Chemotherapy is used on cats and dogs in most types of cancer in order to prevent the rapid growth and spreading of cancerous cells. Cancer cells mostly multiply rapidly. Chemotherapy medications damage the ability of those cells to multiply and consequently destroy them.
Chemotherapy is used on cats and dogs in most types of cancer in order to prevent the rapid growth and spreading of cancerous cells. Cancer cells mostly multiply rapidly. Chemotherapy medications damage the ability of those cells to multiply and consequently destroy them. Since chemotherapy affects the cancerous cells anywhere in the body, it is categorized as a systemic treatment. In this regard, chemotherapy differs from localized treatment methods such as surgery or radiotherapy.
Each chemotherapy medication operate differently and they have various goals and potential side effects. In many cases, a combination of medications is used. Through chemotherapy protocols, the purpose, method, complications and expected results of the treatment are defined. Chemotherapy medications are designed so as to damage the highest amount of cancerous cells and cause the least damage to healthy cells. The goal in protocols is to destroy the highest amount of cancerous cells and to leave adequate amount of normal cells intact to regain organ functions.
Some healthy cells also multiply rapidly. Chemotherapy medications can also affect these cells but healthy tissues have a better ability to heal themselves compared to cancerous cells.
Chemotherapy protocol constitutes the basis of the treatment process. Medications, their dosages, duration of treatment and side effects are determined. Then the treatment intervals and the condition expected before the next procedure is specified. Oncologist might modify the treatment protocol depending on the patient’s tolerance level and the course of the disease.
Chemotherapy medications are either administered intravenously, subcutaneously or orally. In some types of cancer, the purpose of chemotherapy is remission and in others to increase life quality by relieving the patient of symptoms. Chemotherapy is mostly administered to prevent or delay metastasis after surgery or radiotherapy. In some cases, it is administered to increase the effect of radiotherapy or or to stop the tumors from regrowing when they could not be completely removed during surgery.
Animals have a much higher tolerance for the side effects of chemotherapy than people. In veterinary medicine, chemotherapy has minimal or no side effects. The potential side effects are diarrhea, constipation, fever or hematuria. Side effects usually disappear in a week. If the animal who is administered chemotherapy suffers from side effects, medication can be used for symptom relief or chemotherapy protocol or dosage can be changed.
The priority in cancer treatment for animals is to maintain quality of life, therefore the patients should be observed closely for any possible side effects.