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

Articles by Demian Dressler, DVM

Graviola Not Recommended For Dog Cancer

Graviola (Annona muricata) is a tropical tree that has been touted as a useful cancer supplement.  It is also called corossol or soursop. Graviola does have medical potential and is used as a medicine in certain parts of the world.  The fruit is also commonly eaten. The problem is that Graviola contains both medical compounds…

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Testing for Mast Cell Tumor Spread: Buffy Coat?

Mast cell tumors occur commonly in the dog. There are three basic grades of mast cell tumor (Grade 1, 2 and 3).  The Grade of the mast cell tumor is useful because it gives the veterinarian or oncologist an idea of how aggressive the mast cell tumor will be. Another way of talking about this…

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Disruptive Stress and Dog Cancer

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…

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Guardian Versus Dog Lover in Dog Cancer

There is a big difference between loving a dog and being a dog guardian. Guardianship implies being a protector.  There is vigilance, resourcefulness, and problem solving mixed with love.  Being a dog lover is just enjoying your relationship with your dog. Guardianship is required for dealing with canine cancer.  Being a dog lover is not…

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Innovations in Dog Cancer Care

Cancer may be the toughest adversary in medicine today. When a dog lover is faced with a dog cancer diagnosis, one of the most common questions is, “Are there any other options?”  Many guardians are urgently looking for options beyond what seems to exist in conventional medical care today. For this reason, The Dog Cancer…

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When Infection Looks Like Cancer

Many times cancer can be misdiagnosed as infection in dogs. How does this happen?  Cancer diagnosis is not as strait forward as it may seem. The reason for this is that we do not always have a simple test for internal cancers.  The standard of care in testing for cancer is a biopsy.  To get…

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Carcinoma of the Anal Sac, part 2

In the last post, anal sac carcinoma was discussed, including diagnosing these malignant tumors in the dog.  In this post, we will cover more on treatments and some data concerning outcomes. If a guardian is coping with a diagnosis of canine anal sac carcinoma, often major questions arise soon after the news is received.  Chemotherapy? …

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Carcinoma of the Anal Gland

One of the less common cancers is carcinoma of the anal gland. Carcinoma of the anal gland occurs on the rear end of dogs, and are found on the anus, in it, or on the edge where the haired skin starts.  Sometimes they can be found only by doing a rectal exam, which is a…

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Critical Question when Weighing Dog Cancer Chemotherapy Options

Many Guardians are faced with difficult decisions when facing a dog cancer diagnosis.  One of the toughest is whether to choose a treatment that seems more aggressive than others. A guardian should first get an idea of whether the expectation of the treatment is worse than the treatment.  Many times dogs receiving chemotherapy treatment do…

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Chubby Golden Retriever Has Less Cancer Protection

I was talking to one of my clients today in the exam room.  She owns an awesome Golden Retriever named Baloo.   Like his namesake in the movie “The Jungle Book,” Baloo is happy, friendly, goofy and….chubby. I started telling Baloo’s owner about the cancer rate in the breed. It is estimated that around 2/3…

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What is a scar revision?

When a veterinarian or oncologist diagnoses canine cancer, often a surgery is done to remove the cancer cells. Surgery remains one of the cornerstones of cancer treatment in dogs. With surgery, if all things go very well, your veterinary surgeon may be able to completely remove the cancer.  This may mean a cure is reached,…

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My Homeopathic Vet and Cancer

A reader of this blog asked a provocative question with a few different parts. Let’s look at it more closely to help all the guardians dealing with a dog cancer diagnosis. First, he wrote that his Golden Retriever (the number one breed for canine cancer now) is diagnosed with cancer. Next, he wrote that the…

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My Homeopathic Veterinarian and Dog Cancer

A reader of this blog asked a provocative question with a few different parts. Let’s look at it more closely to help all the guardians dealing with a dog cancer diagnosis. First, he wrote that his Golden Retriever (the number one breed for canine cancer now) is diagnosed with cancer. Next, he wrote that the…

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Melanoma Vaccine for Amelanotic Melanoma?

An interesting question came up recently. A guardian has a dog who is afflicted with amelanotic melanoma.  This is a special kind of cancer.  Normally, melanomas have pigment in them, and thus they are dark. However, there is a more rare and odd kind of this cancer that lacks the pigment. Melanomas can occur in…

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How Was This Not Found Earlier?

For Helen, Hunter, Guardians coping with dog cancer, and their dogs. Cancer seems to sneak up on us often. Many times, Guardians will wonder how it is possible that such a horrible disease could have been brewing while the dog was acting completely normal.  And, how is it possible that the vet missed it during…

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A Big Picture Viewpoint

The recent earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan can teach us a lot. I live on Maui.  We had a little tsunami damage here from the same quake that has created the horror show in Japan.  Now we face the potential of radiation exposure, depending on how the nuclear leak turns out. This is nothing compared…

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Kidney Supplements For Dog Cancer

Cancer of the kidneys can be very hard, both for you and for your dog.  This is actually a rare cancer, so I hope some information here can help. Let’s look at this topic.  To understand what happens with cancers of the dog kidney, it is important to understand what the kidneys normally do. Just…

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Grief: Not A Four Letter Word

Let’s face it.  In the world of dog cancer, grief is part of the deal. But, the truth is that it is often ignored.  Honestly, when many of us hear the word “grief”, we kind of turn away and try not to think about it.  “Let’s deal with this.”  “Let’s get the job done.”  “How…

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How Do I know The Right Course of Treatment, part 2

In the last post we looked at the information you need to gather about surgery, chemotherapy and radiation for your dog when deciding on a treatment plan. But as you know, the choices do not stop there. As a Guardian you also need to decide what to do. Since you are your dog’s primary advocate,…

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How Do I know The Right Course of Treatment

The decisions surrounding dog cancer treatment can be complicated. This is not only because of the treatments themselves. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation have multiple steps. Diet and supplements are not necessarily strait forward either. Steps to change a dog’s brain chemistry to a cancer fighting state take some doing as well. Boosting life quality needs…

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Time and the Joys of Life in Dog Cancer

We are very busy in modern life.  It seems as time goes on, the faster it speeds by. Dog cancer is connected in many ways to time.  There is the question that is most pressing: “How much more time do I have?”. This is an important piece of information to get, along with the odds…

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A Silver Lining in Dog Cancer

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,…

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Herbs in a Dog Cancer Diet?

You would be amazed at what are in herbs. For all readers with a “conventional only” medicine approach (anti “alternative), read on.  You may be surprised.  For you “alternative only” people (anti “conventional”),  this will be right up your alley. For those of you with a rational, discerning, anti-bias viewpoint, congratulations.  You are a full-spectrum…

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A Useful Discussion for Dogs With Cancer

I received a question recently that involves a common situation for guardians coping with a dog cancer diagnosis. So, to benefit everyone, I am including my answers here, in the hopes that you can apply the information to how you manage your dog with cancer. This case is Almond, who is a 10 year female…

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But Will Palladia Work?

I recently received a question about whether the chemotherapy drug Palladia would work for a dog with cancer. This guardian wrote that her dog was breathing hard, all night, and that X-rays showed the cancer had spread to the lungs. She was asking as to whether the drug Palladia would work for her dog. In…

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Steps to Help Avoid Canine Cancer? Part 2

In the last post, we looked at some controllable factors that can be used to decrease risk of cancers in dogs. These were adopting pets that have lower genetic risks of cancers, keeping dogs lean, and opting for spaying between the second and third heats (we gain mammary cancer protection while also avoiding osteosarcoma risk…

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Steps to Help Avoid Canine Cancer?

Several readers recently have been asking the same question.  Maybe because canine cancer education is spreading, and the fact that canine cancer is so common these days. Here it is: “What can I do to prevent cancer in my dog?” Simple question, complex answer.  I’ll do my best here, and maybe do a few more…

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Chemosensitizers

We need longer life expectancies in dogs with cancer. When guardians hear the statistics about dog cancer survival, they are often shocked at how grim things sound.  And to be honest, they are grim. For this reason, we need to start looking “outside the box” of existing conventional cancer care. This was one of the…

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An Overview of What Else Can I Do?

The most common question I receive is: My dog has cancer.  What else can I do? Well, this is a very short question that needs a very long answer. I will do my best to give the big categories here. First, get the data you need.  A real guardian needs information to make aware decisions. …

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Why Rescue Chemotherapy Is Not As Good

Cancer cells are really quite amazing, but not in a good way. They have these little pumps in their outer wall (the cell membrane).  They go by a couple of different names, but the easiest one to remember is MDR. MDR stands for Multi-Drug Resistance. The reason these pumps are so amazingly bad is that…

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