My Dog Has Cancer. Do you know what to do from here on?
CANCER IS NOT THE END.
My dog has been recently diagnosed with cancer. I love her a lot and I cannot lose her. She is my everything. We know how devastating this news is, and this is why, we are here to help as much as we can, guiding you along each path so that you are aware what you are dealing with.
Please read our segment on how a pet owner can embrace a more complete alternative care for canines with cancer.
CANCER IS A TIME GAME AND WAITS FOR NO ONE
There are many different forms of canine cancers; some grows a lot faster than others. But as commonly observed, by the time you dog had been diagnosed with cancer, it is usually in the rather late stage. However, do not give up.
By the time these cancers are large enough to detect they can be in advanced stages and very difficult to treat successfully
– DVM Ron Hines
Instead embrace that there is still hope and do what you can. To help you, we have devised a systematic approach to deal with cancer in dogs in the best possible way. Time is working against you, and you need to digest this quickly to understand what you are dealing with.
Demian Dressler, DVM
Author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide and The Dog Cancer Diet
Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology)
Author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide and The Dog Cancer Diet
JRobert C. Rosenthal, DVM, PhD, Dipl ACVIM, Dipl ACVR
Author of Veterinary Oncology Secrets
Richard H Pitcairn, DVM
Founder of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy and coauthor of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats
, DVM, DACVIM
Contributor to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM). Author and Co-Author of 120 peer-reviewed journal articles
Dr. Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog, www.DogCancerBlog.com.
The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, he studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University.
Discover the Full Spectrum approach to dog cancer care:
- Everything you need to know about conventional western veterinary treatments (surgery, chemotherapy and radiation) including how to reduce their side effects.
- The most effective non-conventional options, including botanical nutraceuticals, supplements, nutrition, and mind-body medicine.
- How to analyze the options and develop a specific plan for your own dog based on your dog’s type of cancer, your dog’s age, your financial and time budget, your personality, and many other personal factors.
“ Who can resist those sweet puppy eyes and kisses? It is rare for someone to not melt or swoon over a darling furball of energy. But it is rare that someone pauses to ponder over the origin of that puppy. It is not rare that most people are unaware and would be surprised to learn that there is a huge commercial industry dedicated to mass production of these animals. “
BIOPSY & DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING
THE FIRST STEP | FIND OUT WHAT YOU ARE DEALING WITH
When an obvious tumor or mass is identified, do not panic and immediately have it surgically removed without a biopsy. Instead, the FIRST THING you should do is to have a fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB, FNA or NAB) done to determine the nature of the tumor.
A fine-needle aspiration biopsy is is a diagnostic procedure used to investigate lumps or masses and is already very common in treatment of human cancer and inflammations. It is considered a minor surgery that is very safe with less complications and less traumatic than an open surgery. Most importantly is some kinds of cancer such as the MCT or Mast Cell Tumor (Mastocytoma) is known to spread even faster if it is operated on. The last thing you want is to have your pet operated on to remove an unknown lump and to find out later that the tumor is a MCT. If your vet is unable to perform FNAB (fine-needle aspiration biopsy), look for one who does. There are several vets capable of FNAB locally.
The samples obtained shall be sent off to be evaluated microscopically. Skilled pathologists usually are able to identify cancer cells if they are present. Results would take about 7 days. These 7 days is probably going to be the longest waiting of your life BUT BE PATIENT; do not attempt any rash decisions before getting more information.
Do note that since FNAB draws very small sample, there is a risk that the cancer cells may actually be missed out. In some cases, FNAB may also not be possible and biopsy may be done by taking impression smears of open lesions if any. Of course you can surgically remove the lumps and send for histopathological assessment of whole masses but as mentioned above, it may accelerate the cancer growth if it is in reality a MCT.
If cancer is confirmed or suspected, thoracic radiography (chest x-rays) probably will be taken to assess whether the disease has metastasized (spread) to the lungs. Ultrasound and fluoroscopy are other diagnostic options. A complete blood count, serum chemistry panel and urinalysis can provide the attending veterinarian with additional important information to determine the most suitable diagnostics required.
It is advisable however to always get a CT (computed tomography) or MRI scan done as have superior image quality over X rays, Ultrasound or fluoroscopy and would be more accurate in detecting cancer. It also allows us to see more clearly the extent of the cancer.
THE SECOND STEP :
NOT ALL VETERINARIANS ARE MADE THE SAME
When dealing with canine cancer, you need a specialist or a very experienced veterinarian who can walk with you through this journey. All veterinarians are trained in school to have some understanding of cancer and the standard protocols such as chemotherapy and surgery but not all has the same experience in actually treating cancer.
Administrating the right dose of chemotherapy drugs or the right combination of different chemotherapy drugs or even the right time to administer the drugs takes experience and makes a tremendous difference in the success rates.
A person who specializes in cancer is known as an Oncologist. A person who specializes in cancer in animals is known as a veterinary oncologist. However, if you were to google Singapore Veterinary Oncologist, you won’t really find one listed in Singapore yet.
The truth is Singapore has not advanced like the US or Europe to have a Veterinary Oncologist. However, for our cancer dogs, we have been working with one particular local veterinarian who despite missing the official title of a “Veterinary Oncologist” has given more hopes and time to pets and pet owners. As long as you are willing to battle it with your pet, he will not turn you away or tell you that the only thing left to do now is “palliative care”.
This warrior vet has appeared in an article written by AsiaOne on cancer in dogs in 2014. If you are curious, go search it!
Fast forward to 2016, cancer treatment for canine has advanced tremendously.
THE THIRD STEP :
FOOD | WATER | ENVIRONMENT | NUTRACEUTICAL
This is an area that most Veterinarians will not have very sound knowledge on. And even if they did, they cannot advice you much as the scientific support for such therapies are weak and badly documented.
We all know that a good diet is key to good health, but it’s now clear that certain foods we eat can unmask underlying susceptibilities to cancer.
William Li, Angiogenesis Foundation, a nonprofit that is re-conceptualizing global disease fighting, presents a new way to think about treating cancer and other diseases: anti-angiogenesis, preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed a tumor. The crucial first (and best) step: Eating cancer-fighting foods that cut off the supply lines and beat cancer at its own game.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOD
Most Veterinarians will not discuss this with you. But Cancer is not as scary as the word Cachexia. In our opinion, giving quality food and not junk food is a very important part at this moment of time.
What we will suggest is to feed a ratio of 8:2 portion of vegetables to meat. Minimize the meat protein (avoid over cooking the meat or cooking the meat in high temperature) and supplement the protein with hardboiled heads instead.
THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD DRINKING WATER
Ensuring good quality drinking water is important. There has been some research of alkaline water and cancer. The ideology behind this is that cancer strives to grow in acidic environment and the people who supports this sort of therapy believes that providing Alkaline water, you can neutralize the body and make it less acidic. We cannot comment on this too much, because we do not there are some truth in this but we are unable to quantify this therapy.
From the pesticides used in agriculture, insecticides and cleaners used in households, and solvents used in paints to toys made of synthetic products and artificial preservatives and additives in our food, man-made chemicals and pollutants are everywhere. With so many synthetic chemicals around us, could some of these products—as well as other aspects of our environment—be causing cancer in our canine companions?
Dr. Larry Glickman, veterinarian and epidemiologist at Purdue University, has no doubt that they do. “Of course. There are many chemicals and environmental factors known to cause cancer in people, and many may also cause cancer in pets. The problem,” he observes, “is that these are far better studied in humans than in pets.”
Stop using harsh chemical immediately. For cleaning, use more natural items such as Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon Essential Oil. And if you have tough stains, consider using high pH water for cleaning.
Stop smoking at home or any form of burning at home. Remember, what does not affect you will affect your pet
OXYGEN – IT IS NEVER ENOUGH
The link between oxygen and cancer is clear. In fact, an underlying cause of cancer is low cellular oxygenation levels.
In newly formed cells, low levels of oxygen damage respiration enzymes so that the cells cannot produce energy using oxygen. These cells can then turn cancerous.
In 1931 Dr. Warburg won his first Nobel Prize for proving cancer is caused by a lack of oxygen respiration in cells. He stated in an article titled “The Prime Cause and Prevention of Cancer… the cause of cancer is no longer a mystery, we know it occurs whenever any cell is denied 60% of its oxygen requirements…”
Create an acrylic box, rent or buy a refurbished Oxygen Concentrator. This will be the place where your dog rest most of the time. While it is not as effective as Hyperbaric Oxygen, this is the next good thing to have.