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

How to Use the Mitotic Index to Make Decisions About Mast Cell Tumors

Is using the mitotic index mast cell tumor diagnosis useful? In some cases, not as much as others. But when it’s useful, it’s REALLY useful!

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Tripawds: Community Forum & Help for Three Legged Dogs

This amazing site offers lots of help for three legged dogs. A must-join for anyone who is facing osteosarcoma or amputation.

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Is Your Dog Eating Grass, Vomiting, and Getting Sick?

Is your dog eating grass, vomiting and getting sick? Could be the pesticides and herbicides — war weapons — we use on our green spaces.

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Are Overweight Dogs at a Higher Risk for Cancer?

Are overweight dogs at a higher risk for cancer? Yes. It turns out that being chubby isn’t nearly as cute as we once thought.

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Food and Nutrition for Dogs with Mast Cell Tumors

Dr. Dressler’s Dog Cancer Diet is appropriate for most dogs, but dogs with mast cell tumors need a few modifications. Read this if your dog needs a low-histamine diet.

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Worried about Oral or Nasal Tumors? Here’s What (and What Not) to Do

Checking for Oral and Nasal Tumors The mouth and nose are truly the command center of the dog. Remember that as much as our dogs love us, their DNA is programmed from centuries of survival in the wild.  Their senses are many millions of times more acute than ours.  Naturally, they instinctively guard these tools.…

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Checking Your Dog for Anal Gland Cancer

Unseen Does Not Mean Undetectable It’s great to develop a habit of performing regular check-ups of our dog’s body by physically running our hands down their legs, looking in their ears, and sneaking in some extra neck rubs while we feel for lumps and bumps. Some dangers however, develop internally. Knowing how to detect these…

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Checking Your Dog’s Legs for Signs of Osteosarcoma

Taking it in Stride: Those Amazing Legs Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) is a common cancer in our dogs, and it usually develops in the long bones of the legs and the ankle or hock joint.  It is more common in some breeds than others, and although there are certain reasons a dog is predisposed to bone…

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Is It OK to Use Leftover Drugs If My Dog Gets Sick?

Should you use those old prescriptions if your dog’s symptoms return? It turns out you probably shouldn’t. Dr. Stacy Branch, our resident pharmacologist, explains why.

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Metronomic Chemotherapy for Dogs with Cancer

What is Metronomic Chemotherapy? Metronomic chemotherapy is a relatively new type of chemotherapy that uses low doses of oral (pulse) chemotherapy given on a continuous treatment schedule. Since it is given daily or every other day, the chemotherapy is given at lower doses then typical chemotherapy, often with a reduced toxicity profile. That reduction in…

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Prepare for Emergencies with Senior or Ill Dogs

The Call We Don’t Want to Make This is a tough one to write, and it will probably be a tough one to read.  But part of being my dog’s champion, guardian, friend, and ‘parent’ means I have to be prepared to help. We all do, like it or not. It’s been over three years…

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Winter Dangers for Dogs with Cancer

It’s Always Something Even as I begin writing this post I sigh at the title “Winter Dangers”.  It just seems that everywhere we turn there is a threat! And constantly being on guard can be exhausting! So I offer this to you both from the perspective of caring for your dog with cancer, who may…

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Checking your Dog for Testicular Cancer

One for the Boys Intact males (those who have not been neutered) may, in later years be more prone to bladder, prostate or testicular cancer.  Dr. Ettinger’s post “Spay/neuter and the association with cancer in dogs: part one” discusses the pros and cons of neutering in more detail, and is a wonderful read. When my…

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How Important Are All Those Expensive Diagnostic Dog Cancer Tests?

You could easily spend over $1,000 just to diagnose your dog’s cancer. Are any of those tests worth it? Which ones?

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Common Cancer Mistake: Starting Your Dog with Lymphoma on Prednisone Too Soon

It happens all the time, so don’t beat yourself up if you’ve done it. But if you can, avoid the use of steroids (such as prednisone) before chemotherapy, or before the diagnosis of lymphoma is confirmed. Now, I’m not bashing prednisone across the board. Steroids are used for many things in veterinary medicine. For example,…

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Primary Lung Tumors, part 2

Unlike people where lung cancer is one of the top five cancers and the leading cause of cancer related deaths worldwide, primary lung cancer is very rare in dogs. Dogs are often diagnosed with lung cancer as in incidental finding during a routine geriatric screen. Lung Cancer Symptoms in Dogs Often dogs have NO clinical signs,…

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Uncommon Tumors: Primary Lung Tumors, Part 1

As a boarded oncologist, I see not only the common cancers in dogs like lymphoma, mast cell tumors, osteosarcomas, hemangiosarcomas, and mammary cancers. But I also see the uncommon ones. Recently I have been seeing more of the uncommon tumors, and what’s even strange to me, I am seeing more that one within a few…

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Spay/neuter and the association with cancer in dogs: part three

“Reproduction is a risky affair.” “Reproduction is a risky affair” is the attention-getting opening line in one of the studies I’ll review today (Hoffman, 2013). But before we go through the new studies, let’s review my previous blogs on this topic. They have been generating some controversy, and with good reason — this is a…

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Spay/neuter and the association with cancer in dogs: part two

Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology) continues her discussion on how spaying and neutering our dogs can increase their risk for certain aggressive cancers.

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Chemotherapy for Osteosarcoma

In my last two posts about osteosarcoma (OSA), we discussed treatments that address the tumor affecting the bone. We discussed amputation, Stereotactic RadioSurgery (SRS) like Cyberknife, palliative radiation, and limb-spare surgery. While these treatments are important for the malignant tumor destroying the bone, metastasis (cancer spread) is inevitable.  So even if the primary tumor is…

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Osteosarcoma: when amputation is not an option, part 2

In my last post, I went through some “alternatives-to-amputation,” including palliative radiation and limb-spare surgery. Now we will review stereotactic radiosurgery. Stereotactic RadioSurgery: radiation instead of surgery RadioSurgery is used INSTEAD of surgery, when traditional surgery with a scalpel blade is impossible or would cause unacceptable side effects to the patient (for example, in brain…

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Low Dose Chemotherapy Better for Canine Hemangiosarcoma?

Chemotherapy in dogs is normally given at doses that are as high as possible.  This is to try to rid the body of as many cancer cells as we can, although some dogs will have occasional side effects related to the use of conventional chemotherapy. For this reason, there is interest in using lower doses…

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Osteosarcoma: when amputation is not an option

In my most recent blog, we discussed amputation for limb osteosarcoma (OSA), the most common local treatment for the primary tumor in the bone. We discussed that amputation is not an easy decision for pet Guardians, even though most older dogs with average, moderate arthritis usually do well on three legs. If my clients are…

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Osteosarcoma and Amputation: myths and facts

In my last blog, I gave my recommendations about osteosarcoma (OSA) work up. Now it’s time to talk about treatment. Conventional treatment for OSA targets: The primary tumor with local treatment (surgery and/or radiation) The likely micrometastasis with systemic treatment (chemotherapy) Today, I am going to talk about amputation. The Goal The main goal of…

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Dr. Sue’s Recommended Tests for Osteosarcoma Diagnosis and Work up (pre-surgical biopsy optional)

As I discussed in the previous blog, the first sign of osteosarcoma (OSA) that a pet Guardian sees is usually limping, or refusing to put weight on the leg involved. This is because bone tumors hurt, especially when the bone bears weight — so your dog will be lame or will limp. You may see…

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Osteosarcoma, part one

Osteosarcoma (OSA) is the most common bone cancer in dogs, accounting for about 85% of bone cancer cases. The bottom line on OSA is that metastasis is a problem: 90% of patients will die from the metastasis within the 1st year when amputation is the only treatment. Those are grim statistics, but it is the…

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Mast cell tumor treatment: chemotherapy

In my last blog, I discussed surgery and radiation for MCT. Today we will focus on chemotherapy. Which dogs need chemo? Your dog may not even need chemotherapy. In many dogs that I see with MCT, I do not recommend chemotherapy at all. This is because chemotherapy is not as effective as surgery and radiation…

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Mast cell tumor treatment: surgery and radiation

We’ve spent a number of recent blogs understanding how MCT behave, how to confirm the diagnosis, MCT grade, what staging tests to consider, and what the prognostic predictors are. Now let’s talk treatment. First, let’s think about the three main conventional tools oncologist use to treat tumors: surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. In general, it is…

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Beyond Mast Cell Tumor Grade: Other Prognostic Factors

In my last blog on mast cell tumor (MCT) grade, I discussed that grade is one of the most important prognostic factors, or predictors, for dogs with MCT. And I also discussed the challenges of using the grade as a predictor: a good percentage of grade 2 MCT behave more aggressively than the rest of…

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All about Mast Cell Tumor Grade

Knowing the grade of your dog’s mast cell tumor (MCT) is important, because the grade tells us a lot about how serious a case your dog has, and what the likely prognosis or outcome will be. Tumor grade cannot be discovered via aspirate. MCT grade is determined by a boarded pathologist at a lab, who…

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