Companion Animal Cancer Treatments Part 1: Chemotherapy, when is it appropriate?

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Companion Animal Cancer Treatments Part 1: Chemotherapy, when is it appropriate?

02:15 18 September in by Genevieve Scott

More cancer treatments for animals are available now than ever before. When an animal is diagnosed with cancer veterinarians will do all they can to ensure their patient receives the right course of treatment.

Veterinary medicine has come a long way when it comes to treating cancer in animals and is just as sophisticated as cancer treatments for people. Knowing how cancer treatment for animals works and what to expect from the treatments can help you decide what type of treatment is right for your patient.

When is chemotherapy used to treat animals with cancer?

Chemotherapy can be used as a standalone treatment for your patient based on their cancer diagnosis, or it can be used in combination with other treatment options. Chemotherapy may be recommended for a patient for:

  • cancer that has already spread to other areas of the body (metastatic disease)
  • tumors that occur at more than one site (multicentric disease)
  • tumors that can’t be surgically removed (non resectable)

Many types of cancer can be treated with chemotherapy—bladder cancer, mammary gland tumors, mast cell tumors—but veterinarians are most likely to recommend chemotherapy for animals diagnosed with:

  • Lymphoma - a systematic cancer of the immune system
  • Osteosarcoma - bone cancer
  • Hemangiosarcoma - an aggressive cancer that affects the blood vessels

Chemotherapy attacks cells in the process of growth and division. It can be administered to patients orally as a pill or injected into a vein, body cavity, muscle, or spinal fluid. Currently, most chemotherapy is administered intravenously but oral chemotherapy drugs are quickly becoming a preferred option.

Compared to people, animals who receive chemotherapy experience fewer and less severe side effects thanks to lower doses of the drug and fewer combinations. There has also been tremendous progress made in developing medications that help prevent common side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

The decision of whether to pursue chemotherapy treatments for a patient can be complex. It’s best to discuss options with a veterinary oncologist before making a final decision.

At Vetrix, we’ve partnered with Torigen Pharmaceuticals to bring to market a whole cell tissue immunotherapy, utilizing the animal’s own tumor cells, that allows for a variety of tumor antigens to be presented to the immune system—VetiVax.

If you have a pet or patient with cancer and want to know more about VetiVax today, click the link below or give us a call at 678-278-8277.

Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks, as we explore the different types of cancer treatments available for your furry friend.

Learn More About VetiVax™