A picture of the book Sit, Stay, Heal.

The amazing Dr. Renee Alsarraf graced us with an interview, and we are very excited to share it with you! Dr. Alsarraf is an oncologist who works with dogs dealing with cancer. She is also the author of one of the books I read for my reading challenge, “Sit, Stay, Heal,” which is a fantastic memoir about her treating dogs while also battling her own cancer.

We asked Dr. Alsarraf the following questions about her life, her book, and yes, chihuahuas! We are so grateful such an amazing author had time for All Things Chihuahua.

This interview will be written in a slightly different style, since it was over the phone the quotes are approximate based off my memory and notes.

How is everyone post-memoir?

Our first question was of course, “How are you? How are the dogs?”

We are so proud to report that Dr. Alsarraf is doing well, and her own oncologist used a different “C” word. C-u-r-e!!! We are so pleased to hear this, that Dr. Alsarraf is doing well, and that her current dog, Rusty, is also doing great!

Are Turkey Tails a Common Treatment?

When our own dog went through a cancer scare, our oncologist recommended turkey tails as a treatment. When I read the book, I was surprised to read that this supplement wasn’t used in the book.

I asked Dr. Alsarraf about this, and she said turkey tails are great! The memoir is a snapshot of a point in time when research wasn’t readily available about it. There were also changes in cancer treatment Dr. Alsarraf made footnotes about, since treatments change as new knowledge becomes available.

More about the Webinars Dr. Alsarraf Does

If you read Sit, Stay, Heal, it’s evident how invested Dr. Alsarraf is in her canine patients. That care even extends beyond her own patients, to helping other veterinarians understand canine cancer better. She has provided over 150 webinars for veterinarians around the world.

She has also graciously shared her time on NPR, Good Morning America, and so many other venues.

Questions We Had to Ask

Since this is a chihuahua blog, it makes sense to ask Dr. Alsarraf about chihuahuas. Thankfully, chihuahuas aren’t a terribly common breed in her practice. The most common types of cancer she has personally seen in chihuahuas are Lymphoma and mammary gland tumors. Less common but still there would be mast cells like the kind Sandy had.

So what should we look out for in our pups? Any new lump or bump should be checked out by a vet. Increasing appetite but decreasing weight, lethargy, drinking more water or urinating more could all be early signs of cancer.

That’s all we covered in our interview with Dr. Alsarraf. We hope you enjoyed reading it, and definitely check out her book, Sit, Stay, Heal!

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By Andrea

Andrea is a dedicated dog mom of three chihuahuas. She has over a decade of experience as a dog groomer, chihuahua owner, and more recently as a dog trainer. She loves all things canine, particularly chihuahuas.

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