isn’t “suddenly sick,” but may have had cancer for a while, please take a few deep breaths.

This is a difficult concept to accept, and it’s totally normal to feel, well, to feel awful about it. Just because we usually find cancer late (after decompensation) doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything about it. There are lots of things to do to help your dog’s life quality and even optimize longevity.

So if you haven’t had a diagnosis yet, get one. Knowing what you’re dealing with will help you to make decisions. And if you do know it’s cancer, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion, just to make sure. Any professional vet will be okay with this, and it wise to double check to make sure the dog cancer journey is a path you are on.

Get the Dog Cancer Survival Guide to read more on End of Life and Hospice Care, in Chapter 25

Bottom Line: Test Healthy Dogs for Cancer

The fact is that one out of two dogs over ten gets cancer, and one out of three overall get cancer. It’s the number one killer of dogs at this point. So we should all be taking it very seriously, and testing dogs for cancer, earlier, when they seem healthy.

Starting in the last quarter of life at the earliest, get annual (or more frequent) imaging done to look at internal organs: X-rays, ultrasounds, etc. Don’t ignore lumps and bumps, but get fine needle aspirates, biopsies. Blood and urine tests can serve as critical screening tools.

When’s the last quarter of life? There’s a comprehensive list in my book for breeds and their average life expectancy, but you can also base it on weight:

  • Dogs up to 12 pounds live approximately 14 years, so start annual testing no later than 10.5 years.
  • Dogs 12-30 pounds live approximately 13 years, so start annual testing no later than 9.75 years.
  • Dogs 31-50 pounds live approximately 12 years, so start annual testing no later than 9 years.
  • Dogs 51-80 pounds live approximately 11 years, so start annual testing no later than 8.25 years.
  • Dogs over 80 pounds live approximately 9 years, so start annual testing no later than 6.75 years.

The reality is that when caught early, cancer is easier to treat and we have better chances of preserving life quality (and even extending longevity).

Best to all,

Dr D


Discover the Full Spectrum Approach to Dog Cancer

Leave a Comment

  1. Elisha on November 20, 2019 at 2:10 am

    This explained it so well! Thank you for your insight!

  2. gino labiak on November 16, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    MY Aussie is 7 1/2 yars old healthy until last week had a limp one leg. Then it was another leg days later.. Blood work and X rays are fine but he has a hard time moving after he lies down. It has been one week. H e has a fever sometimes but we are giving tylenol per vet. He take steroid once a day into sixth day and antibiotic shot for a week. He hates to lie down knowing it will be hard to get up. He can go on a regular walk fine. Now he is lying still yelping when he moves his head. Every night seems like he can move less. Any clue before we get a specialist?

    • Dog Cancer Vet Team on November 18, 2019 at 9:05 am

      Hello Gino,

      Thanks for writing. As we’re not veterinarians here in customer support, we can’t offer you medical advice. You may find this article helpful, as Dr. D goes into detail on signals of pain, limping, and addressing pain, that you may find helpful. But your specialist will be able to run tests to find out what is happening and help you address them 🙂

  3. Patricia Ryan on October 17, 2019 at 5:58 am

    THIS IS ABOUT MY FRIENDS DOG WHO IS JUST COMING A YEAR OLD He is a lovely little dog he looks like he should go on a diet. At the start, he would eat and eat We took him to the Vet because he was finding it hard to brething The Vet said it could be his glands This has been going on for weeks Now today The Vet said it could be cancer He is just under a year old. In the last few days, he has gone off his food This is not like him HE WAS SICK IN THE CAR AS WELL The vet said it was in all his glans I do worry not just because I love the wee dog but My friend is so upset about it.

    MY friend ask me if the next lot of tests come back That it is all over would she have to have him put down I told her The Vet would say what would be the best thing to do

  4. Lisa Campbell on July 14, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    After 3 surgeries , Ive never felt so broken . So angry at the world . Angry at our over scheduled vet . Angry at the what ifs and no answer for the whys . I will tell you this book did help me pull myself back together . It just seems like there should be something else to save my only child. My precious girl . Id of spent whatever it took , drove miles and here I sit with you in my arms telling you ‘its gonna be alright when clearly its not ” .

  5. Joseph Tuttolomondo on April 9, 2019 at 4:34 am

    My Wife and I recently had to put our 10yr 3month old Golden “Winston” down this past Saturday. We went to the vet approximately two weeks ago due to Winston, out of nowhere, dry heaving, not constant, but a few times throughout the day. The vet said he was in great condition, didn’t hear anything in the chest, structure felt good, vitals were good, tested for heart worm, that was good. Then fast forward to this Saturday we wake up to Winston not being able to completely stand, his right front paw was noticeable knuckling. He was able to go outside and urinate, then about a 1/2 hour later I fed him, and then we walked him, he was still knuckling every so often but managed to pee and poop no problem, he even began to trot a little. At this point I’m thinking disc, arthritic issue so I left to my office for a few hours and when I returned home Winston was flat out on the ground and couldn’t get himself up. I managed to help him up but he still couldn’t stand completely on the wood floor so I took him on the patio which he was able to stand somewhat and managed to go into the grass to pee although then he just fell over. We immediately took him to a vet that was open and very reputable only about a mile away. They proceeded to take vitals which were great, chem15 which was normal, and she even listened to his chest and didn’t really hear much. Then the chest X-ray comes out which looks like a snowstorm and I knew the prognosis was not good. I take it from this article this scenario is more common than I thought. The last thing I wanted to do is euthanize my pup, he was an awesome Golden and its going to take me quite some time to accept this, its so painful! The day prior we did our usual evening walk by the lakes, rolling in the grass, playing with his brother Luke, showing no signs of any disease, crazy how this happens. We took great care of Winston, always the best for him, I even stopped all heart guard and flee/tick meds at the age of two and placed him on holistic products which prevented all those issues. The only thing that bothers me is putting him down, he looked healthy, eyes were clear, vitals were good, labs good, my wife didn’t want to see him suffer any more than he did the day of, he seemed to be declining in the office, and when I asked the vet for some type of time left with him, there was really no answer, hours, days, maybe. So painful. I lost my best bud Winston. Hopefully you can shed some light regarding making the right decision. Thank You.

    • Molly Jacobson on April 9, 2019 at 6:23 am

      Hi Joseph. No one will ever be able to tell you what would have happened if you hadn’t let him go, but every vet I know thinks one day too early is better than one day too late. Dogs are amazingly stoic, and we have to multiply the pain they seem to be in by ten, twenty, a hundred to get close to how strong it could be. It definitely sounds to me like you did the right thing. Lung cancer is very painful. I have family and friends who have described it as hell. That your boy lasted for so long with no complaints or symptoms proves how strong and wonderful and miraculous dogs can be. You are in shock right now and it’s natural to go over everything and wonder what if. But those questions are more part of the grieving process, I suspect, than indications that you did anything other than what was best for your boy. Warm hugs to you.

      • Joseph on April 9, 2019 at 9:56 am

        Thank you Molly for the reassurance and kind words. It’s just so difficult to accept.

        • Molly Jacobson on April 9, 2019 at 1:02 pm

          No doubt. It’s ok if it takes time to accept. Grieving has no rules.

      • Ana on April 13, 2019 at 9:00 am

        My husband and I lost our little dog Chewie a few days ago to cancer. He was 6 and 5 months. The only indication we feel we ever had was a dry cough that was few and far between. He was so bright and and alert and ate well and went to the toilet fine. He had monthly visits to the vet his whole life for his cruciate ligament operation follow up he had as a little puppy. He would have his heart listened to and we would briefly talk about his health which was always fine. At annual check ups he was fine too. When he was about 4 we had one bad incident where he lost his appetite for a day and vomited blood at night. We immediately took him to the emergency vet and they fixed him – he got better. They said it was some bacterial infection. Three weeks ago Chewie grew a golf sized ball on his hind leg. The moment we saw the lump in the morning we took him to the vet and they conducted biopsy on the lump. The vet was still unsure of the cause of the lump and we had a blood test two days later. Chewie was still fine except body out alignment to compensate for the lump. He was given Vitamin K and Niralone and sent home. We took him back to the vet for tests and observation almost every day that week. Just over a week later his panting got laboured and he had a dry cough when drinking water – worse than before. We thought it was a reaction to the medication. A week later he had a follow up check up. I insisted they do a thorough test including ultrasound and X-ray, only due to someone at work having just lost their dog to the dog having fluid around their heart and this being captured by such tests. The vet called me soon after with the result of the scan. This is a day my husband and I will never forget. Chewie was diagnosed with lung cancer, the scan showing metastatic lesions in his lungs and an enlarged liver at this point. We returned to the vet and noticed his breathing was so terrible he required oxygen. His quality of life was diminishing rapidly and we had no choice except to give him all our love in his last moments with us. It’s devastating and hard now days later to not have our little Chewie with us.

        • Ana on April 13, 2019 at 9:10 am

          Chewie was a Maltese x Shitzhu.

        • Molly Jacobson on April 13, 2019 at 4:23 pm

          I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s astounding how stoic dogs are, isn’t it? Chewie sounds like a wonderful pup, and I’m sure you did the right thing, and looking back, will not regret your decision. Peace to you.

  6. Andrea Phillips on March 17, 2019 at 4:14 am

    My 12 year old boxer has just had a subcutis hemangiosarcoma lump removed from near his spine. He went for ct scan which found a spleen mass had grown and appears different than when vet found it in December. She took FNA which came back as probable nodular hyperplasia. So was left. However has been very tired,thyroid was low but not hugely so so started on low dose of thyforon.then lump on his back started to change ,took FNA came back as blood so decided to have removed. Came back subcutis hemangiosarcoma. So removed and sent to referrels. He has now had a splenectomy as they felt the mass may burst.changes to his intestines but could not biopsy as felt was unsafe to do so. The mass was caviated and felt this was also hemangiosarcoma when removed. Now gone off for analysis. Bloods ok ish,liver values raised into the 200’s, which have been fluctuating for a year,WBC count low ,slightly, ….spleen changes compatible withliver disease but not cancer. He is still eating ,would this have in fact changed to cancer? Or was maybe the FNA incorrect of his spleen?

  7. Buddy John on March 13, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    These people are full of s h ! T ok, once your dog has gotten the lumps/cancer, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars (I know a lady fpent $40,000 dollarsnover 5yrs) the cancer will always come back. Nomatter how much surgery or how much money you throw at it, iv gone threw this twice in my 55yrs on this planet and emptied my bank account both times and maxed out mine & my wife’s credit cards. Doesn’t matter Cancer is 100% incurable in pets and they won’t tell you this bcuz there after “Your Money” they act like it’s all about your pet but b.s. it’s the money & you can believe me or not but see for yourself 1st hand then from then on keep your pet on fishmox (amoxicillin) you can buy from any feed store for hogs (animals) same exact stuff they prescribe to you for a tooth infection & made by the same pharmaceutical company 250mg x 2 in the morning and 2 at night, keep peroxide on hand & lesions clean, gov will live twice as long as vet treatments & be much happier/ playfull while saving you thousands. I kid you not.

    • Molly Jacobson on March 14, 2019 at 9:41 am

      Well, I don’t think I would keep my dogs on antibiotics every day, but I will say that there are hundreds of articles on this site designed to help people who want to help their dogs with cancer. Some want to break the bank, others want to focus just on quality of life. And that is exactly Dr. Dressler’s point: since there is no cure for systemic cancer (at this point) and you often find it way too late to address it (as he states very clearly above), everything is based on what is right for YOU and YOUR DOG. You can judge others for treating their dog’s cancer, but I’m going with Dr. D’s non-judgemental attitude. It’s a lot easier on me, and my dogs seem to be a lot happier, too. He says it best in this article: https://www.dogcancerblog.com/articles/dont-want-to-treat-dog-cancer/

  8. Patricia Dureja on November 30, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    My 12 year old mixed rottweiler that weighed over 100lbs died back in August from cancer. It seemed that the symptoms came from nowhere just as the article stated but I realize that she had been sick for a long time. My first clue was that suddenly after all those years she began to lose weight like overnight. After taking her to our vet he knew exactly what it was and stated that being dog of her breed, size and age that she had basically run her course. I knew he was most likely right but sought out a second opinion where xrays were taken. Zola lived maybe another week or two from that point. I couldn’t understand how she had just deteriorated so quickly but now it all makes sense. According to the guidelines for weight she actually lived beyond her years and her life was filled with love and happiness. I have never loved a dog the way that I loved my Zola and I miss her dearly. Your article helped clear up a lot of questions that I had. I was the first person that she saw when she opened her little eyes as a puppy. I bottle fed her because she was taken away from her mom way too early. She had knee surgery around age 6 because of her weight & I tried everything that I could to keep her weight down. We made every vet check up possible yet none of us knew until it was too late.. .but just as I was there for her in the beginning I saw her through to her end. It was also I that was there when she closed her eyes for the very last time. What a honor and blessing to have been a part of her life & to have had her in mines.

    • Dog Cancer Vet Team on December 3, 2018 at 7:09 am

      Hello Patricia,

      Thanks for writing, and for sharing your story– it sounds like your girl was well loved. We’re glad that this article was able to clear up some questions for you, and please accept our most heartfelt condolences for your loss

  9. Pam on April 11, 2018 at 5:22 am

    This article really cleared a lot of things up for me. My black lab mix was 10 years old when suddenly she became lethargic. It started with her just having issues with getting up and down we thought it was related to a recent arthritis diagnosis. We had to wait a week before we could get her into a Doctor’s appointment but she didn’t make it that long. Five days after she started exhibiting pain with walking we had to take her to the emergency vet. She wasn’t able to get up at all at that point and I was having to pick her up to take her outside. She was panting heavily and not eating food anymore. I knew that this couldn’t be just pain from arthritis and I knew that it was time to take her to the emergency clinic. That’s how we found out she had some sort of cancer. The vet practically said she was in the end stages of the cancer and needed to be put down. It’s really amazing how my seeming happy and healthy dog could go from acting completely fine to being in absolute misery and pain. I wish I would have seen a more competent Doctor who would have checked her more thoroughly instead just telling me “oh that’s just a touch of arthritis, she’s got a lot of good years left.” That doctor gave me some meds and pushed me out the door. I’m still kind of in shock and wish I would have known sooner 🙁 I will now start getting my dogs screened in their later years so I don’t have to be totally knocked off my feet with a tragedy like this. R.I.P Sweet Pea 🙁

  10. Jade Brunet on June 22, 2017 at 7:20 am

    My dog has been having a hard time sleeping and we are wondering if she could be sick. Thank you for informing about the signs of dog cancer. I did not realize that loss of appetite, vomiting, and weight loss were not actually seen until late in the disease process of cancer. We will pay a visit to our veterinarian to solve any possible problem early on.

  11. suzy000 on October 29, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    My five year old blue eyed Malamute (I know…disqualifying but she was what we wanted….YEP….she is my avatar) was diagnosed with a malignant Mast Cell Tumor yesterday the 28th. You could have knocked me over with a feather when the Doc told me after aspirating the lump on her backside near her spine. I had just told the Doc that I was getting ready to buy a used a treadmill for Mishka to help her lose the weight she put on during the summer months. (She HATES hot weather) but out of caution, I just wanted to verify that the fatty tumor was just that. She came back in the room no longer smiling and said,,,,,”Don’t buy that treadmill”. I instantly became numb. Now we are facing surgery, probably radiation and then more surgery. I refuse to put her through chemo. Radiation is bad enough. This is going to get expensive but I cannot just let her die. She was a gift for my son on Christmas Day when he was 13. He had just lost his Uncle (pancreatic cancer) in June and my brother was like a Father to him. He has a deadbeat Father. Mish filled that void and helped him cope with the loss of my baby brother and now at eighteen…..I cannot stand to see him lose another without giving it my best shot. I have heard of those gofundme sites but it is probably not for pets. Sigh…..what does a single working Mom to do when something like this gets dumped in her lap and I just got the 1st semester of college paid for. I’ll tell you what we do…we work harder and find a way. There is always a way….one just has to be willing to take that leap….I will leap all day if I can protect my family from harm or distress. Well….enough about my challenges…..there are people with many more challenges and on a greater scale than what we are experiencing. They too need our help……and our prayers.

  12. Candice on February 11, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    This makes sense. We had no idea our dog had oral melanoma until her cheek had swelled to a bit larger than a golfball, but before that she had some bad breath which we had brushed off as just old age and her teeth not being in top notch shape. Her vet before this was discovered had actually said soft food can sometimes cause bad breath so to put her on dry food and it would help that. We did as he recommended, but it didn’t help too much and then it started to get worse and finally her cheek started swelling as her breath continued to deteriorate into smelling like death. It happened pretty quickly too and that is when I got very concerned and took her back in to be tested and then we found out she had oral melanoma. They didn’t tell us a stage though, but am sure she was probably around a stage 3 when we took her in. I just feel guilty I didn’t take the first sign of worse bad breath as a cue because if we had of then we may could have extended her life beyond what we are doing now with just prednisone alone. I had been told all my life that brushing an animal’s teeth was not required and their mouthes kept themselves clean in general until recently I started to hear you should brush your dog’s teeth and if not that then check their mouth fairly often and if not that then the vet should at their routine visits. I had absolutely no idea of any of that and her prior vet did not offer to check her mouth and they were mad expensive so we changed her to a new vet who found the cancer and told us all of this. I wish I had known way sooner. Too little, too late in this instance, but if we ever do get another loving pet I will be vigilant about this sort of thing.

  13. Jeff on February 8, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    My yellow lab just turned 8 on feb 6th. He’s been sick for over a month now. All his symptoms cam on very suddenly: vomiting, unable to keep food down, minimal water intake, appears very lethargic at times but has had days where he is his old fashioned self. He has lost a lot of weight from not being able to keep food down. Brought him into the vet 4 weeks ago, all tests were normal despite these sudden symptoms. The vet gave us some moist dog food in which he ate very little. Symptoms were not getting better so I brought him back a week later. X rays were His WBC count was “slightly” high so the vet said possible infection or possible cancer but that she “didn’t have a solid answer” as to what was wrong with my dog. Vet gave us antibiotics to use for a week, they didn’t do anything for him. Another symptom I’ve started to notice is that he will ‘shiver’ in his abdominal region at times but its not consistent. As I stated before, he still has his good days where he is his normal self but he’s only losing more and more weight. I’m at a loss of what to do… some days he looks like he is suffering. I could go back to the vet but I’ve been there twice and paid a lot for the answer of “im not sure I have an answer for you. Any suggestions on a direction to go at this point would be greatly appreciated. Maybe some supplements or new food to try? I’ve read that K-9 immunity plus can help manage symptoms…I’m just not sure what to do. This came on so suddenly and I can’t imagine my life without my best friend.

    • Susan Kazara Harper on February 9, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Jeff,
      I know this is worrying, and no solid news from the vet doesn’t help. Shivering can indicate discomfort, and ifit’s occasional it’s harder to pin-point. He definitely does not sound happy. What are his poos like? I’m guessing they are a bit lose and if he’s not eating he’s probably not pooing regularly. ?? Does his abdoment seem distended? Is he unhappy when you gently rub his belly? If his tum is tight, distended or he doesn’t want you near, it might indicate there is something going on there. There are so many directions this could go. The first, most basic thing you can do is to give him a week or very simple, very REAL food. Any digestive upset needs a period of bland, useful food. Have you tried to give him meals of cooked brown rice and cooked chicken with chicken broth? It’s the easiest to digest. If you get some boneless, skinless chicken breasts put them in a big pot of water, simmer until cooked, you’ll have plump, moist chicken meat and loads of broth. Cooked brown rice helps bulk it out, but don’t use instant rice. He needs solid nutrition to help regain his balance. You can also scramble eggs and feed them alone, or with the other food. 7-10 days of this food will give him strength from simple, good nutrition, and probably let you know whether it’s a temporary tummy upset or not. I know you’ve spent a lot at the vets, but if you’ve not gotten any more than you’ve shared here, you need a different vet. You may want to try a week of good food as above, and call around to other vets. Remember that they work for you, and you own those test results. If you find a vet you like the feel of, ask your present vet to either give you, or send to the new vet, the x-ray and blood tests and records of treatment. Giving him a week of solid, digrestible real food will tell you a lot. Smaller frequent meals, just as we’d do if our tummy was upset. Start there and let your boy tell you what’s happening by his response. Good luck! and give him a big cuddle from us.

  14. Jessica Rossler on December 10, 2014 at 8:21 am

    My beautiful 8 yr old siberian husky Lilly died this morning from lung cancer, we thought we had more time with her, the cancer came on suddenly, back in November we took her to vet because she wasn’t eating, and loosing weight, he ran blood test and found she had a tick born illness, so she was put on antibiotics. Within the last month, she was getting worse while on them. We had them lower the dose. And she still wasn’t eating, we had to force feed her. She drank fine. Went to the bathroom fine. Then towards the end of November she went down hill. We took her back to vet, because she started having breathing problems. He found a growth in her back leg near her mammary gland. And was going to biopsy after she was done with antibiotics. So while at vet second time. He wanted to check via X-ray how she was, well needless to say, he xrayed, and it wasn’t good, he pulled my bf in back, and showed him the horrific X-ray. She had 6 or so golf ball sized tumors in both lungs, and the vet said prognoses wasn’t good. She was end stage. He didn’t give her long about two -three weeks tops. So she was put on several medicines, and a pain pill. And she was still up and around, very weak wobbly, and still drinking but not eating. So we force fed her, from a syringe the last few days. She had very minimal accidents. Her breathing kept getting worse. So she was given a diuretic. We have two other husky’s at home. And one is her twin sister. We are beside ourselves with guilt, and anger, and we can’t understand how the cancer came on so suddenly. We only had her, and her sister for four years. Before we rescued them, from an abusive situation, they were neglected. And we worked really hard to get lilly to trust again. We gave her all the love and affection we could, took care of her best we could. And we were going to have her put to sleep on Saturday. But God had other plans. And she died at home in our kitchen. I had sure I was there, as I told her we would be with her every step of the way. It’s hard to say goodbye. She was our little girl out of our pups. But witnessing her take her final breaths, and the pool of blood that surrounded her mouth, is something I hoped I would never have to see. I wish we could have done more for her, but chemo wasn’t an option as she was so weak already, and surgery wasn’t an option because she was end stage. So we did the best we could by keeping her comfy, and loved. Should I feel guilty? I’m new to dog cancer, I watched pups I had growing up die. But nothing like this.

    • Susan Kazara Harper on December 11, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      Jessica, everthing about this was horrible. Yet you can not feel guilty. You did everything for her, took her to the vet responsibly at each stage. Sometimes it’s just a lousy, lousy road. When we grieve we beat ourselves up. The time will come when you can make yourself start to remember the years of fun and joy. Yes, I know you wish there could have been more. But you know what, you could have missed them all, too, if you hadn’t had her at all. Know that she was totally happy with you. Dig out the great photos, and please, please believe that the last weeks were just a drop in the bucket of her very good life. Honor her by remembering her well, and maybe get out there and become a voice for dog health and cancer awareness. My two boys put me on this path. I miss them so, but know that what I learned with them can go on to help others. Take care of yourself,

      • Jessica Rossler on December 12, 2014 at 12:40 am

        Thank you so much, Susan! I hope with time we all start to feel better again. She was such a wonderful part of my family. That’s wonderful that you’ve become a voice for dog health and Cancet awareness. I’d love to do that. How do I go about it?
        Thank you again for your kind words, and I hope you have a very merry Christmas and happy joyous new year! Take care


        • Susan Kazara Harper on December 14, 2014 at 9:54 pm

          Jessica, Bless you for wanting to get involved. First, take time to heal. Get through the holidays gently and move into the new year. If you feel motivated to help, there are oh so many ways to share the awareness and knowledge. You’re most welcome to get in touch if you can contribute to this small and passionate team. Give yourself breathing room first, ok?

          Another may come who will need love and help, and you will honor your girl if you find you are able to share her place of joy. All the best, from all of us.

          • Jessica Rossler on December 15, 2014 at 4:32 am

            Thank you so much Susan! It’s not been a week yet. And myself, bf, and daughter are still sad. I’d love to contribute. My other two huskies have been taking things ok. They gloom about the house too. Maybe one day, we will have three again. God bless, have a wonderful and merry christmas, and new year!


  15. Susan Kazara Harper on June 25, 2014 at 5:51 am

    Kim, Please look at http://www.tripawds.com. If amputation is an option, and the cancer has not metastasized to other parts of Janko’s body, it can be your best option. And dogs do not generally have the problems that humans do with amputation. They already have 3 other legs to rely on, and if he’s limping and not using the leg, he’s already rehabilitating himself. He has youth on his side, and if there is no cancer spread and you’re able to take the cancer away with amputation, you could potentially have many years ahead of you. But Kim, you’ve got to get hold of yourself. The panic and worry are understandable, yet they are not helping Janko. No matter what happens in the coming days, the best thing you can do for him is to give him the just of your calm, loving energy. It’s great that you have a vet you like. Remember, the decisions are yours, and Janko will understand.

  16. Susan Kazara Harper on June 22, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Did you get in touch with your vet about his symptoms and his medication? Have they told you whether the fibrosarcoma has metastasized? I really, truly know how scared you are, but you can only help him by getting a hold of yourself. Deep breaths. Do you have an oncologist for Janko? You need a specialist, someone who has a lot of experience both with cancer, and with amputation. Get your information, find out what can be done, balance that with what you can afford. No, it’s not fair, but focusing on that is not helping you or him. Remember, YOU decide for him. Others have their training and their opinion, but Janko does not have an expiration date carved in stone. He’s still with you. Monday morning, new day. You can do this. You can do this for him.

    • Kim Adams on June 24, 2014 at 2:25 am

      ive been to the vet a bunch of times…im up all night watching him breath…so afraid he wont wake up with me the next morning…I dont want him to suffer but I dont want to lose him either…I tried to get an oncologist appt, but they didnt have anything til July. I feel like he may not be here come July…the past 2 days he hasnt been eating much, he drank alot yesterday and even played a little in the backyard…this morning he ate very little and puked about a half hour later…I dont want to give up on him but I know I dont have much more money to keep helping him…And that SUCKS, he shouldnt have to die bcuz I cant afford the rest of his treatment…I flip flop about the different avenues to take, do I want to go with amputation and mayb have a few more months, in which he would be miserable recovering from such an extreme procedure. Is that fair to put him thru that for my selfish reasons…Do I wait and put him down b4 he gets too bad..there are no other options…I pray every day, I even went n got holy water for him…some days its like he just doesnt feel good and he will get better and then it smacks me in the face….im going to lose my best friend…my vet is coming to the house thurs. I trust and value his oinion, he is in it to help animals with his whole heart, not for the money. If he tells me he thinks its time I will be saying goodbye to Janko..I kno its my choice and I dont like the choices ive been giving.

  17. Kim Adams on June 19, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    My GSD, Janko will b 2 in Sept. Just a week ago he started limping, like he hurt his paw. It gets worse, his leg started to twist towards the outside n it looked like his shoulder was sticking up….Off to the ER, Wednesday, I thought he slipped his leg out of socket. ..xray said no, but she found a lump on his shoulder…He needed to see a surgeon..I called my vet n got him in the next day, Thursday, since they said they could do biopsy’s n things…What a waste of critiical time…I now had to wait til Monday to see a surgeon…He does n exam n gives options n what he feels is wrong…Hemangiosarioma. .Never even heard of this..Tuesday he has MRI n biopsy, showing the mass to b 23cm x 11cm..I m devastated…im loosing my best friend…Today is Friday, but very early but I m waiting on results as my dog is going down hill fast…I dont want to make a choice until I kno if it is or isnt cancer…But I dont want him to suffer…idk what to do…he just lays around barely walks,eats or drinks…his breathing is rapid as if he just ran a marathon, but sometimes its very shallow…im hoping its the meds making him so out of it n not his life slipping away from me in my sleep….

    • Susan Kazara Harper on June 20, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Take a deep breath. I can feel your panic and that’s completely understandable, but don’t count Janko out yet. You need to get a confirmed diagnosis. It’s unusual that something like this would come on so suddenly if it’s a malignant tumor, but nothing can be ruled out. Hemangiosarcoma is cancer of the lining of the blood vessels, and while it CAN occur anywhere in the body that has blood vessels, the more common sites are the spleen and heart… big, blood working organs. Certainly it’s possible elsewhere. And yes, it’s possible the meds that he’s presently on are causing the rapid breathing and other symptoms you are seeing. You didn’t mention what he’s been given, but please phone your vet back and report these symptoms…. they may need to modify or change his medications. That rapid breathing is no good. I recommend you do that today. If hemangiosarcoma IS confirmed, you can still fight. There is a recommended chemo protocol that may apply… it’s being used more and more with this type of cancer. Called metronomic chemo. But we’ll get to that when you have your diagnosis. GIven the location and that the lump is affecting his leg, you may find that the oncologist (and please try to get an oncologist involved in this to get a complete diagnosis) recommends amputating the leg. This isn’t the end either. Any worries about this, check out http://www.tripawds.com. But please, please take a breath, get yourself together and let Janko know you’re with him and will do everything needed to help. He is young and strong, so that’s definitely on his side. Download the Dog Cancer Diet from the blog page, and assess his food. He needs real, healing food to help his body cope. Don’t hesitate to call our team on 808-568-3252 if you need to hear a real voice and go through any further information. All the best to you both.

      • Kim Adams on June 21, 2014 at 2:55 pm

        I m still freaking out…biopsy came back fibrosarcoma stage 3…now he started breathing thru his nose tonight…what could that mean…they believe that he should b put down soon. If they remove the tumor/leg, that the cancer would b back within a month. I dont want my dog recovering from a loss limb for the remainder of his time..I feel like that is just too much on him…I m so torn right now….I dont want to lose him…Its not fair..I know I cant afford the therapy, chemo/radiation…I wish I could take his place!!!

  18. Curt on May 21, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Last weekend my 2 year old yellow lab seemed perfectly normal except for the fact that he had about 5 accidents in the house over the .weekend which was very uncharacteristic. So Monday morning I called the vet to make an appointment thinking he must have a bladder infection or something of that sort. My appointment was for Wednesday morning. By that time I had noticed and mentioned to the vet that since I had originally made the appt. on Monday he had gotten kind of mopey and depressesed looking. So they ran blood test and a urine tests both came back normal. So then they said they wanted to do a thyroid test but the blood had to be sent off to another lab for that one. So we went home and waited for those results, they came back normal. By Thursday night he just laid on the floor and didn’t want to move and actually even threw up as he was just laying there and didn’t lift his head to do so. He eventually got up and went in his kennel and stayed in there the rest of the night. when I went to go get him Friday morning I had to lift one end of the kennel and almost dump him out. I eventually got him to stand up and walk outside and go to the bathroom. After that I took him back to the vef where they kept him there for the day and ran some more test like tick carried diseases and Addison’s disease., again all normal. they also redid the blood tests and found his blood sugar had dropped very significantly since Wednesday, I think they said the level should be around 120 and his was about 30. so they put him on a IV and were able to get the blood sugar level back up to normal but still no change his behavior. Since it was a Friday At the end of the day I had to pick him up and take him to emergency care since they are open nights and weekends. By the time I picked him they had to help me carry him to my vehicle and they came out to my vehicle at the.emergency clinic and took him in on a stretcher. Saturday I had gotten a couple calls from the vet saying they are not finding any reason for his comditionn and wanted to do a ultra sound. Got a call back from a tech saying the vet wanted to come In and talk to him. Sure enough the ultrasound revieled a grape fruit size tumor in his admonmen. So long story longer I had to make the hardest’ saddest decision ever and say goodbye. Again this was a 105 pound 2 year old strapping dog who exactly 2 weeks before was at the lake swimming and running around with absolutely sign of anything being wrong. I hope nobody else ever has to go through but just in case if they do I hope they come across this story and it can help them diagnose it quicker then I dead because looking back the ultrasound was $150. If I/the vet would of started there it would saved about $2,000 in other test and overnight care, etc..

    • Susan Kazara Harper on May 22, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Curt, we are so, so sorry to hear your story, and sad for your shocking loss. Thank you for sharing it, because as you said it may help someone else. It sounds like what happened occurred so quickly that there was very little you could have done even if the mass had been discovered quickly. But you did your best at every stage for your boy and he knew you were looking out for him. Please take care.

  19. gia holdridge on February 4, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    my dog died yesterday of dog cancer r.i.p hershey a black pug that was 5 was the most loving dog ever

    • Susan Kazara Harper on February 5, 2014 at 1:11 am

      Dear Gia, I am so sorry that Hershey moved on. I truly know your pain and the empty space in your heart and your home. It will take a long time to mourn, and to turn the sadness of these last months into smiles as you remember all the years of joy you shared. It really stinks, I know, to lose him after only 5 years. Perhaps there is a higher reason, but that may come later. Please don’t make his memory a sad one. When you are able to, celebrate him.

  20. Dawn Reeves on September 12, 2013 at 6:10 am

    No one can diagnose my 10 year old Cockapoo. Signs include lethargy, anorexia, weakness, subjective fever. Initial lab (which was normal 3 weeks prior, aside from globulin) shower WBC 13, Hct 33, nml platelets, albumin 1.9, globulin of 5 (had been 5.4 3 weeks before and gone unnoticed by Vet). Did abdominal u/s, found nothing but some chronic renal changes. U/a with 1+ protein, globulin electrophoresis is polyclonal. Ascites started developing. She developed respiratory distress and some purpuric type lesions on her back along the spine. Hct dropped to 26; plts stable, albumin stable. Was started on high-dose Pred for 3 doses then I stopped it bc she wasn’t better at all and I was worried about infection. Started doxy (rapid tick assay all neg). About to tap ascites but resolved (48 hours after Pred and 24 hours after doxy). So was restarted on low dose pred (anti-inflammatory dose at 0.5 mg/kg/dose). 24 hours later dramatically better. Several small nodules in her back leg – that they were unsuccessful at aspirating – have now virtually disappeared and feels like only a small lymph node.

    My fear is that she has an occult malignancy and we are only temporizing the situation


  21. BEBE4LOVE on August 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm


  22. Lisa on May 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I have 10 year old neutered male pug. he has had Addison’s disease since he was 1.5 years old. His Addison’s is well controlled with .3 ml percorten every 28 days and .5 mg. prednisone every other day. We found a mass that suddenly appeared on the sheath of his penis. I took him in the next day and the vet removed it. It came back as a Grade 3 MCT with a high micotic index. It was removed with clean margins. he was on benadryl and tagamet before we found the tumor, so we continued with it. My vet ordered Kinavet and in the mean time we did a high dosage prednisone treatment. he has now been on Kinavet for three weeks (100 mg. daily, he is 19.2 lbs.) and Apocaps (2 caps twice a day). We have found no new growths. he had bloodwork done a week ago and it was good. But last night he stopped eating. he would not take food or his pills. He throws up undigested food from nearly 24 hours ago, which makes me worry he has pancreatitis or something. My vet says to give him a break from the Kinavet and see how he does. When he last threw up it was orange, I assume from the curcumin in the Apocaps. How well does Kinavet play with Apocaps and are either contraindicated in dogs with well-controlled Addisons disease?

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on May 30, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Hi Lisa
      Sorry to hear about your pug’s mct. 🙁
      how has the response been to stopping the kinavet?
      We have not had problems with addisonian dogs btw..
      let us know,

  23. Magda Gryczmanska on May 13, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Dear Dr. Dressler

    My 11-year old greyhound developed a mole just above his elbow which grew rapidly over last couple of months and is black. I have also found a pinhead sized mole which looks exactly as the now black mole did in the beginning (mauve coloured). He chewed on the black one and when I took him to the vet he was prescribed antibiotic and cream as it looked infected and bled. It healed after a couple of days. The vet confirmed that the growth is located in the skin – she was able to put her fingers underneath. When I discussed the options with the vet who thought it could be a wart or a tumour she said that the mole was hard and therefore not suitable for biopsy. I have read on the Internet that biopsy is a standard procedure and no one mentioned that a biopsy cannot be taken from a firm growth. Should I insist?

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on May 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      Dear Magda,
      no, one can biopsy a hard mass. Perhaps she was talking about a fine needle aspirate?

  24. Lori Swanson on May 11, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Our jack Russell terrier was diagnosed with cancer under the tongue it was on the very back of his tongue underneath .Found out on A Wednesday He had his entire tongue removed on Friday we are now faced with how to get him to be able to eat. He wants to eat but the food falls right out of his mouth our vet assures us that he will figure this out any suggestions???

  25. Karen Reinhold on April 27, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    My little Pomeranian just passed away a couple of hours ago. I feel a hole has been punched in my chest. I didn’t think he had cancer. He started to not want to eat last week, but up until that time he was his usual playful self. I took him to my vet because I thought he might have gotten some fertilizer on him that my apartment put down. My vet did some blood work, and his liver results showed really high. The first vet said they couldn’t feel any lumps. They gave me some medication for his liver, but it didn’t seem to help. He would drink water, but didn’t want to eat. I took him back to the vet and they did an xray. They found a mass the size of a grapefruit. Just as we were discussing what to do, a nurse called the doctor and said my dog was dying. Within about a minute he was gone. I always took him to the vet for his regular shots etc. I just don’t know why it was never found earlier. I’m going to miss him so much!

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on May 9, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Dear karen
      I am so, so sorry to hear about your little pom..
      I really am sending you my condolences and am so sorry.
      Dr D

  26. Chris on October 20, 2012 at 7:24 am

    My family has had our dogs died from cancer. the first one was a golden lab he was about 11 years old. I remember he couldn’t eat for two weeks and i think moth or two or more after that, the vets said he had cancer but they didn’t see it when they went in the first time.
    R.I.P Luc

    Thunder my mom got remarried and he was a rotwiller he had cancer on his butt and they tried to removed it but they put him to sleep it came back.
    R.I.P Thunder

    Harley was a yellow lab we had him since he was a puppy about 2004 My dad got him for me, He was put to sleep at the age of 8 years old. He didn’t have any signs of any cancer the last two weeks i also went to hang out wit him.

    He was not feeling good this week and he was taking to the vets and this poor dog didn’t deserve to go this soon. I was hoping for two more years at least.

    R.I.P Harley

    the other dog my mom had was a rotwiller that not died from cancer but everytime he was eating it just come out the other end he couldn’t gain weight so it was a birth defect or something.
    R.I.P Bud (can’t spell his name bearrine or something like that.

  27. Elissa on October 3, 2012 at 4:38 am

    My @10 year old (rescued) female Lab, Addie, suddenly developed severe diarrhea a few days (no blood), but still very strong appetite, no vomiting, etc. Her liver numbers are always elevated a bit because of the Rimadyl she’s been on, but the vet’s second-in-command said the chilling words ‘RIDDLED WITH CANCER” yesterday, because her abdomen was enlarged. Xray showed nothing. Gums, breath, eyes are clear. Her energy is strong (even though she’s a big girl, having been a backyard breeder before she came to us). We’re now taking her to an internist DVM to figure out why the diarrhea and to see if the other vet’s diagnosis is remotely accurate. Prayers, please. She’s our big yellow baby girl.

  28. nh.hiker on September 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Our 12 year old lab passed on this night. 3 weeks ago she had a slight limp on the back right. Vet gave her some pain meds and said if she didn’t feel better in a few days, we should xray. also said its not uncommon for labs her age to have cancer and a bone break can be an indication She seemed to recover 100 % and was doing well.. this afternoon she slipped on the floor. The ER vet took xrays and she had a clean break of the femur. At first they talked about surgery and plating the break. The poor girl had endured two TPO’s on her hips at 7 months and a TPLO on her left knee at 9 years and thrived. Weve been crossing our fingers on the last knee staying healthy. When they xrayed and said it could be plateable we were overjoyed on to then have the chest xray done that showed advanced cancer. they gave her 2 months without the break which was not going to be fixed now. we know we had longer than we should with a Yellow with so much osteo trouble. She had a good 12 years and we will miss her much longer than that

  29. ES on August 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    To everyone that has a dog fighting cancer, I highly recommend K9 Immunity Plus. They are flavored wafers that you feed your dog 1-3 times a day, depending on the size of your pet. My dog was diagnosed with bone cancer in early May once we noticed his leg has swelled up and he was limping. I immediately researched and bought the supplements. So far he is doing well! We opted for no surgery or chemo since he is 12 years old and chemo weakens the immune system. We also have him on a grain-free diet and are using the Taste of the Wild brand. I researched and learned that without surgery, dogs with bone cancer live 1-2 months but my dog is entering his fourth month and is still full of energy, plays with his toys and loves to eat. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but I believe these supplements are helping keep my dog with me and everyday is an extra day that we get to spend with him.

  30. kcarabello on July 25, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Thank you Dr. D, I appreciated it.

  31. kcarabello on July 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    A few days ago I, also, had to put my lab to sleep. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make. He would have been 12 in a few days. I feel so guilty, even though, I know it was the right decision. He hardly could have walk and always he always sounded like he had to cough. He had a hard time barking the last few days. He woke up one morning and started throwing up and collapsing and couldn’t catch his breath, we rushed him to the vet, at that time his tongue was blue, they game him a steroid shot, and took x-rays and his lungs were full of cancer and she believed his hard time walking was due to cancer. We were treating him for arthrisis. I know it probably was the best gift we could of given him to make him no longer suffer, however, It is so hard. He is all I think about and wonder if there was anything else I could have done. Even at the very end, he was kissing and cuddling with me. I look back at the last few weeks and realize he wasn’t feeling well, like trouble barking, walking, and sometimes crying thru the night, we tried everything for him. But the pain and guilt are unreal. We loved him so much 🙁

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on July 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm

      Dear Kcarabello
      A little video maybe that might help for you:

      Dr D

  32. mrogers on July 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    You are right about cancer suddenly seeming to appear. Our beautiful 9 year old yellow Lab seemed fine until 3 weeks before we had to have him put to sleep. He was getting thinner and his back legs were shaky, and he was always such a big strong muscley boy. He was diagnosed with a liver tumor and a week later he could keep no food down or water. We had to make the decision not to have him suffer and starve to death in front of us. Afterward our vet felt another larger tumor in his stomach which must have grown enough to prevent digestion in just a few days. We thought we would have him at least a few years longer. We miss him so much! We are thankful he didn’t seem to suffer more than those last few days and we could all be around him and care for him that week.

  33. Ruthie Orndorff on July 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Our 7 1/2 has a 2inch tumor it is cancer I started giving her Omega 3,6,9 and Vita c
    d,e she is in no pain I took her off her diet because she lost 10 pounds in 3 months
    so I gave her back her 1 cup and just not alot of people food she is eating Squash, and green beans she is happy no pain and is feeling better can she make it my husband will not go in debt over our dog she is on her own for getting well and no steroids marty said it’s a band aide. is that ok

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on July 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      Dear Ruthie,
      I am sorry about your dog. I am not quite sure, though, what the question is. Are you asking if prednisone is okay? It can be okay…everything has both desired effects and also side effects (not desired). I might be thinking of some of the other steps in the Guide- Apocaps, Neoplasene, and others…
      Dr D

  34. aJ on April 13, 2012 at 4:22 am

    Do lots of spindle cells in a growth always mean cancer ? the vet did a needle biopsy and looked at it under the microscope yesterday and said he could see lots of spindle cells but they could turn into any type of tissue and be harmless, so he couldnt say what it was but advised having the lump removed within 2 weeks and sending it away to see if she should have chemo, he wouldnt say any more until the biopsy comes back.

    I think he was trying to not scare me too much but it has left me a bit confused as nothing i’ve read about spindle cells has been good

  35. nicole on April 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    my 11 year old dog a 140 pound lab just had this diagnosed through needle aspiration! Spindle cell Sarcoma he has another lump om right shoulder a week later almost same size it is ridiculous 🙁 It seems aggressive and fast and he is 11 and huge we are just feeding him steaks and taking a ton of walks! I am giving my dog that surgeon said he can not help the best last few months. it is hard and i keep sleeping on floor every night while my boy has the couch but I am not going to put him through unnecessary treatment to make myself feel better!

  36. Gloria Alexander on November 27, 2011 at 10:25 am

    In 2010 I wrote above about my dogs battle with Bladder cancer and that she had recoved and was cancer free. (Carboplatin/Piroxicam, 5-6 Omega 3 caps. daily) raw diet, but now I read raw is not good for dogs w/cancer.

    Unfortunately 1 year ago she got a melanoma on her tongue and had to have surgery, and with clean margins was put onthe “vaccine” Protocol. Due to my financial inability to continue with the “every 6 month” vaccine the cancer came back with a vengence. She has lumps every where. Xrays show she has 3 tumors in her lungs.Today she has begun to cough….
    She received the vaccine, which is suppose to boost the immune system. Then she was put on Palladia, for almost 2 weeks, showing no improvement. Now her oncologist gave her the first Carpoplatin treatment on Monday and this Monday, one week later, I am to continue with the Palladia.
    Dr. Dressler, please tell me what protocol you recommend as far as the chemo is concerned. What really is the drug of choice. I know I am losing my best friend, but I don’t want her to suffer. I think the chemo has effected her appetite this time. She seems to only want to eat liverwurst, I use that to put her fish caps in.

  37. Sara on November 17, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Our sweet yellow lab Ben was diagnosed with what we believe to be hemangiosarcoma. He was seen at the vet in April due to lethargy, not eating and just “not acing himself” for one day. One day. Bloodwork showed low platelet levels, abdominal xray showed a very large tumor on his spleen and another large growth near the liver. I was not at all prepared for this. At 11.5 we decided not to do surgery, I scoured the internet and learned that 2/3 of splenic masses in large breed dogs were sarcoma and that surgery offered a mean survival of 1-3 months. It was a gutwrenching decision not to do surgery. We had another 6 months w/ him – he passed peacefully on October 30. Not sure why I’m posting other than to share Ben’s story and learn as much as I can about canine cancer. He left us too soon. I’m struggling with grief and guilt…missing my best friend.

    • DemianDressler on November 23, 2010 at 6:21 pm

      Dear Sara,
      so sorry to hear this sad news. Thinking of you.

  38. MMN on June 21, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Research Curcumin. It stops cancer growth, and is miraculous.
    Suzanne Summers even wrote about it in her book Knockout….

  39. gloria alexander on January 20, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I too feel it is extrememly important to no have any grain…my dog was diagnosed with bladder cancer 2 years ago last September. God knows how long she had it before I realized she had blood in her urine. She had 8 rounds of chemo as well as Piroxicam daily. She is still the Piroxicam. I had her on Hills Cancer ND at the time…high fat is very important…no, no, no carbohydrates…NONE…NO PEAS, AND NO CARROTS…turns to sugar…bad carbs. ONLY BROCCOLI OR GREEN BEANS. I supplemented her and still do with 4,000 units of Omega 3,6,9. 1 Mannose cap, 1 cranberry cap, this helps to prevent the urinary infections.
    I believe it is truly a miracle that she is still cancer free, I am so, so lucky to have her….I treasure every moment I have with her. She is the glue that holds me together through life.
    I now have her on only raw ground beef,(once in a while cooked chicken) I buy the best I can, mix with 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese, 1 1/2 tsp. of wheat germ, 1/3 can of salmon or fresh salmon I grill and only a hand full of Orijen kibble—grain free for the crunch she needs for her teeth. NO NO GRAINS!!!!

  40. sandra lovitz on January 20, 2010 at 9:06 am

    All of you should try Transfer4Life supplements. This makes the dogs
    already amazing immune system work five times better…all the steroids, radiation, chemo, accelerate the situation. These supplements are by 4LIfeProducts. http://www.4life.com ….this is not your typical “western” method of treating cancer. One thing is what all vets recommend.. take your animal off of ALL GRAINS. I am currently
    doing this. My dog had a tumor removed on his leg 8 months ago…
    so far.. I don’t know if this will work, but I am hopeful and will not subject my animal to the cruelty of chemo and radiation.

    • Dr. Dressler on January 22, 2010 at 10:01 pm

      Dear Sandra,
      I was interested in checking out, but could find no data in the portion of the site tabbed “science”. Can you provide the readers with some objective information about this product? Specifically it’s application to cancer (preferably dog cancer, but human is okay too..).
      They would be very interested to know!
      Dr D

  41. eva on January 20, 2010 at 8:14 am

    My 9 1/2 yr old Rottie, Boots has lymphoma. We didn’t notice until he started losing weight rapidly. He is on prednisone to shrink the lymphoma, It has worked a bit, he’s gained a little bit of weight this week. We opted for no chemo. It’s also in his blood. He’s doing ok, he has a good appetite & still runs at the park. We take our 3 dogs to the park every day…if it doesn’t rain too much. We’ll keep him with us till he doesn’t feel well. He loves people & has always been very confident. I’ve been giving him more omega 3 & vit c also. I am going to make sure my other 2 dogs have regular check up, they’re both 5yrs old.

  42. phillip on January 19, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Susan, Thank you for your message and kind remarks. My male Golden
    retrievers name is Gibson. He is 7 years old. I’m from Garden city,
    Michigan, in Wayne county. I’m not exactly sure what Apocaps is, but
    I’ll look into it. Feel free to email me. psdouglas141@juno.com
    God bless Phillip

  43. Susan on January 19, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Phil, I feel for you. If you can get the mix of ingredients contained in Apocaps, please try them. Our boy did so well on them. I can’t help but wonder if you can get to another vet who would be willing to try surgery. If your dog is getting weaker, surgery won’t be an option much longer. But you have to decide how you feel about it. If a vet understands you want to try to remove all or part of the growth to give your dog relief, knowing the risks, your opinion should be respected. Your dog (I don’t know his/her name) may not make it out of surgery, but then again, it may. It’s a fine line and a scary decision. Bless your heart, I’m thinking of you both. Please let us know your dog’s name so we can send some special thoughts out.
    Bottom line, what is your dog telling you? You know him or her better than anyone. I think the thing we all hate the most is to think that our dog is holding on just for us. But when you look in those eyes you’ll know what he or she wants. Without a doubt, your dog knows how much you love.

  44. Susan on January 19, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    To everyone out there helping their dogs fight cancer – – I’m with you. Don’t stop. Don’t stop questioning and fighting and doing everything you can. Sometimes our wonderful vets look at the inevitability of a disease and approach us with the “it’s kinder to realize the truth now than to live in false hope” attitude. But you know what? Our Shadow was given 2-3 weeks to live, and we had seven wonderful months of him being very happy, active and loved. Our vet was amazed that he was doing so well. Shadow still left us much too soon, but he taught us to learn all about a good diet, natural supplements, and making sure he had joy around him every day. Please read Dr. Dressler’s book – the knowledge is priceless for all our animals, not just those with a diagnosis. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. When your vet gives you an opinion, ask for a test to show you the proof. If your gut feels that you want to know more but you don’t want to question your wonderful vet – QUESTION. You are the only voice your dog has, and any vet worth the qualification should respect your need to KNOW.
    For those of us who have loved and lost, the fight continues. Stay on board. Let’s help everyone else out there with encouragement, love, and as much support of Dr. Dressler’s research as possible. Dog cancer should not be a death sentence. Humans are beating the odds because of knowledge; early detection and good treatment. Our dogs can do the same. My Shadow taught me so much, and I will not let him be a single chapter in my life. He’ll be here to help me help others.

  45. phillip on January 19, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Dr. Dressler,

    Months ago, I took my golden retriever in to have a lump in his abdomine
    checked out. My vet told me to keep an eye on it after his examination. He
    thought that the lump was most likely a non cancerous tumor. After a couple
    months went by, I noticed that the growth had got quite a bit bigger, so I took
    my dog in again. My vet tried to use a needle test to try to extract a sample,
    but the growth was so firm, that he could not get the needle to penetrate, so
    he made an incision instead. After viewing the growth from inside, he told me
    that my dog had a growth called fibrosing streatitis myositis. I was then sent
    to a specialist who did a much larger incision to extract some inner samples
    of the growth to be sent out to a lab. The biopsy came back as spindle cell
    sarcoma. A surgury was recommended to remove the tumor, but I was told
    it would be risky because of the tumors size and location. I decided not to have
    the surgury performed. Weeks have passed now, and the tumor is quite huge
    and firm. It fills in both sides of my dogs abdomine, and underneath. His hind
    leg is now suffering from swelling and lameness. Because the tumor is seeking
    more territory, it is now pressing against his organs and stomach, causing total
    lack of appetite, and the ability to hold solids down. My vet recommended a
    half cup of ensure twice a day. I also add some ground up chicken or beef to
    the ensure. I have to totally feed him with a spoon, then holding his mouth some
    what shut se he does not spit the food out. He is also losing weight quite rapid.
    (I forgot to mention something earlier). Please read on. I was told that the tumor
    is now starting to press against my dogs areas, that will soon effect his ability
    to urinate and pass a bowel movement. This is the latest from my conventional vet.
    My dog will not eat on his own anymore, but he is drinking water. I’ve tried Artemisinin,
    cantron, milk thistle, proteo enzymes, IP-6 Inositol, liquid herb detoxifiers, multiple
    vitamins, fish oil, and so on. I considered giving him neoplasene taken orally, but
    was told that neoplasene could cause complications because of the tumors size,
    and possibly leave a hollow hole once the tumor was attacked. The cancer is far
    along, and I’m feeling like my options are running out. I’m considering 2 last options.
    Apicot seeds, B17 along with B15, or Essiac tea capsules, ( Ojibwa herbal blend),
    or something from the cancer fighting strategies site. I would deeply apprieciate
    your opinion on these options, and my general email. I’m also concerned that
    this form of cancer may be so far along at this time, that no magic bullet or
    supplement will work, and that maybe I should just see my vet to give him a
    peaceful exit, but at the same time, If i can find something out there that will
    shrink the tumor and give my dog a little longer to live, It’s worth pursuing.
    If not, I have to say that I’ve at least given a good fight concerning my dog.

  46. Patti on January 19, 2010 at 6:29 am

    My yellow Labrador Retriever, Ian, was also taken by hemangiosarcoma at age 11. At the advice of the vet at the time, we opted for no chemotherapy. I then acquired Ian’s half-brother, Conor, (the result of cryogenic artificial insemination). Conor is also a yellow Labrador Retriever. His cruciate ligaments blew out in both knees at 18 months, then he developed iris cysts and was diagnosed with mast cell cancer at age 9. As much as I hate to admit it, it just seems like the entire gene pool of many of these breeds is now corrupt. It’s heartbreaking. Where did all of these maladies come from all of a sudden? Is it the flea/tick preventatives? Vaccines? Foods?

    • Dr. Dressler on January 22, 2010 at 10:43 pm

      Dear Patti
      well, to be honest I devoted the first part of my book to answering that question. Aside from the obvious breeding and in-breeding issues (it may be time to start thinking about getting away from propagating certain breeds…you heard it here first folks and don’t start throwing tomatoes quite yet), we live in civilization. Part and parcel of this choice and inevitability are the diseases of civilization. We are seeing the effects of modern society on our dogs as a reflection of ourselves on earth.
      Dr D

  47. Anita on January 19, 2010 at 4:06 am

    The last quarter of life is too late to be doing these tests. I’d say the last half of a dog’s life is more appropriate. My dog, Casey, was a yellow Labrador Retriever who died at the age of 8 after a 2 1/2 year battle with mast cell cancer (diagnosed when she was 5 1/2, and which is not what killed her) and hemangiosarcoma (diagnosed August 2009 when I found a lump on her neck — she collapsed on December 13, 2009, and was euthanized). Casey was on chemo (cyclophosphamide, Piroxicam) and had had a clean ultrasound on October 3rd. Her expected life span was something like 12-14 years. She was a Therapy Dog at Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati. It was a huge loss to a lot of people when she died. I am now writing a book on her life to raise awarness of hemangiosarcoma.

    Anita Eisthen

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