Animal Cancer Clinic
Dr. Frederick Labavitch
Providing Quality Pet Care

Chemotherapy

There is only one word that scares people more than the word cancer, and that would be chemotherapy.  The term “chemotherapy” is the use of a group of medications to treat cancer.  The medications travel in the body and are given intravenously but some can be given by mouth.  Most chemotherapy drugs work either by damaging DNA or RNA within the cancer cell or by interfering with the ability of the cell to function, thereby killing it.

After the initial patient evaluation, blood is drawn for laboratory tests. A CBC (complete blood cell count) is required for the veterinarian to know the status of the blood cell picture, the number of cells present, the type of cells, etc. This will determine if the patient is in condition to receive a chemotherapeutic agent and how much should be given. After this determination, the patient is prepared for an intravenous injection of the selected agent. Certain types are given quickly while other types require a several hour procedure involving the agent being combined with I.V. fluids and administered slowly into the vein. Occasionally, chemistry tests are required to assess the patient’s overall body systems, such as how the liver, kidneys, pancreas and urinary tract are functioning. Older pets, those with heart conditions, or those to be given certain chemotherapeutic drugs are required to have an initial, complete electrocardiogram (ECG) performed. Follow-up partial ECGs will be performed as the patient progresses. Patients may require X-rays to evaluate their chest or abdomen. Some patients may be required to receive chemotherapeutic agents at home in the form of capsules or tablets. Special handling information will be given at the time these medications are dispensed.

  • Use the flow-sheet provided. Return it and all medication each time you bring your pet to the clinic. We will dispose of any pill vials that contained   chemotherapeutic agents.      
  • If your pet is due for medication on an appointment day, follow the chemotherapy protocol and mark it off on the flow sheet.
  • If your pet is due for medication on an appointment day, follow the chemotherapy protocol and mark it off on the flow sheet.
  • Call us if your pet has any adverse reaction to any medication or treatment such as vomiting, lack of appetite, lethargy, etc. Although this does not usually occur, each patient can react differently. We may be able to provide a substitute medication.
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