The Dog Cancer Survival Guide – Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality & Longevity
By Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM
With Dr. Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM Diplomate American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Oncology)
Copyright 2011 by Maui Media, LLC (2nd edition)
496 pages paperback
The title of this book might lead you to believe that it’s all about helping your dog to survive cancer. But the sad truth is that a lot of dogs won’t, and often the most we can hope for is more time and quality of life for that time. This book is written not only to help your dog, but to help you survive your dog’s cancer, by helping you to “calm down, think clearly, and choose wisely from among the tools that have been credibly shown to help canine cancer.”
When Sheba’s spindle cell sarcoma came back for the second time, and we got the news that this cancer was a grade III (the most aggressive grade) and going to return again; we weren’t left with a lot of options. We would have to travel hours to visit an oncologist, and there are not a lot of treatment options other than radiation for this type of cancer. That was not something that we chose to do, but I needed to do something.
When this book was recommended to me by more than one friend, I knew reading it was something positive to do to try to help. It turned out to be just what I needed to confirm that we were making the best decisions for Sheba; but to also know that there were many other things we could do to help her not just possibly slow down the cancer’s return, but to give her a good quality of life for whatever time she has left. That is our goal.
There is so much to this book, I couldn’t even begin to cover it all here. It is divided into five parts, plus five appendices and an index.
- Part 1: My Dog Has Cancer, Now What? This section gives you tools to cope with this devastating diagnosis.
- Part 2: What You Should Know About Dog Cancer. This gives you important information about cancer, so you can make good decisions for your dog.
- Part 3: Full Spectrum Cancer Care: This section covers the five most important facets of cancer care: conventional medicine, apoptogens, boosting of the immune system, diet, and modifying your dog’s brain chemistry.
- Part 4: Making Confident Choices. This is a step-by-step guide to help you make decisions, work with your veterinarian, and be organized. There is also a section on end-of-life care.
- Part 5: From the oncologist. Dr. Dressler is not an oncologist, so Dr. Ettinger wrote this section describing the 12 common canine cancers in detail. She gives conventional treatment recommendations and discusses common chemotherapy drugs and their side effects.
Once you have made it through all the parts, the author recaps it as well and sends you back to the original chapters for more details if you need to revisit them.
There are three things I greatly appreciate about this book:
- Dr. Dressler writes in easy to understand terms, never over my head, which struggles with science.
- He and Dr. Ettinger disagree sometimes, and they tell you that. There are sidebars that explain their differences. Medicine is not always black and white, and they are honest about that.
- Dr. Dressler has developed a nutraceutical (a “purified substance from a natural, usually dietary, source that can yield health benefits”) called Apocaps, for cancer care. He promotes this product in the book; but he is never pushy about it and he encourages the reader to make their own evaluation and to discuss use of it with their oncologist.
This book has been a great aid to me, I am so glad I read it, and my hubby and I discussed things from it before making decisions on what we might try for Sheba. I am going to use this book review as a kick off for a series I am going to write on the things we are doing for her. It’s too much for one post. I’ll refer back to the book and to other sources of information I used; while telling you about the things we have decided to do to try to help her and why.
One other note: this book also includes information on the kinds of things that are believed to possibly cause cancer in dogs. That makes this book useful to any pet family, not just those actively dealing with cancer. Since we have had many pets with cancer, this information was also very, very important to us. Honestly, I feel like it was hard to do this book justice in a short book review. I highly recommend it. You don’t have to do everything this book tells you to, you can pick and choose what works for you. That is exactly what the author encourages you to do.