Pet Tips Text

Cancer Chemotherapy Treatments



Hello, I’m Dr. David Roberts from Manchester West Vet Hospital, and today we’re going to talk about one of the more serious diseases that we see in our patients whether it’s a dog or a cat and that’s cancer.

Over the years, we have diagnosed cancer a lot more effectively which means we’re still seeing more cancer, and that’s something that owners are kind of concerned with, but it is out there.

So when we talk about the treatment for cancer, I’m going to tell you there are going to be three different ways to treat it. We’re going to talk about one of those today, but surgery is one of the starting points.

Chemotherapy is the next step, and radiation therapy, just like they do in humans, is the things that we utilize in veterinary medicine.

Today we are going to talk about chemotherapy, and I think the easiest cancer to talk about is called lymphoma or lymph sarcoma, same thing, but what it is is it’s a cancer of the lymph nodes.

So, we’ve talked about this in our previous segments where the signs of cancer, and one is if you’re feeling an enlargement under the neck right here, it’s probably not a good thing. But, it’s something that you want to have checked out. So when we look at lymphoma it’s a cancer that we can’t surgically remove all of the lymph nodes nor could we eradiate all of those lymph nodes.

So, we treat it with chemotherapy.

When your doctor, your veterinarian, uses chemotherapy, and there are board certified oncologists at the universities, at the teaching hospitals, and even you know at specialty hospitals.

What they’re going to do is they’re going to pretty much get all of the gear on, as I call it, and we basically want to make sure that we’re protecting ourselves. And we can use different types of glasses. We can use safety goggles. We can use more of a sunglass type of goggle, and what we’re going to do is show you some of the chemotherapy drugs that we use.

When we do this with a dog for this type of cancer called lymphoma, we actually use five different drugs and it’s a six month process.

So, think about that, it’s a six month process.

We start off with pills that are called prednisone. That is something that the pets receive. We use other drugs and this is called Vincristine. And we use a third one that is the pretty red drug that is called Doxorubicin or Adriamycin. So, if anyone looked into this they would say gosh if my dog has this, this is what I would do.

The point we try to make with our clients is that these dogs do great.

Emi’s mom, her mother, Bryon, a dog that has probably been in some of our other youtubes.

Bryon had the cancer, we gave her the sixth month treatment and she did great for, I would say, a good year afterwards. And we were very happy with that, for us, that was worth it. That was worth it to beat all things.

When we give these injections we just use a simple little, it’s called a butterfly catheter. We do that. We just inject it into the patient. They usually don’t feel a thing and they do great.

The thing that people ask is “well what can you expect?”. We don’t always know.

Again, I got a good year after medications, after chemo, for my dog. But chemotherapy doesn’t have the same connotations in a dog as it does in a human being, and that is they don’t lose their hair, they don’t get sick.

Yes, when we test before we do the chemotherapy, we test their white blood cell count, most of them are normal. We just finished a case in the past week, and the dog with 25 weeks, did perfectly fine. And it’s going to be something where people ask “what do you expect after that?” We don’t know exactly, we hope for the best. We hope for a year, maybe two years. For you or I, that would be, you know, seven or fourteen years when you think of the lifespan of a dog. When we look at our canine patients, we say when we’re done all you do is sit and wait, and enjoy every day.

Feel those lymph nodes with that particular type of cancer and, you know, keep an eye on them. Make sure that they’re eating and drinking, and doing what they should do.

The last thing is not all cancers are treated with chemotherapy. There are some cancers that are treated solely with surgery. There are some cancers that have to have radiation, maybe, after a surgery. And we’re going to dwell on that in our next episodes.

I’m Dr. David Roberts from Manchester West Veterinary Hospital.

Thank you for tuning in.



Located In Ellisville, MO



We're located just off Manchester Road (Hwy 100)
one mile West of Clarkson Rd.


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