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

Dog Cancer Pain: Acupuncture?

Dog cancer pain: acupuncture? Even if your vet dismisses it, it is more than just a placebo!

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There’s No Expiration Date … But Here are Some Warning Signs That a Dog Is Dying

What are the warning signs that my dog is dying?? Learn what signs to look for, and how to handle them.

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Improving Life Quality with Hospice for Dogs

Hospice for dogs is not about giving up: it’s about focusing on comfort and closeness.

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Is My Dog Still Happy?

When your dog has cancer, one of the biggest questions weighing down your mind might be, ‘is my dog still happy?’ When we humans have cancer, we’re not happy … so of course, we wonder if our dogs are happy when they get sick. Here’s what we think at this point in the field of…

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Checking Your Dog’s Legs for Signs of Osteosarcoma

Taking it in Stride: Those Amazing Legs Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) is a common cancer in our dogs, and it usually develops in the long bones of the legs and the ankle or hock joint.  It is more common in some breeds than others, and although there are certain reasons a dog is predisposed to bone…

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Better Life Quality: Play with Your Dog with Cancer

How important is it to play with your dog with cancer? Very!

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How to Know If Your Dog Is In Pain

One of the most surprising, and frankly, upsetting, things that we have learned from Dr. Dressler, author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, is how often over the years we’ve missed signs that our dogs were in pain. And now that we know what the signs are, we’re very different caregivers. There are many signs…

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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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Osteosarcoma, part one

Osteosarcoma (OSA) is the most common bone cancer in dogs, accounting for about 85% of bone cancer cases. The bottom line on OSA is that metastasis is a problem: 90% of patients will die from the metastasis within the 1st year when amputation is the only treatment. Those are grim statistics, but it is the…

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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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Some Science Behind Acupuncture for Cancer Pain

Cancer is very tough.  And because we do not have a reliable cure for cancer, we must use every tool that helps to deal with cancer in a loved dog. One of these tools is acupuncture for cancer pain. Acupuncture in cancer has in the past been debated, and the use of acupuncture for pain…

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Dog Cancer Pain Control

Pain is a very important part of dog cancer, since it is one of the main life quality negatives for a canine cancer patient. However, not many guardians are aware of all of the tools in a veterinarian’s toolbox to help with pain.  In this post, we will look at both common and uncommon ways…

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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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My Dog Is Limping, But No Pain

Today’s column will look at the limp in your loved dog. First and foremost, we need to realize that sometimes what our mind tells us is not the most reliable information. What am I talking about here? Well, in times of stress, for example when  dealing with a dog cancer diagnosis or other pet-related trauma…

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Better and Longer: End of Life Care

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine was just published that showed that human cancer patients lived both longer and better with hospice care. Patients with a type of lung cancer lived almost 2 months longer with hospice care than those who did not.  Similar trends have been seen with other terminal diseases…

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Different Pain, Different Drugs

In some ways physicians have it easy.  An MD can ask a human patient, “Are you in pain?” It’s a bit tougher for us animal lovers. Interestingly, we are in the same boat as pediatricians in this way.  We have to go by signs, feelings, intuition in some cases.  And sometimes the truth is that…

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Life Quality: Is My Dog In Pain?

Physical comfort is very important for a dog’s life quality.  When it comes to canine cancer, life quality is a central topic that deserves much attention. Since the systemic cancers are so formidable and resist successful treatment, often increasing life span and maintaining a normal life quality are main goals. Life quality can be evaluated…

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Dog Cancer: Does Acupuncture Make It Worse?

There are few up to speed clinicians these days that will argue acupuncture is hocus pocus in cancer medicine.  If they do, the rest of us will point to this paper, and this one, and this one..and those are just a few. Now, Western clinicians are accepting that acupuncture does good things for pain, nausea,…

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Bone Cancer Pain: New Ideas

Many who love a dog with bone cancer need information to make sure pain is managed.  Bone cancers are often very painful.  Since life quality is so essential for us when making medical choices, we need to always control pain. Bone cancer is often first noticed as a limp.  Many times I have had a…

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How Do We Tell If A Loved Dog Is In Pain?

Pain.  The very word makes us wince. Same with the word cancer.  A friend recently brought up the fact that some of us  refer to cancer as “The C-word.” So when we put these together and talk about cancer pain, we have quite a loaded topic on our hands. Before I get into how to…

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More Ideas For Bone Cancer Pain: Pamidronate

I have been getting questions about control of pain for bone cancer in dogs, so I thought this might be a useful post.  Life quality is central in any type of cancer treatment plan, and therefore pain control is critical. Osteosarcoma is the number one cancer affecting bone in dogs.  It usually affects large or…

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Chronic Morphine May Worsen Dog Cancer

Well, in this post I want to give the readers some cutting edge new developments in dog cancer pain control. For decades, morphine has been a good old standard in pain control, both in dog and human medicine.  Many oncologists and veterinarians involved in treating dogs afflicted with cancer use morphine to help these patients.…

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Canine Cancer Surgery: Dog Owners…Check on the pain control!

I have been focusing a bit on osteosarcoma, since this is a common cancer. This info applies to any big surgery involving cancer in dogs though.  I thought that a few bits of vet-only knowledge would be nice for dog owners.  That way you can discuss the important topic of pain control at the time…

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Pain in Dog Cancer and Life Quality, Part 2

Many times people talk about life quality in pets and pain.  “Is my dog in any pain?” is a common question I get at my hospital.  To be sure, pain is an important consideration in life quality. Of all the factors that contribute to a bad life, pain may be the most potent.  BUT…it is…

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Pain in Dog Cancer and Life Quality

Many have concerns their dog may be in pain.  And rightfully so, since pain is a definite negative.  Pain control is a massive topic all by itself, and it is by no means strait forward. There are different kinds of pain. Sometimes  dull, throbbing pain happens in cancers like osteosarcoma (bone cancer).  Severe pain in…

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