The Full Spectrum Approach to Dog Cancer Care

Learn about the full spectrum approach to cancer treatment for dogs, where you use all available tools objectively and avoid personal bias.

James Jacobson: One of the most interesting things that you present in the book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide is this approach that you call the “full spectrum approach”. Dr. Dressler, what is the full spectrum approach and how do we use it?

Dr. Demian Dressler: The full spectrum approach is embodied by avoiding personal bias. These means that we do not want to exclude things that may help our dogs, because we don’t like where the information came from. Here’s how it works. As a conventional veterinarian, I graduated from Cornell Veterinary School and I learned conventional veterinary medicine. As time went on, I began to explore other areas, because some of the diseases that we deal with are a little bit frustrating. So, I began to delve in to more diet and more nutriceutical such as plant derived compounds that have beneficial medical effects in the body and mind body connection all these things. Now, many conventional vets will say “no, no… That’s not good,” because, it’s “alternative”. Now the flip side happens as well. We have veterinarian who considered themselves as alternative vets, and they say no, no conventional veterinary medicine antibiotic surgery, these types of things that’s no good either. Now, in order for us to deal with the disease, we’re really struggling both in human and in veterinary medicine. We do not have a cure for cancer unlike some other veterinary or medical issues. We need to look very, very objectively at all of the available tools we have and select from those intelligently and disregard our own personal biases as far as the color of the wrapping paper that the particular tool comes in.

James Jacobson: It makes sense. Dr. Ettinger, what’s your approach in terms of looking out it from a broad perspective like that?

Dr. Susan Ettinger: I think, it’s just important to learn about everything and consider all the options, and I think Dr. Dressler’s completely right and we both went to Cornell together and as you go out into the real world, you learned that there is more options out there and not everything is completely pharmaceuticals, and I think there’s a lot more spiritual connection and a lot of other things to consider.

James Jacobson: So, Dr. Dressler, when you talk about full spectrum, you’re not talking about holistic veterinary treatment per say.

Dr. Demian Dressler: Not at all. No, I don’t want to say ok we’re only going practice “holistic”, we’re only going to focus on diet we’re only going to focus on plant derived compounds, we’re only going to use acupuncture, and we’re not going to use all of the tools that we know have their place. This is why it is called full spectrum. This full spectrum approach is all about as objectively as possible avoiding hype, avoiding bias, assessing each tool independently and seeing well. Does this have merit in combating a disease that we struggle with? So, we’re looking for always new options, cause we want to improve survival times, get more life and make that life as good as it possibly could be.

James Jacobson: What is a very exciting approach and it certainly is throughout the book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. Thank you both for joining us today Dr. Dressler in Hawaii and Dr. Ettinger in New York. Thanks!

Dr. Demian Dressler & Dr. Susan Ettinger: Thank you.


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