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

A Silver Lining in Dog Cancer

Updated: October 2nd, 2018

This is a blog about dog cancer.  As such, you are probably here looking for some advice.  Something useful to help this dire predicament you are in with your loved dog.

Most often I will write about some outside the box approach to treating your dog’s disease.  Maybe a new therapy that is coming up, or a supplement or some other clinical tool that you can use to help beat the odds.  This was the drive leading to The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, Apocaps, the Coping Guide and the monthly webinars,.

But there is more to this picture than trying to keep your dog healthy and happy.

What do I mean?  I mean you.  What is going on with you, as a dog guardian, as a person dealing with something that it seems has no solution.

You are all in different stages of the dog cancer Iditarod.  The Iditarod is a grueling, 1,161 mile long dog sled race that takes place in Alaska.  It is long and it is hard.  It requires ongoing emotional strength and fortitude to continue in harsh, extreme conditions.

Coping with dog cancer is indeed like the Iditarod.  Those of you on this road know what I mean.

I was speaking with a man today with a Lab recently diagnosed with bladder cancer (transitional cell carcinoma).  He said something that I should share with all of you in this journey.  It went something like this:

“Now that I know, every day becomes more precious.  I have always loved my dog.  But now, each day I have with my dog is important.”

This is the silver lining of dog cancer.  Although a huge, dark cloud overshadows much, you may be able to find a hint of silver somewhere.  Each day is important. Each 24 hours is filled with many minutes and many more moments.

Each moment is a chance to share your world with your loved dog.

I would like to leave you with a quote.  This is from Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor, about his time in a concentration camp.  I hope you find it comforting.

“…everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”


Dr D

Leave a Comment

  1. Andrew on February 21, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Kerry, that touched me deeply. Thank you !!

  2. Laura J. Jones on January 3, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Hi Dr. Dressler,

    I have stumbled upon your blog by googling symptoms of an ending to remission for dogs with lymphoma.

    My 3 year old Beagle, Chloe, was diagnosed 9 days ago and began chemo using the LSpar, Prednisone and Lomustine treatment combo. We had staging done and she was at IVb. We don’t know if she has T Cell or B Cell yet.

    She had the LSpar on Friday and by Monday when she returned to the oncologist, they said there were no lymph nodes to measure and she was off to a great start. Today is Thursday and I am starting to see a decline in her activity level. She had 35 mg of Lomustine Monday.

    I’m concerned because it was almost as if overnight, she lost 20 pounds in her neck, stomach and back legs. The next morning after the LSpar, her collar was so loose on her neck, I couldn’t believe how different she looked!

    Today, I’m starting to see that her back left leg seems to be swelling and it looks like she may have a small limp even. She is sleeping and her eyes are not quite as “White” as they were this past weekend either.

    I’m afraid to take her back to the doctor so soon as she was just there 4 days ago and I have spent every single penny on her initial treatments, so I couldn’t afford more tests even if they said they were necessary. Should I be worried about this? Could this mean she has the type of cancer that is resistant to treatment? I love her so much and she is just too young for this to have happened to her. I’m also trying to stop blaming myself for her developing this, but I can’t help but feel that I exposed her to something that brought the lymphoma on. Any advice is much appreciated.

    Warm Regards,
    Laura & Chloe

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on January 29, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Dear Laura,
      fluid accumulation can be from several different causes. Sometimes there is a large number of cancer cells dying from the chemo, which can cause inflammation. Other times, allergic reactions can do it. And still other times, it can point to problems in the heart, or problems related to blood protein. I would at least try to get a recheck exam done to see if anything can be done cheaply. Maybe this will help too:
      The Dog Cancer Survival Guide also has an index of possible funding sources.
      I hope this helps
      Dr D

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