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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide
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Your Role as Your Dog’s Guardian

Taking Care of Your Dog’s Guardian

The Olympics are a test in sports against the world’s most formidable athletes. To win in the Olympics, an athlete must not only tend to diet, practice, and technique.  An Olympian must use every edge to win, including managing emotions and the mind under intense pressure. Coping with a canine cancer diagnosis is an Olympian…

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The Shock of Dog Cancer

I was recently helping an English Lab named Amber.  Amber was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor by fine needle aspirate.  Amber’s humans, Beau and Heather, were devastated upon hearing this news. Like many dog lovers, they had heard that dogs could get cancer.  Sure.  Dogs can get the same diseases as people, right?  However,…

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Escaping Dog Cancer Days, part 2

In the last post we looked at a challenging topic: being happy and at the same time time coping with canine cancer. Since so much of humanity’s attention is on the pursuit of this commodity (happiness), let’s spend a little more time on it.  One of the previous points made was that it can seem…

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Escaping Dog Cancer Days

Most, if not all of the readers of the Dog Cancer Blog have an interest in being happy. Why not?  Dealing with a dog cancer diagnosis can be the most challenging and daunting task faced in some one’s life.  During this time it can be quite a struggle to be happy.  The sadness, frustration and…

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I Need An Alternative Veterinarian!

When on the hard road of dog cancer, we have to use all tools at our disposal. The reason is obvious: we still don’t have a cure for systemic cancers.  Thus, most in their right mind would agree that an unsolved problem demands open-minded consideration of all approaches.  At the same time, the challenge is…

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Is There Hope For Dog Cancer?

Hope. Even looking at the word on a computer screen can cause an odd mix of feelings.  This is especially true if you are coping with a canine cancer diagnosis. If there was ever a double-edged sword, hope is it.  On one hand, allowing yourself to feel hope can turbocharge your abilities and motivation. On…

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The Most Important Question in Dog Cancer Care

Many dog lovers arrive at The Dog Cancer Blog looking or information.  There is a problem though, and I would like to begin to spread the word about the most important question in dog cancer care. Here it is:  What type of person are you? To many, this may sound very bizarre, so give me…

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Grief Can Be Complicated

One of the problems in dealing with dog cancer is what to put your attention on. Truly, there are so many aspects to a life chapter like this one.  The grieving process is no exception.  We experience sadness and pain at so many different times, and in so may different ways, while caring for a…

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A Change in Viewing Dog Cancer

I gave a webinar this morning that focused on making a dog cancer treatment plan.  I realized the topic should be presented, as so many blog readers post specific questions, but many are essentially the same query. So I presented a structure that would allow people to answer their own version of the question, with…

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Survival Times and Dog Cancer

I recently got a comment from a reader who was quite upset with her veterinarian. Turns out her dog underwent a splenectomy (spleen removal), presumably for treatment of a hemangiosarcoma (a malignant tumor of the blood vessel walls)  of the spleen. This dog lover was incensed that the vet  indicated this procedure, combined with removal…

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False Hopes and How to Spot a Charlatan…

So many times I hear of the benefits of a new (or ancient) miracle treatment for dog cancer.  Often these are from someone who has seen the benefit, or believe they see the benefit, of a certain protocol. The fact is that in most cases these claims have not been established to the point where…

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The Cost of My Dog’s Life, part 2

In the last post, I blogged on what one can do to deal with the difficult financial issues attached to dog cancer care.  In this one, I would like to widen back, to help with some of the more personal issues about the subject. To be sure, the real-world money issue is a basic, real…

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The Cost of My Dog’s Life, part 1

If you are a dog lover coping with the diagnosis of dog cancer, at some point you will be forced to deal with costs.  In this economic climate, many are faced with heart-wrenching decisions. “I need to choose between my dog’s care and my own.” “I have to pick either paying for my home or…

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Why is Canine Cancer Still Winning? Part 2

After all this work, dog cancer is still often incurable. Why? In this second post on the topic, I would like to look at the flow of information.  We need to look at where data is generated.  And, as usual, recall the flow of the dollar. Generally, cancer research is the source of the information…

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Why is Canine Cancer Still Winning? Part 1

Those who have experienced the frustration and sadness in caring for a dog with cancer may have wondered, “Why is cancer still winning after all this time?” In the last forty years, successes in cancer treatment relative to effort have been pretty meager.  Even if one were to spend the average total price tag of…

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Dog is acting fine. How could it be cancer? Golden retriever walking outside.

My Dog is Acting Fine … And Got Diagnosed With Cancer?!?

If your dog is acting fine, even though she has cancer, there could be a couple of reasons. Read this article to discover what they are.

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Manageable Challenges and Life Quality

Manageable challenges and life quality: your dog with cancer NEEDS to feel good about himself. Continue to challenge her, to boost her sense of self-esteem!

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End of Life Care in Dog Cancer

The end of life stage can be very hard on everyone. It often is gut-wrenching to see your dear companion start to say goodbye. Like any weighty decision, sometimes the emotions involved can paralyze our ability to choose. During these times it is so important to gain some clarity by seeking support in counselors, support…

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Where Do I Begin?

“I am overwhelmed with all the information I am reading to help my dog with cancer.” Does this sound familiar to anyone out there? Most of the readers of this blog are searching for information. Once a true malignancy has developed, the realities can feel utterly unacceptable. This leads to information gathering.  Whenever we are…

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How Did This Happen?

I came across an article today that caught my attention. In Edinburgh, a 9 year old Rottweiler was found abandoned by it’s owner.  He was quite ill, very thin, painful and weak.  This Rott had been tied with a leash and left. As if this were not enough, the dog had end-stage cancer.  The cancer…

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Help For Diarrhea In Canine Cancer Patients

I was recently asked by a client about what over the counter product could be used for diarrhea in veterinary patients. There are a number of different items that can be used.  Some have interactions with other meds, or possibly side effects that would not be desirable. I told her about one that you might…

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Is The Hammer The Tool For The Job?

My dog Bjorn is recovering from an orthopedic surgery I performed today. Here I am, a veterinarian with access to the best conventional pain control medicine has to offer. He has Hydromorphone, Metacam, and massive doses of Tramadol on board, with other drugs in reserve if need be. He has a device on the surgery…

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Do Numbers Matter?

A lover of a dog with cancer needs to come up with an plan that makes sense. The first step in any plan is arming oneself with answers, or data that relates to the situation. There are two basic areas that we need to focus on. The first is what can we do to maintain…

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I Can See The End, But I Am Not Ready

In so many ways this is a sad post. The end of life with your friend, family member, your companion. After all the time together. Systemic or aggessive cancers like lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, Grade 3 mast cell tumors, and others usually lead in the same direction. This direction is the departure of your loved dog.…

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How Long Does My Dog Have?

It is very important to do what we can to avoid ongoing depression when trying to cope with cancer in our dogs.  Ongoing depression is exhausting, steals our reserves, and clouds judgment. It decreases your dog’s chances of good life quality during a life with cancer.  Yes, your ongoing depression. Please do not misunderstand me. …

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Everything is overwhelming…

Many dog lovers, especially those of you who just received the news that your dog has cancer, feel very overwhelmed.  This is very common and completely natural. So many questions arise.  How did this happen?  Where did the cancer come from? Why wasn’t this picked up before?  Is it the food? Vaccines? Chemicals? What do…

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But my vet has not heard of this….

Dear dog lovers, I have been deluged with comments that some vets out there, maybe even most, have not heard of many of the approaches to dealing with cancer that are beyond surgery, chemo and radiation. As a consequence, there seems to be a large “black box” as to what to do, how to arrive…

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Is it for me or for my dog?

Decision making when loving a dog with a cancer diagnosis can be tough. Many times we will experience some degree of confusion in decision making.  There are many options that are presented.  Should I allow chemotherapy? Amputation?  Is radiation really worth it? I think that a lot of the difficulty may not actually relate to…

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Oncology and Beyond

I have been getting some questions lately about whether or not I am a board-certified oncologist.  Nope, and I do not try to be either.  Here’s why: Oncology is our word for the field of cancer medicine.  Oncologists spend a good amount of time doing chemo, and have broader interests usually  within the additional areas…

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Problem Solving while having a Dog With Cancer

Lymphosarcoma. Hemangiosarcoma.  Osteosarcoma. Mast Cell Tumor. Nasal Tumor. Melanoma. Mammary Cancer. All these words, so harsh, so foreign and scientific. And also, so horrible. Do you love a dog with cancer?  How are you dealing with this fact? Upon reflection, some may not even allow the reality to sink in.  You are telling me my…

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