View Full Version : Chemo for dogs

25th January 2009, 02:20 PM
I just found out the my parents 10yr old goldie might have cancer.

He has to have one of his dew claws plus a lump under it removed tomorrow. They said he may loose his leg and/or have to have chemo.

How hard is chemo on dogs? Do they loose hair like we do?

I've never had any experience of chemo with dogs.

Muttley is a pretty healthy dog but does have an over-active thyroid - would this effect the treatment?

Any info/thoughts welcome

25th January 2009, 03:41 PM
Here is what I found about chemo side effects in dogs:

Dogs don't usually suffer the severe side effects of chemotherapy as humans experience because humans are treated more aggressively with chemotherapy. Very often with animals the goal is to maintain the quality of life during the life extending treatment. Pet owners often worry about their animal losing all its fur during chemotherapy. Gladly, this is not usually the case. The reason that humans lose their hair during chemotherapy is that the drugs attack cells that are actively growing (i.e. cancer cells). Since human hair continues to grow (hence the need for constant haircuts), hair loss occurs during chemotherapy. In dogs and cats hair loss is much less of problem because most domestic breeds do not have continual hair growth.

Despite this good news, you can expect the coat in some cases to become a little thinner and some loss of shine might occur. Unfortunately, those pets that need a regular trim, might be susceptible to hair loss. However these effects are reversed when the animal stops chemotherapy. Despite the fact that the side effects of chemotherapy in animals are not as severe as they are for humans, do bear in mind that strong drugs are being used which can cause tiredness and loss of appetite. Your vet will advise you on what to expect which to some extent will depend on the breed of your animal, the state of the disease and on the drugs used.

I know a vizsla who lost his leg to cancer in the last year. He also had chemo. He is doing great. It is a front leg and he gets around without any problem! He even figured out how to hike his leg again balancing on two.

Recently, he went in a costume contest with his owner. He was dressed as a pirate (complete with hook-arm) and she was his wench! It was so cute...they won!

I hope your parent's dog will fare as well.

Cathy T
25th January 2009, 05:08 PM
I had a cat with abdominal lymphoma who was on chemo meds for about 18 months. She had very few side effects. The cancer caused her to vomit frequently but we were able to keep that under control. We administered the chemo meds ourselves (had to use rubber gloves as we weren't supposed to touch the medication ourselves) in a pill form about every 6-8 weeks (the times varied throughout the 18 months) and she did fine on them. She was given 6 weeks to live and lived a full 18 months after diagnosis with few complications. We had several complications from the cancer (fluid in her chest cavity) but the chemo drugs were relatively easy to handle.

25th January 2009, 05:24 PM
Thanks guys, I'm gonna forward this info on to my parents as they are really worried about Muttley. It comes at a bad time for them as they had their other dog put to sleep over christmas. Fingers crossed the surgery tomorrow won't find any cancer at At all.

25th January 2009, 06:12 PM
Hi Sonia,

Our first golden saxon had cancer of the nose, it was quite repulsive to look at but you could actuallly see the cells being destroyed, he had only half a nose. He had radio therapy and chemo therapy, which stopped the cancer. He lost no hair and to be honest was no different - he didn't act sick or anything. He then went on to have a gastric torsion after that which he survived:) - so all in all they do seem to have less side effects and are ceratinly less miserable about the word "cancer" than us humans are.

Anyways, will be thinking of you and :xfngr: all will be fine

Cathy T
25th January 2009, 07:02 PM
Another thought on the positive side....surgery may remove the cancer entirely (if it is cancer) if it's hasn't spread. Jake had oral surgery when he was 2 and had his upper left jawbone removed. I had been given a very negative prognosis for him....and at 6 years old he's still with me and shows no signs of remission. I was also told chemo/radiation but since the surgery removed the entire mass and it hadn't spread we did not need to do either. Hoping for good results for your parents.

25th January 2009, 09:10 PM
:xfngr: Muttley will get some good news tomorrow and he wont have to go through with the chemo or amputation. Will be thinking of the poor little pet in the morn..

26th January 2009, 01:51 AM
For those who are interested or who unfortunately need to live through that with their dog or cat, my next newsletter is specifically about cancer in pets. You are welcome to check it out on my web site, where there is also a ton of information about specific cancers + chemo + radiation therapy.
The newsletter is free :-)

Dr Zeltzman
www.DrPhilZeltzman.com (http://www.DrPhilZeltzman.com)

Cathy T
26th January 2009, 03:25 AM
I've subscribed. Having been through this I am particularly interested in the upcoming letter.

26th January 2009, 10:19 AM
Ive subscribbed too - but hopefully I wont need the info!

Fingers crossed for the op today:xfngr:

26th January 2009, 02:50 PM

Just heard the op went well but as Muttley is a pain in the **** my sister had to pick him up early as he was barking like a good thing!

His toe has gone off to be tested - I'm a bit confused I wouldnt consider a dew claw a toe really. I'm going to phone mum tonight so hopefully I'll be able to get to the bottom of it!

Fingers (& toes:)) crossed the tests come back negative :xfngr:
(how long roughly do these tests take in the UK?)

26th January 2009, 05:40 PM
Good to hear Muttley got through the op okay (by the way I LOVE his name!) - Hope his results come back negative :xfngr:

26th January 2009, 10:16 PM
Just spoke to mum & got the full story.

The lump wasn't on the dew claw - mum thought the 1st toe was called the dew claw! So the lump was on his 1st toe, the vet hoped to just remove the lump but when she opened it up it looked nasty so she took the whole toe & sent it off for testing. She said she didn't want to speculate whether it is cancerous or not but will get results next week. She did say that cancer in toes usualy didn't spread so is hopefully if it is cancerous that by taking the toe off that will have got the lot so fingers crossed! She said it was only 1 case where the cancer had spread enough to loose the whole leg so mum was exaggerating a little!

Cathy T
26th January 2009, 11:00 PM
That all sounds positive!!

27th January 2009, 08:54 AM
I really hope so!

Poor Mut's isnt happy this morning - I had a text earlier from mum saying he was still sulking!

2nd February 2009, 07:10 PM
:jump: Muttley got the all clear today !!!!! The results came back saying there was no cancer cells so he's gonna be just fine thank god, his wound is healing really well too. :jump:

2nd February 2009, 08:07 PM
YAY!!!! Wonderful news!

Jen and Ilsa

Cathy T
2nd February 2009, 09:47 PM
Hooray....that's great news!!!

2nd February 2009, 10:24 PM
Thanks everyone!

I just got off the phone with mum & they're delighted!:razz:

2nd February 2009, 10:28 PM
:rah:Great news! :rah: Your mum must be so relieved!

2nd February 2009, 10:30 PM
Oh like you wouldnt believe! Because their other dog Abby passed away at christmas they were convinced they were going to loose mut's too i think.

3rd February 2009, 05:40 AM
Our friend's boxer went through several months of chemotherapy and their poor boy had frequent vomiting and was on pain pills. He lost a lot of weight. They felt it was all worth it as they have had him in remission for the past year. The cancer has come now and because of his age (10) they have decided not to do any more treatments buthave no regrets.

3rd February 2009, 08:58 AM
Ahhh thats so sad