By on December 6, 2012

By Sandra Dale Smolker

Did you know 50% of dogs will die of cancer, any age, any breed, some breeds more than others? I sure didn’t.  I never even thought about it.  Finding out unexpectedly that Bernie had a Mast Cell Tumor was the worst day in my entire life!

I took Bernie to see Dr. Joyce Loeser, a Veterinarian that specializes in rehabilitation.  I wanted a Veterinarian that was also a Chiropractor and she came highly recommended.  She also does acupuncture. Bernie is a Whippet, the breed best known to be the fastest running for the short distance.  He is in the Greyhound family. Greyhound, Whippet (mid-size), Italian Greyhound (smallest).  I could tell by the way he was running that he had a problem, which turned out his T10 was out of alignment. He also had a slight limp.  I had noticed on his thin hind leg below his hock that it looked swollen compared to his other leg.  I mentioned that to Dr. Loeser thinking that might be the cause of his slight limp.  His leg was swollen in the past but went away.  Dr. Loeser felt his leg and said she thought it was a Mast Cell Tumor.  When I heard the word “tumor”, I expected to see a lump, not just a swollen area. I did not know what a Mast Cell Tumor was at that point.  She did a needle aspirate and would let me know the results.  After the shock, came the tears and anger.  How could this happen to my sweet boy?  Driving home, crying all the way, I didn’t know who to turn to.  Luckily, I belong to a lot of Whippet groups on-line.  That started my journey.  I don’t know what I would have done without the support and advice I had gotten through them, friends and through networking. Thanks everyone!

I hope you never need this information, but I suggest starting with the links below to begin your research, get another opinion or two from another Veterinarian or Oncologist, and decide which treatment you feel is the best way to go.  Consider if you want to do surgery, chemo, radiation or alternative healing methods or use both conventional and holistic.  A change in diet is a must.  Most of all, keep the HOPE (hold onto positive energy).  If your Vet gives you a time-line, just know that a lot of dogs prove them wrong by years, not months.

The Monster can strike at any time!

10 Common Signs of Cancer in Small Animals

  1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
  2. Sores that do not heal
  3. Weight loss
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  6. Offensive odor
  7. Difficulty eating or swallowing
  8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
  9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
  10. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating


I’m not endorsing any of these books, these are merely the books I read.

The Nature of Animal Healing by Dr. Martin Goldstein

The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs by Dr. Shawn Messonnier

Help Your Dog Fight Cancer by Laurie Kaplan

Sparky Fights Back by Josée Clerens and John Clifton


I recommend joining a support group.

Bone Cancer

Cancer Pet Loss

Canine Cancer Awareness

Canine Cancer

Canine Cancer Comfort

Circle of Grey (for Greyhounds and Whippets only)

Endless Love

Lymphoma Heart

Pet Cancer Support Group


Please contribute for those who can’t afford cancer treatment.  Thank you.



National Canine Cancer Foundation

Special Care Foundation

Veterinary Cancer Society




Auburn University

College of Veterinary Medicine

Auburn  (334) 844-4546


Tuskegee University

College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health

Tuskegee  (334) 727-8309

Veterinary Science



University of Arizona

Veterinary Science & Microbiology

Tucson  (520) 621-4466



California State Polytechnic University

Animal & Veterinary Sciences

Pomona  (909) 486-5020

Animal Health Science, Animal Industries/Business

Management, Equine Industry, Pre-Veterinary Science/Graduate School


Stanford School of Medicine – Stanford

(650) 723-6861
Laboratory Animal Care


University of California – Davis

School of Veterinary Medicine

Davis  (530) 752-1360
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine


Western University of Health Sciences

College of Veterinary Medicine

Pomona  (909) 469-5628



Colorado State University

College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences  Fort Collins (970) 491-7051
BS, MS, DVM and a PhD degree




University of Connecticut

Department of Pathobiology & Veterinary Science

Storrs  (860) 486-3736



European Board of Veterinary Specialisation

Avenue du Guéret 1
1300 Limal

Tel : + 32 (0)10 400 603
Fax: + 32 (0)10 400 703

E-mail: Sharon Green


European organisations/schools



University of Florida

The College of Veterinary Medicine

Gainesville  (352) 392-4700



University of Georgia

College of Veterinary Medicine

Athens  (706) 542-5289



Univeristy of Illinois

College of Veterinary Medicine

Urbana (202) 682-0750



Purdue University

School of Veterinary Medicine

West Lafayette  (765) 494-8636
Veterinary Technician/Technologist, Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)



Iowa State University

College of Veterinary Medicine

Ames (515) 294-6808




Kansas State University

College of Veterinary Medicine

Manhattan (785) 532-4335



University of Kentucky

Department of Veterinary Science

Lexington (859) 257-2000



Louisiana State University

School of Veterinary Medicine

Baton Rouge (225) 578-9900



Johns Hopkins University

Comparitive Medicine

Baltimore (410) 955-5000
Animal & Human Disease Research



Harvard University

Harvard Medicine

New England Primate Research Center

Boston | (617) 432-1000


Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Division of Comparative Medicine

Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine

Cambridge (617) 253-1757


Tufts University

School of Veterinary Medicine

North Grafton  (508) 839-5302
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine(DVM), Master of Science in

Animals and Public Policy, Doctor of Philosophy



Michigan State University  

College of Veterinary Medicine

East Lansing (517) 353-9793


University of Michigan    

Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine

Ann Arbor (734) 936-1037



University of Minnesota   

College of Veterinary Medicine

St. Paul  (612) 624-4747



Mississippi State University

College of Veterinary Medicine

Mississippi State (662) 325-2323



University of Missouri

College of Veterinary Medicine

Columbia (573) 884-6435



University of Nebraska  

Department of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences

Lincoln (402) 472-2952


New York

Cornell University   

College of Veterinary Medicine

Ithaca (607) 253-3700


Ross University    

School of Veterinary Medicine

New York (212) 279-5500
DVM-Veterinary Medicine, Ph.D.-Veterinary Medicine


North Carolina

North Carolina State University

College of Veterinary Medicine

Raleigh (919) 513-6262


North Dakota

North Dakota State University

Department of Veterinary and Microbiological Sciences

Fargo (701) 231-8643



The Ohio State University           

College of Veterinary Medicine

Columbus (614) 292-1171



Oklahoma State University

Veterinary Medicine

Stillwater  (405) 744-6653

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)



Oregon State University   

College of Veterinary Medicine

Corvallis (541) 737-2098



Pennsylvania State University

Dept. of Veterinary Science

University Park (814) 865-7696


University of Pennsylvania           

Veterinary Medicine

Philadelphia  (215) 898-5434


Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island

Dept. of Fisheries, Animal & Veterinary Science

Kingston (401) 874-2477


South Dakota

South Dakota State University    

Veterinary Science Department

Brookings  (605) 688-5171



University of Tennessee      

College of Veterinary Medicine

Knoxville (865) 974-VETS



Texas A & M University       

College of Veterinary Medicine

College Station (979) 845-5051
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)



Utah State University    

Animal, Dairy, Veterinary Science

Logan (435) 797-2162



VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine

Blacksburg (540) 231-4699



Washington State University      

College of Veterinary Medicine

Pullman (509) 335-9515



University of Wisconsin-Madison  

School of Veterinary Medicine

Madison (608) 263-2525



University of Wyoming          

Department of Veterinary Sciences

Laramie (307) 742-6638
BS Pre-veterinary Medicine







Louisiana State

Univ GA

Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado


Colorado State

Purdue University:

University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital:

Morris Animal Foundation:

Animal Clinical Investigation (in MD)

The Modiano Lab at the Cancer Center at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center


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