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

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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Is It Wrong To Treat Dogs for Cancer?

There has been a lot of press and debate lately about the high costs of veterinary medicine. Being in New York, I’m thinking of several NY Times articles. On the front page on April 5th, there was the article “New Treatments to Save a Pet, but Questions About the Costs.” This article highlighted the advances…

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My Dog is Young…and Has Cancer??

These days cancers in young dogs do not seem to be that rare.  And they are especially difficult since it is such a shock.  Often we have the perception that things like this do not happen, or should not happen. Yet we are faced with this brutal reality that seems impossible to accept and even…

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Analysis Paralysis With Dog Cancer

When faced with a dog cancer diagnosis, many guardians experience an immediate sense of overwhelm.  Of course, there is profound anger, sadness, numbness, grief, and the whole array of different responses to crises news. After a time, treatment options arise.  And the facts are that modern medicine in many cases does not provide options that…

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The Oncologist’s Perspective on Statistics: Part Three

As you are likely starting to notice, I have so much to say on cancer. I am breaking up big topics into sections to make them more manageable. This is part 3 on statistics. As I mentioned in part one, statistics can be very helpful to give you reasonable expectations about your dog’s cancer, but…

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The Oncologist’s Perspective on Statistics: Part Two

In last week’s post, Statistics Part One, I discussed why statistics can be very helpful to the pet Guardian. And while stats are an important part on oncology, my years in practice highlight their limitations. So before we dive into some common statistical terms (in my next blog), I think it is important to remember…

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Genetic Testing for Cancer Treatments Studied

An article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday discussed genetic testing dogs afflicted with cancer .  These tests could help develop individualized treatments for human patients.  The good news is that indirectly, our loved dogs will likely benefit from this work. The reason for the research is that in many cases chemotherapy does little to…

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The Oncologist’s Perspective on Statistics: Part One

I know what you are thinking. Statistics … ick, boring. I agree. I was never a fan of learning about stats. In fact, statistics was one of my least favorite classes in undergrad. But when you are dealing with the overwhelming diagnosis of cancer, there are a ton of statistics to learn. How long will…

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Can Needle Biopsy Spread Cancer?

Can needle biopsy spread cancer? As always when it comes to dog cancer, there is no “one right answer.” Dr. Dressler, DVM goes over the facts.

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Right and Wrong In Dog Cancer

When coping with a diagnosis of canine cancer, many guardians worry about decisions they are making.  Often  there does not seem to be a “right” answer. Similarly, when learning about topics in cancer treatment, we may have a tendency to categorize as “good” and “bad”. An important fact of dog cancer, and many medical topics,…

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Abnormal Immunity and Cancer

Cancer is a very strange and horrible creature.  The disease in very similar in dogs and people, and this post will use information from human literature so you can apply it to your dog. There are several ways the immune system is involved in cancer. One of the problems afflicting cancer patients is their immune…

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Not All Soft Lumps are Lipomas!

Many times dog lovers will be told that their dog’s soft lump is a fatty tumor, and is no problem.  The veterinarian is usually thinking about lipomas, benign tumors made of fat that may be genetic in dogs. This information is not always correct, and sometimes the mistake is life threatening.  Although it is true…

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Incidentalomas: when you find a cancer you were not looking for

Recently, there was an article that caught my attention in the New York Times. In A Tumor is No Clearer in Hindsight, Denise Grady wrote about whether Steve Jobs had made the right decision to wait 9 months to go to surgery after finding out he had a type of pancreatic cancer. The article goes…

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Can a Dog Cancer Diagnosis Be Wrong?

The news that a loved dog has cancer turns the world upside-down. Shock, dismay, disorientation, anger, and profound feelings of loss or sadness are common.  Another common response is questioning the diagnosis. “My dog seems fine.  The lump does not seem to bother her.  His appetite is good.  She still plays.  How can he have…

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Newspaper Columnist Faces Dog Cancer Diagnosis

Kerstin Shamberg received the devastating news that her beloved dog Peebucks has cancer.  Peebucks was recently diagnosed with a type of tumor of the nose called a carcinoma, likely an adenocarcinoma. Kerstin writes for the Huffington Post, and describes what this experience was like.  Many reader will recognize what she is going through: shock, dismay,…

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How to Get A Diagnosis Before Surgery

There are several different ways of finding out if a lump is a cancer.  Each involves having some of the growth tested, but which is best? There are several ways to collect a sample.  Often a biopsy is done.  A biopsy involves collecting a piece of the growth for analysis.  Sometimes the growth is removed…

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You Really Treat Dogs and Cats Who Have Cancer?

You REALLY treat dogs and cats who have cancer?? That’s usually the first question I hear when people find out I am a veterinary oncologist. You may get a similar response from your family and friends when you share that you are thinking about or are treating your pet with cancer – you are really…

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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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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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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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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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Signs of Brain Cancer In Dogs

Tumors in the brain are very tough for us in veterinary medicine today. There are two reasons for this.  One is that they are hard to diagnose without advanced imaging like CT or MRI.  These are not available to everyone, since many do not live within a reasonable distance, and they are not cheap. The…

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Signs of Dog Lymph Node Cancer

Many find a bump or a lump on their canine companion at home.  The first question is usually, “what is this?” Sometimes the second question is, “Is it a gland or a lymph node?” These are good questions.  The reason is that glands, or lymph nodes, become swollen for different reasons.  Like in people, infection…

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Breast Cancer Signs in Dogs: What to Look For and How to Think About Mammary Cancer

Breast cancer dogs — what are the signs and symptoms? And what do we do about them when we find them? Dr. Dressler explains.

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My Dog Is Limping, But No Pain

Today’s column will look at the limp in your loved dog. First and foremost, we need to realize that sometimes what our mind tells us is not the most reliable information. What am I talking about here? Well, in times of stress, for example when  dealing with a dog cancer diagnosis or other pet-related trauma…

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