Doxorubicin is an anti-cancer chemotherapy agent given slowly by intravenous injection in clinic. Generally speaking we run five courses of doxorubicin chemotherapy, each one being a fortnight apart. Bloods are closely monitored initially, but not for the latter treatments if all is going well.
The total cost of treatment is $3,540. Complications can incur further costs but happen less than 20% of the time. These can be minor or significant. Significant complication includes vascular irritation from the treatment, and low white cell count causing infection needing hospitalisation for a few days. However significant complications are rare. Initially our veterinarians liaise with a specialist oncologist, sending your pets history and pathology to them. Before starting your pets chemotherapy we obtain the best advice regarding their thoughts on your pets individual circumstances and needs. Having this specialist opinion and advice is of comfort throughout this journey and we may occasionally require one or two follow up communications should complications occur. This initial assessment costs $290, with follow up advice $65 per communication.
Each of the Five Treatment Protocols Involves the Following:
1. Admit your pet on the day of treatment.
2. They will be catheterised and be given intravenous fluids for a short period before and after chemotherapy.
3. They will be mildly sedated for ease of treatment, which lessens the chance of complications such as vascular irritation.
4. They will be treated in our chemotherapy room.
5. Safety disposables will be used and discarded each time.
The process takes about two hours and is tolerated extremely well by both cats and dogs.
After chemotherapy, some of the medication is excreted in your pets urine and faeces for up to 24 to 48 hours. You should avoid contact with urine/faeces for 2-3 days and handle your pets waste with disposable latex gloves and wash your hands afterwards. If you are embarking on chemotherapy to significantly improve your pets happy life longevity, we will be by their side with you throughout their entire journey, helping advise along the way. Although it can be a little scary when confronted with these options, we are here to help both you and your pet.
One piece of advice we always give to pet owners finding themselves in this situation is:
“Although this is not what we want, our furry friends have one great advantage over us humans when they are confronted with possible terminal cancer. They don’t know they have it! Hence they stay happy and fully enjoying life, while we take the emotional burden for them. One thing we can do together, us vets and you the owner, is share that burden and explore and give them the best life possible, while they just enjoy themselves!” – Dr Marcus Hayes