Veterinarian petting a dog with its tongue out

What is chemotherapy for dogs?

Chemotherapy is considered a medical treatment to treat various cancers. The perspective on chemotherapy in animals differs a little compared to people. We do not treat so aggressively that the medications are worse than the disease itself. Often, we consider treatment to be a success if remission is obtained versus completely killing every abnormal cell in order to avoid the negative effects people imagine chemotherapy brings.

Will chemotherapy make my pet sick?

We cannot predict if your dog may be sensitive to individual medications, but we try to use dosages and chemotherapeutic agents that are less likely to cause illness. During chemotherapy treatments, we encourage communication and monitoring, so we may adjust the program. You will also have an ’emergency kit’, actually a few medications that alleviate negative effects for your dog to help manage symptoms as quickly as possible.

What are some common side effects of chemotherapy for dogs?

The most common side effects are likely the same you imagine: nausea, low white blood cells (impaired immune system). The other ‘side effect’ you may not consider is your dog’s urine and feces may be considered a biohazard shortly after treatment. This issue means you may need to take extra precautions with cleaning accidents. Our veterinarians and staff at Southampton Pet Hospital will review any concerns before and during chemotherapy.

How is chemotherapy administered in dogs?

Methods of chemo administration are specific to the medications involved. The most common methods for chemotherapy are oral (by mouth) and intravenous (into the vein directly).

What is the cost of canine chemotherapy?

There are a number of costs to consider when undergoing chemotherapy. Our first steps are initial cancer diagnosis and staging should be performed prior to discussing chemotherapy. Although they are an additional cost, they provide information that may help determine the probability of a good outcome. There are naturally the costs of chemo drugs and their administration. We also need to monitor certain blood parameters between treatments to ensure it is safe to continue treatment. Our staff can try to outline expected costs but may need to review prices throughout the process. You should never be concerned about discussing prices or concerns about the financial portion of your dog’s veterinary care.

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