Chemotherapy in Pets

chemoThe use of chemotherapy in pets with cancer has risen dramatically over the past several years. When deciding whether to treat a pet with chemotherapy it is important to consider the potential benefits as well as risks associated with such therapy. It is also important to understand the similarities and differences between chemotherapy in pets compared to what is commonly seen in people.


Chemotherapy can be used in many ways. It can be used as a sole treatment for certain cancers such as lymphoma, but more commonly, it is used in conjunction with other treatment modalities such as surgery and/or radiation therapy. Most chemotherapy protocols for pets have a finite treatment schedule, with the majority of drugs following a once every 2-3 week schedule for 4-8 treatments. An exception to this generalization is the treatment of lymphoma, which employs weekly chemotherapy treatments often exceeding 12 total treatments. Ultimately, the type of cancer being treated and the overall goal of therapy dictate the recommended chemotherapy protocol and treatment duration.


Regardless of the setting, the ultimate goal of any cancer treatment, including chemotherapy, is to provide control of the cancer while limiting side effects. In order to fulfill this goal of keeping pets feeling well while undergoing therapy, the dose and scheduling of chemotherapy for pets is in general less aggressive that those used in human oncology. As a result, the veterinary experience with chemotherapy is often much better than that seen in human oncology.


In all cases, we will determine the specific treatment that serves your pet and your situation. For more information regarding chemotherapy treatment in pets, please click on the PDF logo.




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