Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to cure cancer. Cats and dogs have a better tolerance level to this type of treatment compared to human beings. Most cats that undergo chemotherapy have a nice happy life during and after the treatment. But feline cancers cannot be cured in most cases. Chemotherapy in cats is proved to be quite effective as it provides the chances of reducing the intensity of the cancer. Lymphoma cancer is one of the best examples which have a very high rate of survival through chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy for cats
Chemotherapy in cats is either induced into the veins (under the skin) or it can also be given orally through intramuscular injection. The treatment differs on the basis of the cancer stage as well as the type of cancer. Chemotherapy is usually provided as an outpatient in most cases. The treatment duration lasts between three and six hours. The course length differs depending upon the type of cancer that is being treated. Ideally the treatment time taken to cure the disease is 12 to 15 weeks but in the case of lymphoma the treatment is carried for the rest of the animal’s life.
How does chemotherapy treatment works in cats?
Cancer cells multiply rapidly as the cell grow and divide quickly. Chemotherapy destroys these cells and thus avoids its growth. In most cases in cats the tumor is removed after surgery and to avoid its reoccurrence or spread chemotherapy is used. This has been very effective in improving the cat’s chances of survival.
What are the risks and side effects of chemotherapy in cats?
Chemotherapy most often destroys even the healthy cells along with the cancer cells so there is some risk when the treatment is on. This also results into some side effects during chemotherapy but most of the side effects are short term. In cats, chemotherapy can damage the bone marrow and the gastrointestinal tract. The animal might also experience nausea, diarrhea or vomiting. If the bone marrow cells are affected, the while blood cell count may drastically drop making the animal susceptible to infection. This might also lead to a life-threatening infection for a feline patient. Your animal would therefore be recommended blood tests at repeated intervals.
Although cats do not experience much hair loss as in the case of humans but they might lose their whiskers. The drug might also irritate a few tissues in case the drugs leaks outside their veins during injection. In some rare cases one can also observe swelling and ulceration.
After Treatment care:
Once the chemotherapy procedure is over and the cat is recovered from the disease, a follow-up check is also very vital to avoid the reoccurrence of cancer. The follow-up examination is done every one to two months after the treatment. A study revealed that 70% of cats react well to chemotherapy. Most of them live four to six months in addition to their life span. Early detection of the disease is very important to cure the disease completely leading to a new healthy life.