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Chemotherapy for Dogs

As our companion animals live longer and as we learn more about cancer, we realize that we can have some reasonable success in the treatment or palliative therapy of cancer in dogs. In many cases, your veterinarian may refer your dog to a specialist for consultation and to set up a treatment protocol. Most follow up treatments can be performed as outpatient procedures here at Van Isle Veterinary hospital and your veterinarian will work closely with the oncologist for your dog’s most successful outcome.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is the treatment of illness by chemical means. Depending on the type of cancer, your veterinarian may use a single agent or a combination of drugs. Chemotherapy is often used in combination with the surgical removal of various cancers. Chemotherapy is often used to extend and improve the quality of your dog’s life, however remission is not always the goal.

Will chemotherapy make my pet sick, common side effects?

Chemotherapeutic drugs do have potential side effects however, we tend not to treat as aggressively as in human medicine in hopes of maintaining a quality of life. Common side effects can be vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia and or bone marrow suppression.

How is it given?

Most chemotherapy agents are administered either orally, intravenously or subcutaneously (injection under the skin). Most patients are admitted to the hospital for a short period of time to be closely monitored during treatment. Typically, a blood count is done prior to treatment and some dogs may also receive anti-nauseant medications. During treatment, technicians and doctors are required to wear protective gear such as gloves, masks and safety glasses while handling chemotherapy drugs. Due to potential exposure, owners will be advised of the proper handling of your pet’s saliva, vomitus, urine and feces.

Cost of Canine Chemotherapy?

The cost of canine chemotherapy can vary greatly depending on the type of cancer being treated and the protocol recommended by your veterinarian and referring oncologist. Most referral cases will receive a quote prior to treatment.

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