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

Chemotherapy

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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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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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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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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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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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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Low Dose Chemotherapy Better for Canine Hemangiosarcoma?

Chemotherapy in dogs is normally given at doses that are as high as possible without causing too many side effects.  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…

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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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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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Staying vigilant with mass aspirates

I am a huge advocate of aspirating every lump and bump on your dog, even though many turn out to be benign cysts or lipomas (fatty tumors). The story below will illustrate why I’m so vigilant, but first, a little about aspirates. Aspirate: What Is It? When there’s a lump or bump on the surface…

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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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Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli and Cabbage in Dog Cancer Diet?

Here is a link to a page on the store where you can get a free download of the Dog Cancer Diet eBook, which is excerpted from my full-length book, The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.  You are invited to get this information-packed bundle of everything you need to know for your dog’s diet when dealing…

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Attitude Adjustment in Coping With Canine Cancer

One of the most shocking discoveries for some guardians starting their dog cancer journey is there seem to be few options. These guardians go to the vet or oncologist, and many times return from the visit with a very heavy burden that seems to have little relief. And strangely, it happens to those who ask…

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CyberKnife RadioSurgery in Pets

If you have been following me on Facebook at Dr. Sue Cancer Vet, you know that last week I was lecturing with what I call “ASC Team CyberKnife.” This team includes radiation oncologist Dr. Sarah Charney, neurologists Drs. Rick Joseph and Jason Berg, and me, the medical oncologist.  We manage all the CyberKnife patients that…

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The chemotherapy appointment, demystified

Ever wonder what happens at your dog chemotherapy appointment? The idea of chemo may conjure up an image of a bunch of people sitting around in chairs hooked up to their IV chemo lines, but how do we do that in dogs? Let’s break a typical chemo appointment down, with Charlie as my example. Charlie…

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Ginseng, a common Chinese herb, For Dog Cancer

Ginsing is a common herb used in eastern medicine, and is now being used for dogs by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. There is good reason for this.  Ginseng has some very definite effects that are real, and may help a dog with cancer.  I’d be thinking mainly of using ginseng for mammary cancers…

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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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DCA Not Advised At This Time for Dog Cancer

DCA, also called dichloroacetic acid or sodium dichloroacetate, is gaining popularity for dog cancer. It is now widely available.  In the search for something better, Guardians are scouring the internet to get an edge on the disease.  And this is understandable, as a dog cancer diagnosis with statistics can be very difficult to accept for…

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Bioflavonoid Quercetin has Anti-Cancer Effects

Quercetin has been around for some time as it is a naturally occurring compound found in the peels of citrus, capers, certain herbs, onions, and grapes**. Quercetin is also found in the Chinese Scholar tree, one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Quercetin has some interesting and fairly potent anti cancer…

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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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Prejudice in Chemo Side Effect Treatment for Dogs

Bias (prejudice) is an important issue in medical treatments being withheld.  Some of these treatments may have benefit, and dog cancer is no exception. Managing the side effects of chemotherapy is an important part of cancer care.  Chemotherapy is most commonly delivered at the Maximum Tolerated Dose (MTD).  This means the highest doses that the…

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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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