Managing Chemo Side Effects

Sick Dog

Dogs generally tolerate chemotherapy much better than humans. One reason is because of their size, doses are lower.

Dr. Susan Ettinger, veterinary oncologist at Animal Specialty Center in New York and co-author with Dr. Demian Dressler of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, has some tips to help when your dog suffers from side effects of chemotherapy.

Signs of nausea can be decreased appetite, drooling, appearing hungry and approaching food but not eating. Your vet can recommend anti-nausea medications along with dosage for your dog. You can try offering your dog ice cubes every few hours. After 12 hours offer small meals at intervals. Call your vet if symptoms continue more than 24 hours.

If your dog is vomiting, withhold food and water for 12-24 hours. If vomiting occurs only once or twice, begin anti-nausea medication as prescribed by your vet. Offer some water after 12-24 hours if there is no vomiting. If after 24 hours, the dog does not vomit, feed small amounts of a bland diet, usually boiled chicken and rice.
If vomiting continues for more than 24 hours and your dog has a fever, contact your vet or an emergency clinic. Severe vomiting can cause dehydration.

If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, offer the bland diet of boiled chicken and rice and water. Add a probiotic to the food. If your vet has given you anti-diarrhea medication, you can give them to your dog following the recommended dosage. Over ethe counter medication, Pepto Bismol, can be given to dogs, NEVER to cats. Consult your vet for the proper dosing for your dog. When there is improvement, gradually begin your dog’s regular diet. If diarrhea is bloody, black or continues for more than 48 hours, contact your vet or bring your dog to an emergency clinic.

If you have any questions about chemotherapy and side effects, please consult your vet for information and recommendations for your particular dog.

For current information on cancer in dogs, check Dr. Dressler’s along with Dr. Susan Ettinger’s Dog Cancer Blog online.

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