SAN DIEGO — A 9-year-old bulldog is defying the odds after a grim cancer diagnosis. It turns our major medical advances are helping pets live longer lives.  

Emerson was given just 30 days to live – but that was seven months ago.  

"It was a tumor that couldn't be operated on,” said owner Tracy Myers. “He couldn't receive chemo or radiation. They couldn't do surgery so they said maybe you should consider putting him to sleep.”  

Tracy Myers says Emerson was vomiting, jaundice and lethargic but she wasn't ready to say goodbye. So she took him to a pet cancer specialist. 

"Cancer itself is one of the most prevalent diseases in the animal population,” said Dr. David Proulx.  

Proulx is an oncologist with the newly launched VCA Pet Cancer Care Centers - a network of 35 facilities around the country working together with top-of-the-line equipment to provide pets with world-class cancer treatment. One of their centers is located in Carlsbad. 

"Probably less than 10% of human facilities have equipment that is this good,” said Dr. Proulx. 

He says medical advances focused on animals could one day help humans too.  The technology is quickly improving helping pets survive with a better quality of life. 

"There are newer therapies available where we can try to achieve a good balance between maintaining and preserving quality of life yet still having a good result,” said Proulx. 

Tracy says Emerson is back to being himself and says thanks to major medical advances owners should not immediately assume their pet's cancer is a death sentence.  

"Just because a vet tells you to put your animal to sleep, you don't have to believe them,” Tracy said. “You can get another opinion.”