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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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Your Role as Your Dog’s Guardian

Is There A Reason for All This Dog Cancer?

“Why did my dog get cancer? This is a tough question to answer, but I’d like to provide a bit of information about how I think about cancer to help answer this question. First, a bit about the disease itself, and what we know right now.  Cancer cells look and behave like young body cells. …

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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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Is Optimism Appropriate in Dog Cancer?

Are we setting ourselves up for disappointment by holding on to optimism when it comes to dog cancer treatments?

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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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Reflections Four Days After Departure

This post will be a little different. I put my own dear Ginsu down four nights ago due to cancer.  Ginsu was a loved cat, not the usual subject of the Dog Cancer Blog. Yet loss is loss, and as a provider of information that sometimes involves coping with loss, I would like to give…

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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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Mourning for Dogs and Their People

Whether or not a loved dog has cancer, time is limited. And one of the easiest things to forget is this fact of being a Guardian…we usually outlive our four legged family members.  But we are not the only ones who mourn for the loss of loved ones. A recent article in Health Day described…

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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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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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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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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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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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What I Would Do for My Dog with Lymphoma

What would a veterinarian oncologist do for her dog with lymphoma? Dr. Susan Ettinger tells us how she would handle this dread disease.

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disruptive stress and dog cancer

Disruptive Stress and Dog Cancer

Coping with dog cancer is extremely stressful. Certain life events, like coping with dog cancer in your loved family member, create such stress that it actually disrupts normal thinking.  This is called “disruptive stress.” This is very natural and common. However, disruptive stress has been shown to have a real negative effect. Disruptive stress creates…

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Guardian Versus Dog Lover in Dog Cancer

There is a big difference between loving a dog and being a dog guardian. Guardianship implies being a protector.  There is vigilance, resourcefulness, and problem solving mixed with love.  Being a dog lover is just enjoying your relationship with your dog. Guardianship is required for dealing with canine cancer.  Being a dog lover is not…

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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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How Was This Not Found Earlier?

For Helen, Hunter, Guardians coping with dog cancer, and their dogs. Cancer seems to sneak up on us often. Many times, Guardians will wonder how it is possible that such a horrible disease could have been brewing while the dog was acting completely normal.  And, how is it possible that the vet missed it during…

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A Big Picture Viewpoint

The recent earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan can teach us a lot. I live on Maui.  We had a little tsunami damage here from the same quake that has created the horror show in Japan.  Now we face the potential of radiation exposure, depending on how the nuclear leak turns out. This is nothing compared…

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Grief: Not A Four Letter Word

Let’s face it.  In the world of dog cancer, grief is part of the deal. But, the truth is that it is often ignored.  Honestly, when many of us hear the word “grief”, we kind of turn away and try not to think about it.  “Let’s deal with this.”  “Let’s get the job done.”  “How…

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How Do I know The Right Course of Treatment

The decisions surrounding dog cancer treatment can be complicated. This is not only because of the treatments themselves. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation have multiple steps. Diet and supplements are not necessarily strait forward either. Steps to change a dog’s brain chemistry to a cancer fighting state take some doing as well. Boosting life quality needs…

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Time and the Joys of Life in Dog Cancer

We are very busy in modern life.  It seems as time goes on, the faster it speeds by. Dog cancer is connected in many ways to time.  There is the question that is most pressing: “How much more time do I have?”. This is an important piece of information to get, along with the odds…

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A Silver Lining in Dog Cancer

This is a blog about dog cancer.  As such, you are probably here looking for some advice.  Something useful to help this dire predicament you are in with your loved dog. Most often I will write about some outside the box approach to treating your dog’s disease.  Maybe a new therapy that is coming up,…

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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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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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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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Using Dog Cancer Statistics

The one of the first steps in the plan for helping you with dog cancer in The Guide is data collection.  Without data about your dog’s cancer, survival times, life quality during treatment, side effects, costs, nursing care you will be expected to do, your dog’s normal life expectancy and so on, you will be…

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Treatment Plan Analysis in Real Life

Yesterday, a 13 year old Rottweiler came in to the hospital. She had been limping, and there was a swelling in her front leg, down on the forearm.  It was firm and slightly warm to the touch.  The area was about 4 inches long. We took X-rays of the sore leg.  The films showed a…

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