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

Full Spectrum Cancer Care is the approach taken by the authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. In Full Spectrum cancer care, we embrace any method that has been shown to help dogs with cancer, regardless of its source.

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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Why Is Diet Ignored In Dog Cancer Care?

Why on earth is diet ignored in dog cancer? This is a huge blind spot in the veterinary profession. We should start looking at this.

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Is Optimism Appropriate in Dog Cancer?

I recently received a post from a guardian who felt that perhaps the approach in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide leaned towards “pushing the positive”.  And her feeling was that when one’s own dog does not live to published median life expectancy, taking an optimistic approach was not that useful. Her dog lived 6 months.…

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Modified Citrus Pectin, Dogs, and Cancer

Modified citrus pectin, dogs, and cancer: This inexpensive, easy to give food product may offer powerful benefits to dogs with cancer.

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How Long to “Watch and Wait”

Last week I told you about two recent cases in which the tumors were too big for surgery by the time they came to me. I also promised to give you some guidelines about how long to wait when your vet says “let’s just monitor this.” Too many lumps and bumps are being monitored for…

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Waiting and watching — but for how long?

Have you been told to “just watch” a lump or mass on your dog by a veterinarian? I wouldn’t be surprised if you have. I too have advised that to my pet Guardians.  But how long is ok? What size is too big?  Are there actual guidelines? In my veterinary training, I was taught that…

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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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Soil Depletion and Nutrients in Your Dog

Trace minerals and elements have not gotten the attention they deserve for our pets’ health. For example, zinc, selenium and magnesium are all critically important for dogs fighting cancer for many reasons, among them immunity and resistance to drug reactions. One of the reasons this may be problematic is that many ill dogs have low…

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On Blame

For those coping with dog cancer, there is usually a very large amount of pain. First is the shock of the diagnosis, which is common. After this comes a flood of emotions of various kinds. For some it is confusion, trying to make sense of what it actually means to have a dog with cancer.…

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Beta Glucan-containing mushrooms in the news again!

Beta glucans are back in the media, this time is the form of a new mushroom extract. This of course will not be surprising to our regular readers or anyone who has read The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, since the use of these compounds are part of the full-spectrum approach to canine cancer.  This approach…

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Immune System Fuel

Dogs with cancer, especially widespread cancer, have a lot of different health issues that need special attention.  The cancer has a way of overtaking and affecting many different body systems.  In order for us to beat the odds in any consistent way, we need to tend to each of these different cancer effects.  As readers…

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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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Diagnosing mast cell tumors

When should you see an oncologist for a mast cell tumor (MCT)? I recommend you get an oncologist involved early. But before you see me, you need to know what a MCT looks like, and how they are diagnosed. Most dogs are not feeling or acting sick when they are diagnosed with MCT. Usually the…

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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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My Experience with CyberKnife RadioSurgery

In my last post, I introduced CyberKnife RadioSurgery, a type of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). This is the radiation unit we have at my specialty hospital, the Animal Specialty Center in Yonkers NY. I want to tell you a little bit more about my own experience with this new technology, but first, a quick recap on…

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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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Oleic Acid, Red Meat, and Mammary Cancer

As readers of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide know, dogs who have not been spayed by their fourth heat run a higher risk for mammary cancer. (Spaying offers its own risks for other types of cancer, but that’s another post.) But other factors can contribute to canine mammary cancer, and some of these are not…

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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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Could Killing “Good” Bacteria Increase GI Cancer Risk?

Could destroying the normal bacteria in your dog’s body be a risk factor for cancer down the road? This may sound very far-fetched.  However, in the spirit of avoiding condemnation before investigation, read on! It turns out that the so-called “healthy” bacteria in the body may provide cancer protection.  And therefore, if this bacteria is…

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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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Calcium in Dog Cancer

Calcium levels in your dog’s body can be  a tricky business. Like any medical care step, there are different sides of the coin that need to be looked at for your dog with cancer.  First, many dog lovers are feeding their dogs home made diets.  Since these dogs are not eating pieces of a carcass…

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