Coping with dog cancer is extremely stressful.
Certain life events, like coping with dog cancer in your loved family member, create such stress that it actually disrupts normal thinking. This is called “disruptive stress.”
This is very natural and common.
However, disruptive stress has been shown to have a real negative effect. Disruptive stress creates certain changes in the mind that can interfere with clear decision making. Clear decision making in canine cancer is critical in improving life quality and longevity for your dog.
When a person is experiencing a disruptive stress, the brain has the tendency to shift to a certain type of thinking. This kind of thinking relies on what are called “rules of thumb”.
A rule of thumb is exactly what is sounds like. It is a general guiding principle that uses very little incoming information to create a decision. A rule of thumb is often created in someone’s mind based on little actual data or awareness of the situation at hand.
This can be problematic when coping with dog cancer. A guardian is suddenly placed in a situation where they are forced to make complex decisions involving many factors.
When the mind experiences disruptive stress and rules of thumb are used for these decisions, errors can be made.
Here are some rules of thumb:
- “Antibiotics are poison.”
- “Diet has no effect on diseases”
- “Chemotherapy is bad.”
- “Acupuncture has no effect.”
- “If a lump does not change size, it is safe.”
- “Nutraceutical supplements have no effect on the body.”
- “Lifestyle has no effect on the immune system.”
These are all beliefs that, as generalities, are false.
Information gathering is central to making decisions in dog cancer. We cannot process information properly when we are experiencing disruptive stress.
For this reason, several techniques in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide are designed to lessen disruptive stress. These include Three Deep Breaths, Fire Bellows Breathing, meditation, Cheat Day, Massage Message, Pledge of Thanks, and Life Story.
When these are used, they help lessen disruptive stress to help you be the best Guardian you can be.
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.