Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide
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Full Spectrum Cancer Care Step 1: Conventional Treatments

Dr. Dressler: an Introduction to The Dog Cancer Vet

Dr. Dressler is “the dog cancer vet” and author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. Here’s his own True Tail of how he came to be a pioneer in education and treatment of dog 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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lumps on dogs

Lumps On Dogs: When To Get Them Checked By A Veterinarian

Finding lumps on dogs is scary, but waiting to get them checked is a terrible idea. The sooner you know what it is, the better. Get the guidelines now.

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Was There Anything Else I Could Have Done?

Was there anything else I could have done? This is an inevitable question we all face. And the answer is always the same.

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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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Guidelines for Dealing with Your Dog’s Chemotherapy Side Effects

As I’ve discussed in other posts, chemotherapy is very well tolerated in dogs. Yes I know that is hard to believe. I have had family members get chemo and we have all seen it on TV, but happily it’s not like that for dogs. Approximately 80% of dogs do not have side effects at all…

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Giving Your Dog Chemotherapy at Home, Safely

  I get a lot of questions about how to be safe around chemo drugs administered at home (for example, during metronomic chemotherapy).  Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, and my answers: Is my pet safe to be around? Yes, your pet is safe to be around after treatment. Being around family…

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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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Facing Dog Cancer? This Is Your First Priority

When we first read The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, we were astonished to find out what our number one priority should be when it comes to helping our dogs with cancer. According to author Dr. Demian Dressler, our priority has nothing to do with our dog’s illness. “Right out of veterinary school, I would have…

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Do You Need an Oncologist on Your Dog Cancer Team?

Do you really need an oncologist on your dog cancer team? Sigh. As always with dog cancer, the answer is not the same for everyone. Dead Set Against Conventional Treatments? No Need. If you already know that you would never, ever, ever use surgery, chemotherapy or radiation to treat your dog’s cancer, hiring a specialist…

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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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Dog Too Old For Cancer Treatments

Is My Dog Too Old For Cancer Treatments?

Age is not a disease. When your dog is diagnosed with cancer, it can be confusing to know how old is “too old” for treatment. Dr. Dressler explains…

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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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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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Common Cancer Mistake: Assuming Chemotherapy Is Not an Option

Do dogs suffer during chemotherapy for their cancer treatments? This veterinary oncologist has an answer that might surprise you.

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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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Five common mistakes with cancer surgery, and how to avoid them in your dog

Mistake # 1: Watching and Waiting Don’t: Watch the bump or lump. Do: get an aspirate or biopsy. I’ve blogged about this before, but it deserves repeating. No one, not even a boarded oncologist like me, can look at a skin mass, or a mass in the spleen, liver, or lung on imaging, and tell…

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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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DogCancer.TV: Osteosarcoma – What You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Bone Cancer

Dr. Dressler and Dr. Ettinger discuss the detection, diagnosis, and the Full Spectrum Care Approach to treatment of osteosarcoma in dogs

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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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Clinical Trials for Dog Cancer: Pros and Cons

Dog lovers coping with canine cancer often are looking for solutions.  When hearing the news that a loved dog has cancer, and the statistics and costs related to chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, many times a guardian will start looking for something else to try, a solution that seems better than what is available. Often the…

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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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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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