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

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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The Oncologist’s Perspective on Chemotherapy and Gastrointestinal (GI) side effects: Part Two

In my last blog post, I told you that most vomiting and diarrhea associated with chemotherapy was mild and could be managed at home. Unfortunately, there are exceptions. Typically if your dog is vomiting, you will be instructed to hold on food and water to rest the GI tract for 12 to 24 hours.  But…

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The Oncologist’s Perspective on Chemotherapy and Gastrointestinal (GI) side effects: Part One

Obviously, you are concerned about your dog having side effects from chemotherapy.  No one including me, the oncologist, wants your dog to get sick. Chemotherapy targets rapidly dividing cancer cells. However, there are normal cells in the body that also rapidly divide as part of their normal function. It is these cells that can be…

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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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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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What I would do for my dog with lymphoma?

When Guardians come in for a consultation with me after receiving a cancer diagnosis, they often ask “Doc, what would you do if this was your dog?” I usually refuse to answer the question (with one important exception, which I will get to in a moment). There are too many personal factors that go into…

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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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Man Meets Dog With Same Brain Cancer Treatment

A recent article in USA Today featured a man who met a dog receiving the same kind of experimental brain cancer treatment. Two years ago, John Huls underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation for a brain tumor.  He opted against continued chemotherapy and radiation for brain cancer treatment due to side effects.  He then enrolled in…

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Premature Fatty Acid Media Frenzy

A recent Dutch study has been published that is creating a large media ripple and alarm concerning the use of fatty acid supplements and cancer. The study showed that two specific fatty acids, when used in mice and in-vitro (in cells in a laboratory), can interfere with the effects of chemotherapy drugs. These fatty acids…

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CCNU Use for Lympho Rescue Protocols

Chemotherapy in dogs is used differently than in people.  In people, there are protocols that might in some cases eliminate the cancer for many years. In dogs though, the cancer usually comes back, many times in months. (For this reason, we use a wide variety of treatments above and beyond chemotherapy in the Guide). However,…

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Low Dose Chemotherapy and Cancer

Over the last few years, there has been much work in attempting to improve canine cancer treatment. One strategy has been to use lower, continuous doses of oral chemotherapy drugs.  The goal in this is to lessen chemotherapy toxicity, reduce trips to the oncologist for IV injections (the medications are pills), and hopefully gaining life…

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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 Gland

One of the less common cancers is carcinoma of the anal gland. Carcinoma of the anal gland occurs on the rear end of dogs, and are found on the anus, in it, or on the edge where the haired skin starts.  Sometimes they can be found only by doing a rectal exam, which is a…

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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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What is a scar revision?

When a veterinarian or oncologist diagnoses canine cancer, often a surgery is done to remove the cancer cells. Surgery remains one of the cornerstones of cancer treatment in dogs. With surgery, if all things go very well, your veterinary surgeon may be able to completely remove the cancer.  This may mean a cure is reached,…

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Chemosensitizers

We need longer life expectancies in dogs with cancer. When guardians hear the statistics about dog cancer survival, they are often shocked at how grim things sound.  And to be honest, they are grim. For this reason, we need to start looking “outside the box” of existing conventional cancer care. This was one of the…

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An Overview of What Else Can I Do?

The most common question I receive is: My dog has cancer.  What else can I do? Well, this is a very short question that needs a very long answer. I will do my best to give the big categories here. First, get the data you need.  A real guardian needs information to make aware decisions. …

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Why Rescue Chemotherapy Is Not As Good

Cancer cells are really quite amazing, but not in a good way. They have these little pumps in their outer wall (the cell membrane).  They go by a couple of different names, but the easiest one to remember is MDR. MDR stands for Multi-Drug Resistance. The reason these pumps are so amazingly bad is that…

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Surgery and “Blood Thinning” Drugs and Supplements

The approach in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, as well as my own personal philosophy concerning problem-solving, is to use what works, regardless of the packaging material. In other words, it makes no difference if the recommendation comes from a conventional (allopathic) vet, or an “alternative” vet, as long as it works, is safe and…

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To Chemo or Not To Chemo?

One of the little known facts about veterinary medicine is that chemotherapy does not cure cancer in dogs, with few exceptions (except transmissible venereal tumor or the very rare lympho or something). I believe that many people are unaware of this fact. So we are left with a treatment  modality that has a goal of…

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Fight Cancer With Local Chemotherapy

Many dog lovers hear grim survival statistics after receiving a dog cancer diagnosis, and it is extremely overwhelming. So much so that they go on a search for new and innovative ways to get better odds, longer survival times, and better life quality. Well, the same thing happened to me!  Why settle for stats that…

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Metronomic Chemotherapy

Traditional chemotherapy is moving in a new direction. In the past, chemotherapy used a strategy called Maximum Tolerated Dose (MTD).  Simply put, this is giving the highest dose a patient can handle, ideally without an unacceptable risk of side effects. The reason this strategy is used in cancer medicine is that the drugs we have…

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A Newer Option for Dogs with Vomiting

When a four legged family member is feeling sick it is heart breaking. When they are vomiting, it can be horrible for everyone involved. Vomiting is not rare in canine cancer patients. Often, the cancer itself can cause our friends to feel nausea and throw up. Sometimes conventional care treatments like chemotherapy, surgery, medication reactions,…

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What is Treatment Plan Analysis?

Imagine you want to spend some time somewhere.  Maybe the mountains, maybe the city…it is time for a trip. There are many ways to get there.  Perhaps having as much time as possible there is your main goal. Maybe you drive at breakneck speed to get there, wasting no time, and extend your time there…

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Magnesium and Dog Cancer

The strategy of Full Spectrum Care is used in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide to take advantage of anything that is safe and effective to get an edge on dog cancer. This means we have to look not only at chemo, radiation and surgery, but also on all those other things that might help a…

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Bone Tumors and Doxcycline

Osteosarcoma, and other types of canine bone cancer, can be especially hard for a dog lover to cope with.  Not only are most of these cancers very malignant, but often they require major surgeries to help deal with the immediate crisis. Once the decision is made and the surgery performed, we are faced with cancer…

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Surgery and Supplements: Bleeding Risks

All herbs and supplements are safe because they are natural, right? Wrong.  The word “natural” seems to mean harmless.  No side effects.  Non toxic.  But this simply is false information. Anything in the body, no matter what it is, can create a harmful. effect.  Drinking too much water, seen with swine sometimes, can give seizures. …

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New Approaches to Squamous Cell Cancer

A cancer we see in from time to time veterinary hospitals is called squamous cell carcinoma. Even though it is not as common as other cancers in dogs, for any dog lover coping with this diagnosis, it is a huge issue. These cancers are not fun. First of all, especially in advanced cases, they are…

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