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

Margins

How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Cancer for Sure? Read Chapter 9: How We Diagnose and Stage Cancer

How do you know if your dog has cancer? Well, no one can tell by look or feel. You have to test. Learn how veterinarians diagnose and stage cancer.

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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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lumps on dogs

Lumps On Dogs: When To Get Them Checked By A Veterinarian

Finding lumps on dogs is scary, but waiting to get them checked is a terrible idea. The sooner you know what it is, the better. Get the guidelines now.

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Don’t Forget Your Dog at the Veterinarian

When booking a new consultation with me, pet Guardians often ask if it is necessary to bring their dog to the appointment. From their point of view, they are often concerned about the stress of the visit on their pet, or maybe the travel itself. But from my point of view, a consultation without the…

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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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DogCancer.TV: Dog Cancer Surgery- The Importance of Clean Margins

Dr. Ettinger and Dr. Dressler define and discuss the importance of clean margins in relation to surgical treatment of dog cancer.

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DogCancer.TV: Cyberknife Use with Dog Cancer- Cutting Edge Technology

Dr. Ettinger and Dr. Dressler discuss the utilization and benefits of high tech Cyberknife radiosurgery as non-surgical treatment for dogs with cancer.

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What’s my dog’s prognosis?

Once you have been told the horrible news that your dog has been diagnosed with cancer, so many thoughts start racing around your head. One of the common questions I get is, “How long will my dog live, Doc?” Despite all my training and experience as an oncologist, this is so hard to answer. During…

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DogCancer.TV: Nasal Tumors – What You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Cancer

Dr. Dressler and Dr. Ettinger discuss the detection, diagnosis, and Full Spectrum Care Approach to treating nasal and nasal sinus tumors in dogs.

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DogCancer.TV: Soft Tissue Sarcomas- What You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Cancer

Dr. Dressler and Dr. Ettinger discuss the detection, diagnosis, and Full Spectrum Care Approach to treating soft tissue sarcomas in dogs.

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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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Waiting and watching — but for how long?

Have you been told to “just watch” a lump or mass on your dog by a veterinarian? I wouldn’t be surprised if you have. I too have advised that to my pet Guardians.  But how long is ok? What size is too big?  Are there actual guidelines? In my veterinary training, I was taught that…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Carcinoma of the Anal Gland

One of the less common cancers is carcinoma of the anal gland. Carcinoma of the anal gland occurs on the rear end of dogs, and are found on the anus, in it, or on the edge where the haired skin starts.  Sometimes they can be found only by doing a rectal exam, which is a…

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Hit The Bull’s Eye With Dog Cancer Drugs

One of the problems with chemotherapy, in addition to cost and trips in and out of the hospital is toxicity.  It can be especially difficult to handle a toxic event when the whole point of chemo in treating dog cancer is palliation. Palliation is defined as a reduction in the signs or symptoms of a…

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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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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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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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