The Making of the Dog Cancer Vet

“Cancer” is the last word any dog lover wants to hear from their veterinarian’s lips. It’s such a little word – but it means something very, very big. To many dog lovers, it sounds like a death sentence. Many veterinarians feel the same way.

Dr. Demian Dressler, affectionately called “the dog cancer vet” by readers of the blog he started in early 2008, used to agree. Watching cancer rates skyrocket in his canine patients, he felt helpless and, frankly, a little depressed. The treatments he could offer as a conventional veterinarian – surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation – seemed inadequate to deal with cancer. His clients – dog lovers – didn’t want to “buy time” with their dog. They wanted their dog to feel better. They wanted real answers, and most of all, they wanted hope.

So Dr. Dressler did what a good scientist does: he hit the books and looked for new answers. He didn’t expect to find much, at first. He trained at Cornell University’s veterinary school, named number one vet school in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report, and he figured that his education had equipped him well.

What he found blew his mind. The current research was looking at botanicals for cancer treatments. And diet mattered, it seemed, a lot more than he’d been taught. As he read and researched and cross-referenced, he realized that there was a lot more – a LOT more – that he could teach his clients about dog cancer. And there was real hope.

Dr. Demian Dressler, the Dog Cancer Vet, with his Chow Chow, Bjorn.

The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Dr. Dressler started writing the first edition of his authoritative, comprehensive The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, and he started blogging about dog cancer. He also started offering some of what he learned to patients in his vet hospital in Maui, Hawaii. As thousands of dog lovers all over the world applied his advice with their own sick dogs, he started to hear wonderful stories. Here are just a few:

Caesar Smashed Statistics Because of This Book

Caesar was diagnosed with a Mast Cell Tumor Grade/Stage III when he was just over a year old. We had a clean removal of the tumor from his inner rear thigh, and began chemo very shortly after. It was a very scary time, but we were fortunate to have a great vet who made some fantastic recommendations to a local pet store. The pet store owner made a recommendation to a lady who specifically deals with Boxers, and she recommended The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. We have recommended the guide to our vet and anyone we know who is going through this horrible process. Caesar has six month checkups and he is now approaching four years old. He has smashed most of the statistics out there and I directly attribute that to Dr. Dressler’s book, our support group and the diet he is now on.

Matt Cantine, White House, Tennessee

The Only Comprehensive Research … With a Personal Touch

“Dr. Dressler’s book was the only comprehensive research I was able to find on this subject. I found it to be thorough when dealing with all aspects of cancer in dogs with a personal touch that made me feel that he was addressing me personally.”

Mike Bertuleit, Bowling Green, Kentucky

Our Reference

We learned a significant amount from the book, and we continue to use it as a reference. Our standard poodle has had a tremendous boost out of chemo (there has been only one round of the 19 week protocol), and we are now at over nineteen months since the end of chemo and we are approaching two years since diagnosis. Apocaps is central to her regimen still, and we use and have used many other recommendations from the book as well. She has lived, and more importantly she has thrived, well beyond the statistical norm, and we credit the book and Apocaps for much of that success. Dr. Dressler is honest and realistic about prognosis, and yet he offers hope and evidence-based advice, and the learned and professional integration of conventional and alternative approaches is something that we did not find anywhere else.

Bob Andersen, Broadway, Virginia

Full Spectrum Medicine

Dr. Dressler’s approach is called Full Spectrum, because it includes everything that helps, no matter where it comes from. The conventional tools (chemo, surgery, radiation) are indeed helpful in some cases. But so are the best options from alternative medicine. Botanical nutraceuticals – an area he has become obsessed with – can really help. And so can supplements, immune boosters, and improvements in the diet.

What really sets Dr. Dressler’s approach apart is his insistence that dog lovers view their own emotions and their dog’s moods as part of the treatment. A stressed dog does not heal as easily as a relaxed dog, Dr. Dressler has found. You could say the “heart” of the Full Spectrum approach to dog cancer is his emotional and relationship management strategies. He even recommends mind-body medicine techniques that deliberately modify brain chemistry to enhance the body’s natural cancer-fighting systems!

New Edition, New Doctor

Dr. Demian Dressler with co-author Dr. Susan Ettinger.

As time went on, and Dr. Dressler found out more information, he realized that he needed to produce a second edition of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. That’s when Dr. Susan Ettinger, a veterinary oncologist in New York City, joined him as co-author. The resulting book, available in both paperback and digital editions, is 476 pages long and jam-packed with everything you need to know about dog cancer. It even includes an entire section about how to develop a specific plan for your dog, in conjunction with your vet, that takes into account the diagnosis, your dog’s age, your financial and time budget, your personality, and many other personal factors.

The Dog Cancer Survival Guide is absolutely indispensable for anyone dealing with dog cancer. Also check out the Dog Cancer Diet, an excerpt from the guide that focuses exclusively on how to feed your dog.

Dr. Dressler and Dr. Ettinger also created a host of videos where they answer the most pressing questions dog lovers first ask when they hear their dog has cancer. There’s almost two hours of videos about every conceivable subject at DogCancer.TV.

The new edition of the Guide garnered praise from veterinarians and dog authors across the U.S. Here are just a few:

The future is upon us and this ground-breaking book is a vital cornerstone. In dealing with cancer, our worst illness, this Survival Guide is educational, logical, expansive, embracing, honest – and so needed.

Dr. Marty Goldstein, DVM, Holistic veterinarian and Host, Ask Martha Stewart’s Vet on Sirius Radio

The message of this book jumps off the written page and into the heart of every reader, and will become the at home bible for cancer care of dogs. The authors have given you a sensible and systematic approach that practicing veterinarians will cherish. I found the book inspiring and, clearly, it will become part of my daily approach to cancer therapy for my own patients.

Dr. Robert B. Cohen, VMD, Bay Street Animal Hospital, New York

Picking up The Dog Cancer Survival Guide is anything but a downer: it’s an ‘empowerer.’ It will make you feel like the best medical advocate for your dog. It covers canine cancer topics to an unprecedented depth and breadth – from emotional coping strategies to prevention – in plain English. Read this book, and you will understand cancer stages, treatment options, and types, and much more. If you have just had the dreaded news, pick up a copy and it will guide the decisions your dog trusts you to make.

Laure-Anne Viselé, Dog behavior specialist and technical dog writer,

To learn more to help your dog, follow these links:

The Dog Cancer Kit has everything you need to get started.

The Dog Cancer Survival Guide a must-have for anyone dealing with dog cancer, the number one killer of dogs.

The Dog Cancer Diet, the eBook excerpt of the chapter on nutrition in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

The Dog Cancer Shop, an online shop powered by Amazon where you can find Dr. Dressler's latest recommendations for helping your dog.

Dog Cancer TV, a crash course in dog cancer, with over 40 video interviews with Dr. Dressler and Dr. Ettinger.

Dog Cancer Blog, where Dr. Dressler and Dr. Ettinger blog about their latest findings and experience with dog cancer.