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Common side effects when your pet undergoes chemotherapy

by veterinary_clinic_traverse_city 1. June 2016 02:31

Much like humans, when a pet undergoes chemotherapy, side effects will generally be an uncomfortable part of the treatment regimen. 

If your pet is treated for cancer using chemotherapy, here are some of the common side effects you can expect: 

Diarrhea.  To combat the effects of diarrhea, give your pet foods that are easy to digest, such as hamburger, boiled chicken, or white rice.  For dogs, a small dose of Pepto-Bismol may ease symptoms.  Offer it to them at one tablespoon per 15 pounds of body weight every eight hours.  As your pet begins to stabilize, you can try reintroducing a normal diet in small quantities.  If diarrhea continues for more than 48 hours, contact your vet to seek treatment. 

Dehydration.  Dehydration may occur due to diarrhea, vomiting, fever or excessive urination following a chemo treatment.  The test here is to make sure your animal’s gums are moist and the animal’s skin is soft and supple.  

Vomiting.  Offer small amounts of water 12 hours after persistent vomiting stops.  If your pet keeps the water down, gradually reintroduce small quantities of bland foods and over the course of the next three days, reintroduce the animal’s normal diet.  Contact your vet if the vomiting is severe or is accompanied by a fever of 103 degrees or more for 24 hours or longer. 

Low white blood cell count.  A lower than normal white blood cell count is normal following chemotherapy.  By itself, this is not a problem, but if the count drops too low, the animal won’t be able to fight infections, which may occur up to 21 days after a chemo treatment.  Symptoms to watch for include a poor appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and fever. 

Located in Williamsburg and providing pet chemotherapy services to Traverse City, Elk Rapids, Acme, Kalkaska and nearby communities, Northern Michigan Veterinary Hospital is a fully equipped regional facility serving the routine and emergency needs of pet owners since 2009.

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