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

How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Cancer for Sure? Read Chapter 9: How We Diagnose and Stage Cancer

How do you know if your dog has cancer? Well, no one can tell by look or feel. You have to test. Learn how veterinarians diagnose and stage cancer.

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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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The Most Important Question in Dog Cancer

What’s the most important question in dog cancer care? You’ll be surprised at what Dr. Dressler has to say.

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Video: Lump on Dog? Here’s What You Need to Know

Don’t wait — aspirate. Dr. Susan Ettinger helped Dr. Andy Roark with this excellent, informative video about WHY we should ask our vets to test each bump or lump.

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Treating Dogs with Cancer As If They’re My Own

Can I treat a dog in my care as if he were my own?

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Don’t Forget Your Dog at the Veterinarian

When booking a new consultation with me, pet Guardians often ask if it is necessary to bring their dog to the appointment. From their point of view, they are often concerned about the stress of the visit on their pet, or maybe the travel itself. But from my point of view, a consultation without the…

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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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Using the Full Spectrum Approach: Alternative and Complementary Therapies for Dogs with Cancer

When my dog was first diagnosed with cancer I spent time every day looking for help for him.  It’s what we do.  My vet was wonderful, and together we worked out a great conventional treatment plan.  But I wanted more. I wanted everything that had any chance of helping. Sound familiar? In addition to terrific…

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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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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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How Old Is Too Old to Treat Dog Cancer?

I hear this question a lot: “Isn’t my dog too old to treat for cancer?” The answer is: No! Age is not a disease. I have many 12-plus year old patients that are otherwise healthy and strong. They may have some early kidney disease, a heart murmur, thyroid disease, arthritis, but they are still good…

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Smoking, Second-Hand Smoke, Third-Hand Smoke and Dog Cancer

We are all becoming more aware of healthy nutrition and lifestyle.  Much of what was deemed innocuous in our grandparents time is being exposed as risky. We’ve known for decades that smoking is hazardous to the smoker, and the term ‘second-hand smoke’ soon followed as science discovered that you didn’t need to smoke to be…

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Should My Regular Veterinarian Give My Dog Chemotherapy?

Here’s a touchy subject for us to look at: why can’t my regular veterinarian give my dog chemotherapy? Do I really need to see a specialist? I am often asked these questions by clients, and my answer is always the same:  no. That might sound harsh, but let’s look at this a little closer. If…

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Dog Cancer Mistake - Paying for Tests You Don't Need

Common Dog Cancer Mistake: Doing Too Many Diagnostic Tests Before Seeing the Oncologist

When you first hear your dog has cancer, you may panic and feel that everything must be done, and now. It’s true, cancer is an urgent situation, and it’s a great idea to find out as much information about your dog’s cancer as is possible. But how many diagnostic tests should you have your vet…

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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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What’s my dog’s prognosis?

Once you have been told the horrible news that your dog has been diagnosed with cancer, so many thoughts start racing around your head. One of the common questions I get is, “How long will my dog live, Doc?” Despite all my training and experience as an oncologist, this is so hard to answer. During…

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DogCancer.TV: Dog Cancer Diagnosis Not An Immediate Death Sentence

Dr. Dressler and Dr. Ettinger discuss how anticipatory grief may affect you and your decisions and how to be proactive when dealing with a dog cancer diagnosis.

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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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DNA Discoverer Watson Echoes Our Dog Cancer Approach

Its all over the news wires. James Watson, the Nobel Prize winner for his work in helping discover DNA’s double helix, is repeating what we have been been advocating for years in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide and this blog. One of the best ways to help deal with cancer is by targeting a mechanism…

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Why I love being an oncologist

In my first blog, I wrote about that many people I meet cannot believe I am an oncologist for dogs and cats. I know it sounds weird, maybe even corny, but I am so thankful for my job. As the year comes to a close, I have thought a lot recently about how grateful I…

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How Long to “Watch and Wait”

Last week I told you about two recent cases in which the tumors were too big for surgery by the time they came to me. I also promised to give you some guidelines about how long to wait when your vet says “let’s just monitor this.” Too many lumps and bumps are being monitored for…

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Waiting and watching — but for how long?

Have you been told to “just watch” a lump or mass on your dog by a veterinarian? I wouldn’t be surprised if you have. I too have advised that to my pet Guardians.  But how long is ok? What size is too big?  Are there actual guidelines? In my veterinary training, I was taught that…

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Cancer Blood Testing in Future for Pets?

A new test is being developed in human medicine which allows for breast and a type of lung cancer testing with a blood sample. This exciting development may be a sentinel for testing in pets that is so needed.  Dog cancer is now the number one killer of dogs in the US, and early intervention…

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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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The oncologist’s thoughts on what to do after the aspirate confirms mast cell tumor?

In my recent blog, we discussed the aspirate that confirmed the diagnosis of mast cell tumor (MCT.) Now there is a decision to make, should you have your dog staged to make sure the MCT has not spread, or should you proceed to surgery to remove the tumor and find out the grade? Remember what…

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Diagnosing mast cell tumors

When should you see an oncologist for a mast cell tumor (MCT)? I recommend you get an oncologist involved early. But before you see me, you need to know what a MCT looks like, and how they are diagnosed. Most dogs are not feeling or acting sick when they are diagnosed with MCT. Usually the…

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What’s new with oral malignant melanoma? Part Two

If you read part one, you remember I was all excited after a recent weekend meeting in New York City on the topic or oral malignant melanoma. As discussed in my chapter in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, oral melanoma is the most common tumor in the mouth of dogs, accounting for 30-40%. It is…

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What’s new with oral malignant melanoma?

I was not planning on my next blog to be about oral malignant melanoma (or OMM) in dogs, but I just attended a really great meeting on the topic in New York City. It cut  into my weekend family time, so I am happy that the meeting was so informative. This meeting was VECOG, or…

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