The Truth About Pet Cancer (TAPC) is a slick bit of propaganda. Although it contains some interesting, even promising ideas, these are unfortunately served with a heavy seasoning of misinformation and fear-mongering. Hypotheses and opinions are presented as established facts, and anyone who disagrees is suggested to be ignorant at best, venal and corrupt at worst.
You can read my full article on the Science-based Medicine Blog-
What’s the Truth behind The Truth About Pet Cancer?
My Great Dane was diagnosed with oestosarcome today…. I am completely devastated. Options are so limited to treat this …. amputation ( not a good idea in a giant breed beyond any other reason ) , limb sparing / chemo – just bad all round as your beloved companion spends more time trying to recovery from all this to have any quality of life in maybe a 12month period of extended life , chemo-pretty useless in bone cancer even in humans / waste of mone6 and hard road for your furkid…. so I’m now complete struggling knowing what I do……. HELP ?!! PLEASE… I feel like I’m having an out of body experience trying to know where to go what to do how to help him …..so much complete and utter rubbish touted on internet like you have posted here etc that will ‘ save’ my Dane. Up until now he has been pretty damn healthy at near 10yrs old…and no I don’t want to hear he has had a great life getting to that age….. I want to help him…… PLEASE anyone, trials anywhere in the world maybe ? I live in Australia ….he is my companion,my protector, my best mate , he is all I have ????
I’m so sorry you and your friend have to face this. The bottom line is that you are right, there are no options that are proven to be safe and offer a cure or long-term control. Some dogs do much better than the average, for reasons we don’t always understand, but most have a fairly short time with this disease, and I always encourage owners to focus on well-being and comfort and joy for the pet during the time left, rather than grasping at straws, conventional or alternative, to wring a little more time out of treatment.
Your best bet is to find a board-certified veterinary cancer specialist and, ideally, someone well-versed in science-based palliative care medicine to help you. Beware of anyone claiming miracles, because they aren’t being truthful.
Good luck to you and your friend!
Tracey, my heartfelt condolences for this sad diagnosis. When my magnificent old German Shepherd friend was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in 2013, the vet oncology team at our state university vet school teaching hospital offered us palliative radiation. It’s not curative — it just makes the dog more comfortable for a while, and as you know, pain management is enormously important with this. They thought it would give him up to 6 relatively pain-free months — GOOD months — at a cost of US$2,000 or so. Half a year to a dog is a long time, and I needed more time with him desperately. Amputation wasn’t an option for us either as the tumor was in a forelimb, and he had bilateral hip dysplasia in the rear.
Unfortunately, this treatment first required a bone biopsy first to determine the type of cancer cells present…and the day before his first treatment, he developed a pathological fracture right where they did the biopsy. The bone just split apart right through the middle of the tumor. This fracture was the end for him. It required immediate euthanasia, as it’s a terribly painful thing and cannot heal. So…ask your vet oncologist about that risk and the potential benefits if palliative radiation is something that might help you get more quality time.
There’s also a wonderful book that I highly recommend called the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, co-written by a board-certified vet oncologist (Dr. Ettinger) and a holistic DVM (Dr. Dressler), in dialogue with one another–discussing what’s known, unknown, and where points of disagreement lie. Reading it before oncology appointments helped me formulate questions, and the oncology resident was very willing to talk through all of it. The book allowed me to focus my thoughts, get off the Internet, and start making notes for our oncology appointment. It also has excellent, compassionate self-care advice for the human facing this devastating news.
One more thing, and it’s important: one of the most crucial things we did early on was ask our regular vet — the general practice vet — to stay involved our treatment plan in consultation with our oncologist. We have a relationship going back years, and I trust him to do right by my animals. My instructions to him were clear: your job is tell me when it’s time to stop fighting. The oncologists tend to keep going until someone says “enough” — so it was critical for me to have someone I trust advising me so that my dog would not have to suffer due to my own unwillingness to let him go. My vet did his job when the fracture happened — “Maggie, it’s time.” Make sure you’ve got someone who’s in that role advocating for your Dane, as this is a painful cancer, and your inclination will likely be to fight with all you’ve got to keep him with you.
I hope you can get him many pain-free months!
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