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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Sue Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide
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Choosing Treatments with Confidence

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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Lymphoma – what you need to know BEFORE you see the oncologist

In my last blog post on lymphoma, I shared that I would personally treat my dog with a multi-agent chemotherapy protocol if she was diagnosed with lymphoma.  You will learn a lot about diagnostics and treatment options once you meet an oncologist, so in this blog post, I will share some of the things you…

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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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Prednisone for Dog Cancer

Cortisone drugs have a bad rap. Pharmaceuticals like prednisone, prednisolone, dexamethasone, budesonide, and triamcinolone are drugs in the cortisone family. And over the years these medications have achieved much attention as bad chemicals. This is very likely due to what could be described as overuse.  These drugs of have historically been prescribed for a wide…

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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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New Fundraiser For Canine Cancer

Canine cancer treatment can be quite costly.   Since many do not have pet insurance, veterinary bills can be overwhelming for dog cancer, especially in this economy. There is a new fundraiser that has been started to help raise funds for those coping with canine cancer and the bills they face.  This fund is sponsored by…

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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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disruptive stress and dog cancer

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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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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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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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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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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