Written by Marissa Greenberg, DVM

For many people, the word chemotherapy conjures up horrible images of friend or family members during their treatments.  But, in our dog and cat patients, chemotherapy is handled very differently.  Though we use many of the same drugs that are used in people, our pets do much better.  Pets don ™t usually lose their hair, though longhaired dogs may have a little thinning of their hair coat or may loose some of their whiskers.  Hair may not grow back very quickly if it has been shaved or clipped.  Because our patients can ™t tell us if they are nauseas or not feeling well from their chemotherapy, we are very proactive in making sure they don ™t suffer from these side effects.  We give them anti-nausea medications before and after every chemotherapy treatment.

If you saw one of our chemotherapy patients in the waiting room you would likely see a dog that seems very excited to be here! These patients end up being excited to come in for their chemotherapy because they like all the attention they get from our staff.  If you saw them at the dog park, you probably wouldn ™t believe they were being treated for cancer!   Most of them feel so good, they are still out playing, running, exercising, hiking, swimming, or anything else they enjoy doing.

Hannah swimming in the Tule River, September 2010, in midst of second course of chemotherapy treatment.

If your pet is diagnosed with cancer, please contact us to discuss options for chemotherapy; there are many different options that may help treat your pet ™s cancer, and things we can do to assure they enjoy a good quality of life.