Chemotherapy Safety Measures for You and Your Pets

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Maggie has had two chemotherapy treatments and we’re happy to report she seems to be doing great, no side effects other than a little tiredness. In the course of my research into her cancer treatment, I came upon some materials regarding safety for your self and your other animals if one of your pets is undergoing chemotherapy. I admit I hadn’t really thought about any potential hazards to Jack or to myself, so I was glad I found them.
chemotherapy safety

Here’s some of the important points I learned:

  1. The drugs stay in your pets system for 48-72 hours. The drug will be eliminated through urine and feces so any handling of these materials during that 72 hours period should be done with rubber gloves and disposed of safely. If your dog gets sick, the vomit may also contain traces of the drug and the same precautions should be used.
  2. Keep your other pets away from the places the patient may urinate or defecate, and obviously keep children away as well. If the patient is a cat, the litter box should be cleaned immediately after use and thoroughly decontaminated after the 72 hour time frame.
  3. Any accidents in the house should be thoroughly decontaminated with a mixture of bleach and water.
  4. If you are giving oral medications at home, handle the medication careful – wearing rubber gloves is recommended. I shouldn’t have to say this, but store the medication out of reach of children and pets. Never break or crush the oral medications.
  5. Since the chemotherapy drugs are affecting your pet’s immune system, it is important to keep them as strong as possible. Vaccinations should not be given while in treatment unless discussed with and approved by your vet.
  6. It is okay for your other pet’s to be around the cancer patient, just use caution to prevent them from coming in contact with urine, stools or vomit.
  7. If you are pregnant, another family member should manage your pet’s medication and clean-up – be sure and tell your doctor your pet is undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

Here’s a great resource with a long list of questions from the Veterinary Cancer Center regarding chemotherapy and how it impacts your dog and family, Frequently Asked Questions…all those questions you want to ask your vet. The more informed you are the better prepared you will be to handle whatever comes up.

Additional Readings:

Chemotherapy: Safety at Home
Giving Your Dog Chemotherapy at Home, Safely

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  1. I hadn’t noticed the problem of the excretion, that’s true… we have to handle it special. Thanks for your posts, it’s good to be informed about everything we have to do in such a case…
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog MISCHIEF MOANDAYMy Profile

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience and how you are dealing with it. I know it is a very difficult time. ♥
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  3. Never thought about others either! Good point and good information!
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  4. Sending positive thoughts to Maggie :).
    Julie recently posted…Mornings are for the birdsMy Profile

  5. Wow, that was quite fascinating-never realized the importance of handling your pet’s medication and the health implications therein. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Since bleach fumes give me bad headaches, I don’t use it or keep it in the house. But when Callie started getting sick after her second chemo treatment, I used the Natures Miracle to neutralize the chemicals. I had already started using it in the yard wherever she peed and pooped.

    Now, though, I’m not so sure I would even have a biopsy done if either Shadow or Ducky were to be diagnosed with lymphoma as well. Considering how quickly it metastasized throughout Callie’s body after the biopsy…. I couldn’t bear to watch her sisters suffer like that too.

    Thank you for all the info you’ve been researching and sharing with us. I had planned on doing a journal of Callie’s treatment but…well you know how her story ended. I can’t put into words how happy I am that Maggie is doing so well with her treatments. The prayers from all of us are really helping. 🙂
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  7. Very important information shared here today. Never would have thought about these that you’ve mentioned. It’s also worth sharing, which I shall do. Even for some of us that are visiting pets in treatment, we should be aware of this list. Take care, our prayers are continuous for Maggie and the family…
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  8. I remember all those things… and the gloves for the pills. I’m glad Maggie is doing so well!
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  9. Very informative post, thanks for touching on this. Some advice that gets missed when going over all the treatments and such.
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