Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide
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How to Use the Mitotic Index to Make Decisions About Mast Cell Tumors

Is using the mitotic index mast cell tumor diagnosis useful? In some cases, not as much as others. But when it’s useful, it’s REALLY useful!

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Metronomic Chemotherapy for Dogs with Cancer

What is Metronomic Chemotherapy? Metronomic chemotherapy is a relatively new type of chemotherapy that uses low doses of oral (pulse) chemotherapy given on a continuous treatment schedule. Since it is given daily or every other day, the chemotherapy is given at lower doses then typical chemotherapy, often with a reduced toxicity profile. That reduction in…

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Five common mistakes with cancer surgery, and how to avoid them in your dog

Mistake # 1: Watching and Waiting Don’t: Watch the bump or lump. Do: get an aspirate or biopsy. I’ve blogged about this before, but it deserves repeating. No one, not even a boarded oncologist like me, can look at a skin mass, or a mass in the spleen, liver, or lung on imaging, and tell…

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Uncommon Tumors: Primary Lung Tumors, Part 1

As a boarded oncologist, I see not only the common cancers in dogs like lymphoma, mast cell tumors, osteosarcomas, hemangiosarcomas, and mammary cancers. But I also see the uncommon ones. Recently I have been seeing more of the uncommon tumors, and what’s even strange to me, I am seeing more that one within a few…

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DogCancer.TV: Mast Cell Tumors- What You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Cancer

Dr. Ettinger and Dr. Dressler talk about the detection, diagnosis, and the Full Spectrum Care Approach to treatment of mast cell tumors in dogs.

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DogCancer.TV: Getting a Second Opinion on Your Dog’s Cancer Diagnosis

Dr. Ettinger and Dr. Dressler talk about the importance of a second opinion in managing your dog’s cancer as well as when to ask for a second opinion.

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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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Beyond Mast Cell Tumor Grade: Other Prognostic Factors

In my last blog on mast cell tumor (MCT) grade, I discussed that grade is one of the most important prognostic factors, or predictors, for dogs with MCT. And I also discussed the challenges of using the grade as a predictor: a good percentage of grade 2 MCT behave more aggressively than the rest of…

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All about Mast Cell Tumor Grade

Knowing the grade of your dog’s mast cell tumor (MCT) is important, because the grade tells us a lot about how serious a case your dog has, and what the likely prognosis or outcome will be. Tumor grade cannot be discovered via aspirate. MCT grade is determined by a boarded pathologist at a lab, who…

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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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The Oncologist’s thoughts on mast cell tumors

If ever there was a tumor that fits the saying: “one size does NOT fit all”, it is mast cell tumors (MCT). These tumors are common, particularly skin tumors, in dogs. You may know a dog that had a mast cell tumor removed with surgery and went on to live many happy years to never…

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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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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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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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Testing for Mast Cell Tumor Spread: Buffy Coat?

Mast cell tumors occur commonly in the dog. There are three basic grades of mast cell tumor (Grade 1, 2 and 3).  The Grade of the mast cell tumor is useful because it gives the veterinarian or oncologist an idea of how aggressive the mast cell tumor will be. Another way of talking about this…

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A Useful Discussion for Dogs With Cancer

I received a question recently that involves a common situation for guardians coping with a dog cancer diagnosis. So, to benefit everyone, I am including my answers here, in the hopes that you can apply the information to how you manage your dog with cancer. This case is Almond, who is a 10 year female…

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Mast Cell Tumor Internal Spread

It is important to tell whether or not a dog tumor has spread internally. This question is not only very frightening for a dog lover, but also has some real medical ramifications.  So let’s take some time with this concept and mast cell tumors. Mast cell tumors are very common in dogs.  They come in…

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When to Avoid Chemo for Canine Mast Cell Tumors?

There has been much online talk these days about dogs with mast cell tumors (read, Palladia) which are the most common canine cancer. So I thought I’d just add some fuel to the fire and give my readers some overall guidelines about mast cell tumors and chemotherapy. As many already know, these cancers come in…

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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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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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Dog cancer: What is Micrometastasis and Why Do We Care?

I get a lot of inquiries that relate to whether a cancer is gone after it is removed, or what will be the outcome. Sometimes these are tough to answer, and the reason is micrometastasis. Micrometastsis occurs when a cancer spreads from a site, but the spread is not detectable by the usual means available. …

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Mast Cell Tumors in Dogs: some advances in conventional care

Hi!  I have been getting feedback about mast cell tumors and I would like to get some info out there.  I will focus on some conventional medicine advances for the time being that should be thoroughly checked into by dog lovers interested in mast cell tumors. These are not general cancer recommendations, rather just a…

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