Chemotherapy in dogs When is it necessary?

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dog with chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is the most common treatment to fight canine cancer. And it is that this disease not only affects more and more humans, but also our furry friends.

Given this diagnosis, it is normal for us to feel puzzled and many doubts begin to arise. That is why from Dogsis we will answer the most frequent ones related to cancer in dogs and chemotherapy.

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Index of contents

  • 1 In which cases is chemotherapy applied in dogs?
  • 2 How does chemotherapy work?
  • 3 Effects of chemotherapy in our dog
  • 4 Tips for dealing with canine chemotherapy

In which cases is chemotherapy applied in dogs?

Chemotherapy is used to treat cancer that more and more dogs suffer from. However, not all types of cancer or all tumors are treated with this technique.

Typically the veterinaryn will be able to recommend chemotherapy when it comes to lymphosarcoma (a type of malignant tumor), which can affect the liver, spleen, or other organs, or a mastocytoma (neoplasm).

To find out if the dog’s cancer is treatable with chemotherapy, several tests must first be done to find out where the tumor is, how big it is, and its stage of development.

dog with vets

Chemotherapy is only advisable in certain cases:

  • When the dog cannot be operated on or the tumors cannot be completely removed by surgery.
  • If there is a risk that the metastasis will spread the cancer to organs close to the tumor.
  • When the tumor is too large and it is sought to stop its growth before a surgical intervention.
  • After removing the tumor to kill all the malignant cells that may have remained in the dog’s body.

If the cancer affects various vital organs and is already widespread, this therapy is not usually recommended. Chemotherapy in dogs, in short, can be an option in the case of small tumors or tumors that reproduce very quickly. When it is not viable, alternative treatments are chosen.

How does chemotherapy work?

Cancer tends to spread rapidly throughout the body, as cancer cells divide faster than the rest. Chemotherapy is used to reduce or stop this process.

With this technique, healthy tissue is also destroyed but, despite this, its effects are not irreversible and after therapy, once the cancer cells have disappeared, they can grow again.

The doses and the frequency of the sessions, as well as the type of chemotherapy, should always be determined by a licensed professional after evaluating the state of the dog.

Sometimes can be administered orally or through injections. Normally, it is not necessary for the dog to be hospitalized, although it must be closely controlled to see how its body responds to chemo at all times.

sick dog

Effects of chemotherapy in our dog

Something to keep in mind is that chemotherapy in dogs is different from chemotherapy in humans. One of the main differences is in its side effects. In dogs, adverse effects are not as common and only appear in a small percentage of cases.

When this occurs, the most common reactions are:

  • Digestive problems, such as diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Lowered defenses and increased propensity for infection.
  • Hair loss, especially in short-haired dogs (somewhat rare)

If you detect any of these effects as a consequence of chemotherapy in dogs, it is important that you inform the vet as soon as possible. You should also contact him if there is any change in behavior or if you see that the dog is much more depressed than normal.

Tips for dealing with canine chemotherapy

Although dogs tolerate chemotherapy better than we do, you should be aware of the possible side effects that may appear and monitor your furry friend closely.

Our goal, throughout the treatment, should be provide you with the best quality of life possible and avoid pain, administering all the medications recommended by the vet and being methodical with the doses and schedules.

If the condition of the dog deteriorates too much, a tough decision may need to be made and thought necessary sacrifice our dog.

However, this does not have to happen and you should keep in mind that cancer treatments for dogs are much more advanced today than they were a few years ago.

In fact, the effectiveness of canine chemotherapy is very similar to that of this treatment in humans.

A positive attitude can help you overcome cancer, so it’s important to make sure that your furry friend feels happy and loved despite his illness. It is also important that you have a comfortable place to rest without stress.