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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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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.

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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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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dog cancer pain

Pain Meds for Dogs: How to Manage Pain for a Dog With Cancer

Dog cancer pain control is really important, especially because dogs hide their pain symptoms so well. Learn how to treat your dog’s pain.

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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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The Oncologist’s Perspective on Statistics: Part Three

As you are likely starting to notice, I have so much to say on cancer. I am breaking up big topics into sections to make them more manageable. This is part 3 on statistics. As I mentioned in part one, statistics can be very helpful to give you reasonable expectations about your dog’s cancer, but…

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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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Osteosarcoma, Cisplatin and Magnesium

Low magnesium may be a threat for dogs receiving chemotherapy. Magnesium is a mineral in the body that is needed for proper functioning of over 300 different enzyme systems.  A study was done on critically ill dogs, and over half were found to have low magnesium. Low magnesium levels increase the risk of toxic reactions…

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Chemothapy and low white blood cell counts part 3. Animation of different cell types.

The Oncologist’s Perspective on Chemotherapy and Low White Blood Cell Counts: Part 3

Extremely low white blood cell counts and sepsis are rare side effects of chemotherapy that require immediate and urgent care.

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Chemothapy and low white blood cell counts part 2. Animation of different cell types.

The Oncologist’s Perspective on Chemotherapy and Low White Blood Cell Counts: Part 2

There are specific tests oncologists use for white blood cell counts before, during and after chemotherapy. Find out what tests your dog has to have to stay healthy during treatment.

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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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Chemothapy and low white blood cell counts part 1. Animation of different cell types.

The Oncologist’s Perspective on Chemotherapy and Low White Blood Cell Counts: Part 1

Chemotherapy and Low White Blood Cell Counts: how important are these low counts? How do they impact your dog’s cancer treatments?

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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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Thanksgiving and Coping With Dog Cancer

Thanksgiving and dog cancer….a horrific pair. Coping with canine cancer is heart-wrenching any time, and during the holidays can be almost unbearable.  Here are some tips that can help a guardian cope with dog cancer during this season. During holidays, there are expectations that people will act or feel certain ways.  If we see family,…

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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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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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