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The Perseus Foundation

The Perseus Foundation Animal Cancer Non Profit with a focus on translational research, education, financial assistance for Animal welfare organization with a focus on cancer research to benefit both pet companions and pediatric oncology patients.

The Perseus Foundation provides financial assistance to pet owners who would otherwise not be able to treat, In Summer 2015 we formed a partnership with Aurelius Biotherapeutics to bring T Cell Therapy Infusion to dogs with B Cell Lymphoma. The final phase of the study is currently in process.

Operating as usual

Good Day from the Land of Oso 🐾❤️Doesn’t he have a winning smile? So sweet! Once a treatment is decided upon, we will sh...
05/11/2022

Good Day from the Land of Oso 🐾❤️Doesn’t he have a winning smile? So sweet! Once a treatment is decided upon, we will share the information with you.

World, meet Oso, aka Bear.  Oso was recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma.    At this time, different options are being e...
05/11/2022

World, meet Oso, aka Bear. Oso was recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma. At this time, different options are being explored, such as clinical trials CSU Animal Cancer Center, FidoCure, PetCure Oncology, and T Cell Adoptive Immunotherapy.

#TeamPerseus is so excited about a raffle that is kicking off today. The items are amazing. We plan on buying tickets and we are hopeful that one of our team members will win this box full of goodies. Clinical trials are being checked out CSU Animal Cancer Center, treatment options FidoCure, PetCure Oncology and Aurelius Biotherapeutics T Cell Adoptive Immunotherapy.

Fortunately, because this event is not ours, #TeamPerseus can purchase tickets. We really hope we win. We love this box of goodies!

Could we ask that you please share and cross-post? Oso will be most appreciative. Thank you so much. We love our supporters and friends!

In Search Of 🔍Happy Clinical Trials Tuesday! CSU is still  looking for dogs with bone cancer that are candidates for a l...
05/10/2022

In Search Of 🔍

Happy Clinical Trials Tuesday! CSU is still looking for dogs with bone cancer that are candidates for a limb sparing surgery for enrollment into a study. This trial is evaluating the use of a personalized 3D-printed implant made of a material that the body can replace with its own bone. The hope is that this type of implant may reduce the number of complications associated with this type of surgery and/or make them easier to treat. Learn more by visiting: https://www.csuanimalcancercenter.org/personalized-bioreplaceable-endoprosthesis-to-perform-limb-sparing-in-dogs/.

#ClinicalTrialsTuesday

💖Check out this article in WIRED about OncoK9!  The article details the case of a gorgeous dog named Cici Pepperoni, who...
05/09/2022
This Blood Test Detects Cancer in Dogs. But Do You Want to Know?

💖Check out this article in WIRED about OncoK9! The article details the case of a gorgeous dog named Cici Pepperoni, whose cancer was found because of OncoK9. Armed with knowledge of what was happening even before Cici developed any clinical signs, her family had time to understand Cici’s diagnosis and make the decisions that were right for them.

Read the full article here: https://lnkd.in/gTqzZT5Q

Isn’t this great?💖

A startup just showed that its OncoK9 test accurately sounds the alarm for aggressive and advanced cancers. The catch? These often have no cure.

🐾Courtesy Animal Cancer Foundation.🐾
05/09/2022

🐾Courtesy Animal Cancer Foundation.🐾

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month and this year things have changed for the dogs we love! ❤️
05/02/2022

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month and this year things have changed for the dogs we love! ❤️

2005.  Dr. Edmund Sullivan performed the first pet owned Bone Marrow Transplant.  Read all about it!  https://www.seattl...
04/29/2022
Bone Marrow Transplants for Dogs | Dr. Steven Suter

2005. Dr. Edmund Sullivan performed the first pet owned Bone Marrow Transplant. Read all about it! https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/what-price-a-pets-life-45000-to-treat-comet/

Currently, Bellingham Veterinary and Critical Care and North Carolina State University are the only two sites for this procedure.

On a very cool inside note, Dr. Sullivan was trained in the procedure by Dr. Rainier Storb, ( and his team), a founding member of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. Dr. Storb worked with Dr. E. Finally Thomas, the bone marrow transplantation pioneer who won a Nobel Prize for his research.

To take a listen re BMT at NCSU, belie is a link to Dr. Steve Suter’s podcast. Really informative. https://youtu.be/49DaJWBuOMM

Can lymphoma really be cured? This intense treatment is not the right fit for every dog, but can have a happy ending.Bone marrow transplants, also called tot...

Greta was diagnosed with bone cancer in February 2021. CSU celebrated her 8th birthday during a chemotherapy appointment...
04/22/2022

Greta was diagnosed with bone cancer in February 2021. CSU celebrated her 8th birthday during a chemotherapy appointment a few months later. This week, they were thrilled to hold a party for her 9th birthday at her recheck visit and celebrate clear chest x-rays. Hooray and happy birthday, Greta! #TeamPerseus is so happy for precious Greta 🐾❤️

Last week, CSU Animal Cancer Center celebrated Hughy’s last day of chemotherapy with a bell ringing and party! Hughy is ...
04/21/2022

Last week, CSU Animal Cancer Center celebrated Hughy’s last day of chemotherapy with a bell ringing and party! Hughy is a retired service dog and was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma in January. After surgery and chemotherapy, Hughy’s chest x-rays and belly ultrasound were clear of cancer. Lots to celebrate! Hooray for Hughy! #CancerHero #TeamPerseus loves Hughy! Let's send him our warmest congratulations!

04/20/2022

Another great video from Dr. Sue 🐾

STELFONTA is an injectable mast cell tumor treatment, approved by the FDA for non-metastatic mast cell tumors (MCTs)

https://fb.watch/cvPCIMMSHQ/

This is what we are taking about🐾 T Cells on the attack!Cytotoxic CD8 T cells carry out their killing function by releas...
04/15/2022
Alex Ritter, PhD on Twitter

This is what we are taking about🐾 T Cells on the attack!

Cytotoxic CD8 T cells carry out their killing function by releasing two types of preformed cytotoxic protein: the granzymes, which seem able to induce apoptosis in any type of target cell, and the pore-forming protein perforin, which punches holes in the target-cell membrane.

https://twitter.com/ritterlab/status/1514742717162541056?s=21&t=Cg6NTnpWast0TpUm6AgGLQ

“Small but mighty! This is a video of a killer T cell of the immune system destroying a monstrous ovarian cancer cell. I recently captured this data on a spinning disc confocal microscope. https://t.co/RXj1sIsQ9w”

Great Information🐾Key advances in veterinary oncologyJanuary 17, 2022Kelsey Gustafson, Associate Editordvm360, dvm360 Ja...
04/15/2022

Great Information🐾

Key advances in veterinary oncology
January 17, 2022
Kelsey Gustafson, Associate Editor

dvm360, dvm360 January 2022, Volume 53, Issue 1

At a recent webinar, oncology specialist Dr. Philip Bergman offered his top 10 list of advances that could make a difference for your next cancer patient. (Sponsored by VCA Animal Hospitals)

At a recent dvm360® webinar, Philip Bergman, DVM, PhD, MS, DACVIM (oncology), director of clinical studies for VCA Animal Hospitals, an adjunct faculty member at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and principal veterinarian investigator for the canine melanoma vaccine, Oncept, discussed recent advances in veterinary oncology for viewers to put on their radar.
“Let me start by saying that I’m a proud member of the Pet CancerCare Alliance, which brings together about 30 individuals across our international VCA Animal Hospitals network,” Dr. Bergman said. “This group includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists, pathologists, technicians, radiologists, and an anesthesiologist. This alliance gets us out of our silos and positions us to tackle some of the biggest problems that we have in veterinary oncology together.”
“That collaboration helps shape my thinking about recent advances in oncology. And still, I’d like to acknowledge that every oncologist’s list of ‘most important advances’ could be different. My goal, though, is to share the advances that I believe will make the biggest difference for oncology patients in your hospital tomorrow.”
Here’s the list of oncology updates that Dr. Bergman shared:

1. Rabacfosadine Injection
Rabacfosadine injection (Tanovea CA-1; VetDC, Inc) is designed to target and kill canine lymphoma cells. It was conditionally approved in 2017 for the treatment of canine lymphoma and received full FDA approval in July 2021.
“This was the first treatment we had for canine lymphoma that was not a hand-me-down from human medicine. Tanovea certainly has the typical type of spectrum that you expect for a cytotoxic chemotherapy, with mild to moderate gastrointestinal and bone marrow [adverse] effects. Although they are rare, we do see other adverse effects. Up to three percent of dogs can have significant hyporexia to full blown anorexia for as long as two weeks. We see some skin toxicity, so we think that the drug tries to localize to that area. That suggests it could have some good activity with skin-based lymphoma or mycosis fungoides.” Bergman told viewers. “Bottom line, we’re really happy to have this drug in our toolkit.
2. Tigilanol tiglate injection
Tigilanol tiglate injection (Stelfonta; Virbac) is an intratumoral therapy approved by the FDA in November 2020 for the treatment of nonmetastatic cutaneous mast cell tumors in dogs. This agent is a protein kinase C activator that stimulates rapid tumor destruction, said Dr. Bergman.
“With this very effective agent, we see complete disappearance in 75 percent of cases to upwards of 90 percent. Given what we’ve seen to this point, there’s also a chance that this treatment could provide an abscopal effect. So when we inject and destroy a tumor at one site, a similar tumor with a similar name at a different site goes away due to immune based mechanism. If we’re able to prove that this treatment has an abscopal effect, that would be groundbreaking.
“It’s key to know that with this agent, full tumor destruction leaves a hole in the patient’s tissue,” he explained. “With these cases, we typically don’t use E-collars, because the wounds don’t get infected when the dogs lick them. We’ve seen that this open wound has healthy granulation and heals incredibly quickly in the vast majority of patients.
“One downside that’s worth mentioning: Due to the volume limitation of injection, you can only treat relatively small mast cell tumors. They need to be less than eight centimeters cubed, or about the size of a dime.”

3. Chest CT Imaging
Computed tomography (CT) is available at most veterinary specialty practices, and these scans offer a significant advantage in identifying pulmonary metastases.
“To see signs of metastasis on radiographs, the growth needs to be 5 to 8 millimeters. But with a CT, you can reliably see growths as small as 1 to 2 millimeters,” said Dr. Bergman. “In fact, a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis found chest X-rays identified histologically confirmed pulmonary metastasis nine percent of the time, compared with 100 percent identification on CT scans."

“This is critical to reliably stage patients. So I think of this as a key step for providing a clear ‘go’ or ‘no-go’ when deciding whether to move forward with any significant procedure, whether it’s a surgery, radiation treatment, or something else,” said Dr. Bergman.
4. Maropitant citrate
Maropitant citrate (Cerenia; Zoetis Petcare) is used to treat vomiting and motion sickness in dogs and cats. “When we discuss these new tools in person, I typically ask who’s using Cerenia, and a show of hands says 99 percent of veterinarians. That’s great. We have something that’s specifically for dogs and highly efficacious. I’m glad we’re using it!” said Dr. Bergman.
“Research shows that in human medicine, doctors and nurses grossly underpredict the amount of delayed nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy patients—and I suspect that happens in veterinary medicine, too. Of course, quality of life questions weigh heavily on both pet owners and veterinarians when they’re making treatment decisions. So we want to minimize nausea and vomiting as much as we can. In that spirit, I’m currently prescribing prophylactic use of Cerenia for my Doxorubicin patients for the five days following treatment.”
5. Toceranib phosphate
Toceranib phosphate (Palladia; Zoetis Petcare) is the only antiangiogenic, antiproliferative therapy specifically developed for canine mast cell tumor treatment.
“The FDA pivotal study for Palladia was double-blinded and randomized with placebo control. The results showed there was an increased response rate and length of response with Palladia compared to placebo. Overall response was about 60 percent—similar to the result delivered by multi agent chemotherapy,” said Dr. Bergman. “Furthermore, we also know that Palladia can have activity against a variety of other tumors when used off-label. Therefore, if you have a patient that has not responded to classic standard of care, pick up the phone and talk to your favorite local oncologist to see if the tumor you’re treating could be on the list of Palladia-responsive tumors.”
6. Canine melanoma vaccine, DNA
The canine melanoma vaccine, DNA (Oncept; Merial) is used to extend survival time in dogs treated for canine oral melanoma. The vaccine is produced with xenogeneic plasmid DNA that contains DNA for human tyrosinase (huTyr), resulting in the production of a human antigen that is homologous to canine tyrosinase (cTyr) but recognized as foreign by the dog’s immune system.
“Chemotherapy has poor efficacy against melanoma. In fact, some recent papers show that chemotherapy affords no survival benefit for dogs with melanoma. In oral melanoma cases, dogs typically present with stage two and stage three melanoma. Normally those patients with standard of care treatment options such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy have three to six months to live on average. We’re seeing much, much longer survival times with the addition of Oncept.”
7. Flow cytometry

w cytometry immunophenotyping helps diagnose and classify blood cell cancers to identify the most effective treatment options.
“For many years, we did not do flow cytometry because we didn’t know to differentiate B-cell lymphoma patients from T-cell lymphoma patients. Now we know that patients with T-cell lymphoma have a worse prognosis and we identify them and treat them differently,” said Dr. Bergman. “It’s such a critical advancement that we can better align the treatment and agent to the type of tumor.”
8. Minimally invasive urine test
Research findings have revealed that a droplet digital polymerase chain reaction test can identify the BRAF mutation (changes in the DNA of some cancer cells) in free catch urine samples from approximately 85 percent of canine urothelial carcinoma and prostatic carcinoma patients.
“I can’t say enough positive things about this urine test,” said Dr. Bergman. “One thing that’s particularly interesting is that there are a number of breeds that commonly develop these cancers. While it’s possible to see this in any breed, I tend to think of Westies, Scotties, beagles, Australian Shepherds, and Border Collies—typically older than six years. Studies are underway to investigate use of this tool less as a diagnostic and more as a true screening test to try to pick this up early, before the cancer invades muscle or serosal tissues.”
9. Treatment of extravasation
“Even a couple of drops of Doxorubicin or Adriamycin cause an exquisitely painful wound that takes many months to heal—if it ever does. Many patients undergo amputation. So it’s critical to prevent this from happening. And then sometimes we still face these unfortunate situations,” said Dr. Bergman. “We’ve learned that if you inject Dexrazoxane by IV within a couple of hours of the extravasation, you can abrogate the extravasation reaction.”
10. Identification of MDR1 mutation
Dogs with MDR1 mutation show sensitivity to agents that are P-glycoprotein substrates. While many chemotherapy agents are P-glycoprotein substrates, there are many more drugs outside of oncology that are also P-glycoprotein substrates.
“What you’ll appreciate when you look at the frequency with which specific breeds carry this mutation is that this can really occur in any patient. That’s why we’re frequently testing our oncology patients when they need chemotherapy agents that are P-glycoprotein substrates."
“While I’m obviously focused on avoiding adverse effects of oncology treatments, P-glycoprotein substrates are used in veterinary medicine in a wide range of contexts. Given that reality and the relatively large population of some dogs who carry the MDR1 mutation, I’d argue we should consider testing puppies for the mutation, so we have this information in patients’ files before we really need it,” said Dr. Bergman.
This webinar was sponsored by VCA and the Pet CancerCare Alliance. The Pet CancerCare Alliance (PCCA) is VCA’s interdisciplinary group of oncology professionals. The PCCA is led by an advisory board whose goal is to raise the level of pet cancer care industry wide, through education, research, consultation and development of pioneering treatments aimed at improving outcomes for pets living with cancer. To watch the full webinar on demand, visit [url map to this link: https://globalmeet.webcasts.com/viewer/ event.jsp?ei=1470382&tp_key=aff36d1b80].

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Animal comparative non profit with a focus on cancer research to benefit both pet companions and pediatric oncology patients. The Perseus Foundation provides financial assistance to pet owners who would otherwise not be able to treat, In Summer 2015 we formed a partnership with Aurelius Biotherapeutics to bring T Cell Therapy Infusion to dogs with B Cell Lymphoma. The first phase of the study is currently in process. The Teddy Bear Fund helps defray the cost of cancer care in cats. Our newest fund, The MiliDog Fund provides financial assistance for cancer care to our RWDs and CWDs. The Perseus Magic Fund, provides financial support for canine cancer patients enrolled in clinical trials, T Cell Therapy for B Cell lymphoma and Bone Marrow Transplants in dogs and SRS.

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🐾So exciting! Our Honorary Chairman of the Advisory Board will be presiding. Lots and lots of updates. 🐾
🐾 Onco Bits of Knowledge 🐾 Chemotherapy is a word that creates an instant emotional response in everyone. Visions of debilitating nausea, hair loss, and lack of energy appear at the thought of having to receive chemotherapy. However, the reality of chemotherapy for animals is much different from that of human cancer patients. What to Expect if my Pet Needs Chemotherapy During your first visit, your veterinary oncologist will go over your pet’s personalized chemotherapy plan in detail. A member of the team will also describe next steps and the process around scheduling subsequent chemotherapy treatments for your dog or cat. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinary oncology team if anything remains unclear after your visit. At subsequent chemotherapy appointments: A technician will ask follow up questions related to how your pet has been doing. These may include any symptoms or signs that developed over the last week, observations about the energy level of your pet, changes in behavior, and whether prescription refills are needed. He or she will also ask about how treatment is going in reference to the ongoing quality of life for both you and your pet. A team member will draw a blood sample for a CBC (Complete Blood Count). This blood test is required before administration of chemotherapy to ensure that the white blood cells are adequate for treatment. If your pet requires an intravenous drug, an IV catheter will be placed in a leg to administer the treatment. Rarely, light sedation may be required in order to keep your pet still during treatment. Frequently Asked Chemotherapy Questions WHAT IS CHEMOTHERAPY? The use of a drug or chemical to treat any illness is considered “chemotherapy”, but this term commonly refers to the use of drugs in the systemic treatment of cancer. The ultimate goal of chemotherapy would be to cure the patient of cancer. In most instances at this point in time in veterinary medicine, this goal is not realistic. The goals the team strives to control rapidly progressive disease, prevent spread of the tumor, restore deteriorated function, and provide a good quality of life during the time of remission. The term “remission” refers to the time interval during which there are no outward signs that the patient has cancer. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict in many cases which animals will achieve a full remission or for how long. Every situation and client-pet situation is different and must be dealt with individually. In appropriate situations, chemotherapy can be used to benefit pets with cancer. Most pets tolerate chemotherapy well, do not realize that they are ill, and appear to enjoy their extended life. However, each owner must believe that they are doing the right thing for their pet, in their situation. If it becomes obvious that therapy is not working, or that the pet is experiencing pain or discomfort, your team will discuss and make recommendations for changes in the treatment plan. HOW DOES CHEMOTHERAPY WORK? Cancer cells generally multiply very rapidly. Most chemotherapy drugs work by damaging rapidly growing cells (including both cancer cells and some normal cells in the body). Different drugs interfere with different steps in the process of cell growth and division, but this action decreases the ability of these rapidly growing cells to divide, and kills them. Some newer targeted chemotherapy protocols attack specific cancer cells more specifically. Often, the best approach is to combine a series of different drugs in order to effectively kill the cancer cells. Your pet’s dose, schedule and treatment protocol will be customized for your pet’s type of cancer, and amended as needed throughout the course of care. A TYPICAL CHEMOTHERAPY APPOINTMENT During the first appointment, the doctor will examine your pet, and consult in detail with you and your regular veterinarian. Your oncologist will determine whether chemotherapy will be useful for your pet’s cancer. If the decision is made to move forward with chemotherapy, the doctor will discuss options, next steps and tailor the plan for chemotherapy for your dog or cat. Treatments are individually tailored, although specific chemotherapy protocols consisting of several different drugs are followed for different types of cancer. Many chemotherapy drugs are given intravenously through an IV catheter; others are administered as injections under the skin or orally. Before administering the chemotherapy to your pet, a blood sample is drawn. The white blood cell count, red blood cell count, and platelet count are checked to make sure that it is safe to proceed with treatment; in some cases, your pet may not receive treatment due to a low white or red blood cell count. Chemotherapy may take up to 1.5 hours to administer. In some rare cases, a patient may need to be sedated in order to keep them calm. If your pet requires an intravenous drug, an IV catheter will be placed in a leg to administer the treatment. The route chosen depends on the kind of cancer being treated and how well the therapy is tolerated by the patient. Treatments may be necessary on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. The specific length of your pet’s individual course of treatment will be discussed in detail with you. WILL MY PET EXPERIENCE SIDE EFFECTS? Maybe. Chemotherapy is a word that creates an instant emotional response in everyone. Visions of debilitating nausea, hair loss, and lack of energy appear at the thought of having to receive chemotherapy. However, the reality of chemotherapy for animals is much different from that of human cancer patients. Your team understands this no that the primary concern for pets receiving chemotherapy is quality of life. Doses of drugs and treatment schedules are designed to minimize discomfort to the patient, while providing the most effective defense against the disease. As a result, most people are pleasantly surprised at how well their pets feel while undergoing chemotherapy. Ideally, the dog or cat receiving chemotherapy does not even realize that he or she is ill, and most of our patients do not have side effects with treatment. The drugs used in chemotherapy, however, are extremely potent and side effects can occur in about 20-30% of animals that receive treatment. The potential for side effects must be balanced against the benefits of the chemotherapy and the side effects of the cancer if left untreated. Choosing chemotherapy for your pet is an individual decision The most common side effect reported by owners is that the pet seems to be “off” for a day or two. This might mean that the pet has slightly less energy or seems less excited than normal about eating. Less commonly, the pet may skip a meal or two, have one episode of vomiting or diarrhea, or seem lethargic. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict which pets will develop the most serious reactions. The animal receiving chemotherapy needs to be watched closely and taken to his or her veterinarian at the first sign of illness. Although serious side effects can occur with any chemotherapy, there is less than a 5% chance that a patient will be hospitalized with side effects. WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF CHEMOTHERAPY IN PETS Practically all anti-cancer drugs have side effects. These side effects arise because the normal cells in the body are also exposed to the anticancer drug. The most sensitive normal cells are found in the blood, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and reproductive system. Consequently, potential side effects include infections, bleeding, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, thin hair coat or skin color changes, and sterility. Rare side effects associated with specific drugs include bladder discomfort, kidney damage, and heart failure. Although serious adverse effects can occur with any chemotherapy, there is less than a 5% chance that a patient will be hospitalized with side effects and less than a 1% chance of fatality caused by overwhelming infections. In general the potential benefit of treatment with anticancer drugs outweighs the possible side effects. Below are listed some of the potential side effects of many chemotherapeutic agents in more detail: Nausea (and refusal to eat) can occur in veterinary patients, and seems to occur more frequently in cats than in dogs. If this happens, it usually occurs 2-5 days after treatment, and it is usually transient requiring no specific treatment. Tempting the pet with favorite foods, and warming the foods slightly will often increase palatability. If this condition persists, medication to reduce nausea and promote appetite can be used. Vomiting can also occur during treatment, also typically 2-5 days after a treatment has been given. If your pet vomits once or twice, and otherwise seems bright, active, and alert, withhold food and water for 12 hours and then reintroduce water. If your pet does not vomit after drinking water, you can offer food. If the vomiting is repetitive (more than 3-4 times) or contains blood, if vomiting resumes with feeding, or if your pet is lethargic, weak, or depressed, your pet probably requires veterinary attention. Diarrhea may occur, but is often mild and transient. If stools are soft, feed bland food (boiled chicken and rice) for dogs. If the diarrhea is bloody, watery, persists for more than 24 hours, or if your pet is lethargic and has diarrhea, veterinary attention is required. Hair Loss (Alopecia): Pets rarely lose their hair, but if they do, they are not bothered by it as much as people are. Dogs and cats with fur vs. dogs with hair: Fur does not grow continually throughout their lives like it does in people. Therefore, hair loss in pets is rare. Exceptions include certain breeds of dogs, such as poodles, Old English Sheepdogs and other breeds with hair that grows continually and who require hair cuts to manage length. In general, if a pet needs to visit a groomer periodically to be clipped, then the pet may experience some degree of hair loss as a result of chemotherapy. Cats may, lose all or most of their whiskers. Reduction in the Number of White Blood Cells (Neutropenia): There are various types of cells in the blood. The decrease in the number of infection fighting white blood cells is known as neutropenia. Many chemotherapeutic agents impair the body’s ability to produce these white blood cells. As a result, neutropenia may occur seven to ten days after chemotherapy. Neutropenia, alone, is not a danger to a patient. However a patient’s ability to fight off infection is impaired by neutropenia. Prior to each dose of chemotherapy, we perform a complete physical exam and a blood test called a complete blood count (CBC) to make sure it is ok to administer the next chemotherapy treatment. Should the patient have a significant reduction in the number of white blood cells, the doctor may want to delay chemotherapy treatment and/or prescribe antibiotics to protect against infection. Hematuria (bloody urine): One of the chemotherapy drugs that we use [Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide)] may occasionally cause hematuria (bloody urine) in dogs. If this occurs, you should discontinue the medication immediately and contact us for treatment. This side effect is specific to Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide). If bloody urine occurs and Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) is not being used, contact us or your regular veterinarian for evaluation. Allergic Reactions: Allergic reactions to chemotherapeutic agents are rare and generally will not be something you have to treat at home. Should a patient have an allergic reaction, it usually develops upon administration and would be treated at the hospital. However signs to look for at home are a red muzzle/ears, scratching/pawing at the face, hives, and vomiting. Heart Damage: In rare cases, some chemotherapeutic agents, such as Adriamycin (doxorubicin), can irreversibly damage the heart muscle. The dose of these agents prescribed for most dogs is below the dose that usually causes heart disease, and less than 10% of patients develop heart disease as a result of chemotherapy. We may recommend a cardiology consultation prior to administering Adriamycin (doxorubicin) in dogs that have preexisting heart disease or that are at increased risk of heart disease (such as Dobermans, Boxers, and Great Danes) Fever/Sepsis: Virtually all chemotherapeutic drugs can temporarily suppress the body’s ability to fight infections. If the white blood cell count (neutrophils) drops too much then the pet runs the risk of developing a systemic infection. The pet will usually manifest a fever (but not always). If the bacteria travel through the bloodstream, it is known as sepsis. In rare cases, shock can occur (septic shock), and without rapid treatment, the risk of death is high. Though this period of susceptibility is brief, and occurs at a fairly predictable time, its consequences can be life threatening. Signs of fever or sepsis include: Fever greater than 103F: (temperature is taken by a re**al thermometer and should normally be between 99F and 102.8F). If you think your pet may have an infection, you may check your dog’s temperature re**ally at home (cats usually will not tolerate this). A digital thermometer is easiest to use; if it is 103 degrees or higher, please call us. If signs of an infection are noted, we will recommend that you bring your pet to the hospital for examination and treatment as soon as possible. This situation can be treated rapidly and almost always successfully. However, an extended delay before initiation of treatment may result in health complications or even death. We can see your pet at any time of the day or night if you suspect your pet has an infection. Extreme lethargy: Refusal to get up off pet bed, etc. Complete disinterest in food Extreme weakness Pale and somewhat sticky gums Severe vomiting and/or diarrhea WILL MY PET BE SICK THE DAY OF TREATMENT? Immediate reactions to chemotherapy are rare and occur shortly after treatment; we monitor patients carefully after treatment for these reactions prior to sending them home. In general, chemotherapy patients do not feel ill the day of therapy and should be able to participate in all normal activities on the day of treatment. We want your pet to have a great quality of life during therapy and enjoy all of their favorite activities as much as possible. CHEMOTHERAPY PRECAUTIONS You and your pet can continue to have normal, unlimited contact with each other throughout the course of your pet’s chemotherapy treatment. However, the following safety precautions should be followed. In some cases these precautions are not necessary, but it’s best to establish a safe routine. When in doubt, it is always better to be overly cautious! Avoid physical contact with your pet’s urine and f***s while receiving chemotherapy for 48-72 hours after each treatment (depending on the drug administered). You can wear gloves when picking up your dog’s stool or when cleaning your cat’s litterbox. Please double-bag the waste and throw it into the garbage. If your pet urinates or defecates in your home, wear gloves when you clean the area. You can use a regular household cleaner when cleaning the area. Always wear gloves when handling tablets of chemotherapy. Never split chemotherapy pills. Prednisone, antibiotics and drugs to prevent nausea/diarrhea can be handled safely without gloves. Store all pills safely out of the reach of children and pets. Pregnant or nursing women, people actively trying to conceive, immunosuppressed individuals, and children should avoid all contact with chemotherapy drugs and the waste from pets treated with chemotherapy. WHAT HAPPENS AFTER TREATMENT IS OVER? It is important for your veterinary oncologist or your regular veterinarian to examine your pet at consistent intervals after chemotherapy is over. This will allow potential problems, such as recurrence of the cancer, to be detected before they become too advanced. Finally, it is important for owners of pets who have had chemotherapy to realize that the cancers we treat are rarely cured. Almost all of our patients ultimately have recurrence of their cancers. However, it is vital to understand that most pets receiving chemotherapy have an excellent quality of life both during and after treatment. It is often possible to provide many additional months, or sometimes even years, of happy life following chemotherapy. The vast majority of owners tell us that they have no regrets about their decision to pursue chemotherapy for their pet.