CHEMOTHERAPY
types & possible reactions

Cancer is defined as "a malignant growth of tissue tending to spread and associated with general ill health and progressive emaciation". Researchers in both human and veterinary medicine are still working to discover the underlying cause of this disease. An animal's body is made up of cells. The healthy cells will grow, divide and replace themselves in a systematic fashion. This natural process helps keep the body in good repair and slows the effects of daily wear and tear. Cancer cells do not develop normally. They continuously multiply and divide; they never properly mature and reach a resting state. There is no order or system to their replication.
Each cancer cell type has its own distinctive course of development, however, the cancer cell in most cancers develops into a mass of cells called a tumor. The single cancerous cell must multiply and divide into a mass of tissue that contains 1 billion cells and weighs 1 gram before it is clinically detectable. Many tumors do not directly cause problems to the body but merely occupy more space than they are naturally allotted. They crowd out the vital functions of other parts of the body and may cause complications due to this interference. Other tumors are "functional" and produce hormones or other substances that do directly affect the body.

If your dog is undergoing Chemo DO NOT get Rabies or any other kind of vaccination!  See our Vaccines info page



SOME COMMON CHEMO DRUGS

Oncovin (Vincristine): Is a chemotherapy drug dispensed intravenously (IV).  Given through IV.

L-Asparginase (Elspar): Sometimes given with vincristine.

Cytoxan (Cyclophosphamide): Is a very powerful chemotherapy drug dispensed in pill form and administered orally; usually by the pet owner at home. CAUTION:  Extreme care should be taken when handling this drug as it is very toxic to you and other family pets. Always wear latex gloves when handling this drug as it can be absorbed through your skin.  If cytoxan is given via IV there is a higher risk of blood in the kidneys, therefore IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU MAKE YOUR PET URINATE OFTEN FOR THE 1st 48 HOURS AFTER HAVING THIS DRUG- MAKE THEM DRINK AND FLUSH OUT KIDNEYS. If they get sick and refuse to drink ask the vet to show you how to give them fluids under the skin. If this is not done your dog may get a kidney infection or develope a kidney problem that will then need treatment. Both forms of cytoxan are effective, it's just that the IV form can aggravate kidneys a bit more/ the oral form is easier on the kidneys but may make the animal slightly more nauseous. You vet should advise you to start your pet on COMPAZINE 2 days prior to administering this drug. IF YOUR VET DOES NOT GIVE YOU COMAPZINE FOR YOUR DOG MAKE SURE YOU TELL THE VET YOU WANT IT! Also note: If your pet has the IV version 1st time around and gets ill, then next time your pet is given cytoxan INSIST that it be given in tablet form along with the compazine!

Oncovin (Vincristine): Is a chemotherapy drug dispensed intravenously (IV).  Given through IV.

Adriamycin (Doxorubicin):    Said to be the "gold standard" for LYMPHOMA. It is recommended that an ultrasound be done on the heart as it can have a damaging effect (OVER TIME) on the heart. Your vet should advise you to start your pet on COMPAZINE or REGLAN 2 days prior to administering this drug.
 


 

DRUGS USED TO CONTROL SIDE EFFECTS

Compazine (PROCHLORPERAZINE) vs. Reglan (Metoclopromide)
To control NAUSEA, Reglan can be given in tablet form or your doctor may give an injection. Most feel the injection works better because when the stomach is upset Reglan may not be fully absorbed. COMPAZINE (PROCHLORPERAZINE) is the preferred medication to give in tablet form at home. These drugs do the same thing but one may work better for you animal then another. If you try one and it doesn't work ask to try the other.  If your vet refuses ask WHY? (see Destiny's Story). In some cases when severe nausea is present your vet may suggest the Compazine and Reglan be given together as they can enhance each other.

Metronidazole
Given to control DIARRHEA.

Your oncologist will give you more information on these drugs and possible side effects as each dog and breed is an individual case.

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