Adverse Effects of Chemotherapy

In general, most dogs and cats receiving chemotherapy experience minimal adverse effects. Some even seem to have more energy and appetite while on this treatment.

However, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea can occasionally occur. If any of these develop, withhold food for a few hours. Pepto-Bismol may be administered for diarrhea (1 caplet per 20 pounds of body weight three times daily). WARNING: do not give Pepto-Bismol to a cat. If your pet vomits more than a couple of times, please call us or your vet; we can get you antinausea medication. If the condition lasts longer than 24 hours, please call your veterinarian or the Oncology/Hematology Service. When the condition subsides, start feeding bland foods (rice and hamburger, chicken and noodles) in small, frequent amounts.

Some animals may become febrile if their white blood count is too low (normal rectal temperature is between 101-102.5 degrees). If your pet is not feeling well, please take his/her rectal temperature, and call us or your vet immediately if it is over 103 degrees.

We request that you do not feed your pet on the morning of the chemotherapy; please feed them when you return home (we don’t feed them here to minimize the chance of them becoming carsick).

Hair regrowth of shaved areas can take longer, and excessive shedding might be associated with the chemotherapy. Sometimes the skin can become darker and thicker, especially in Schnauzers and Poodles receiving doxorubicin (Adriamycin®). The hair coat usually returns to normal after chemotherapy has been completed.

If hemorrhagic cystitis (blood in the urine) occurs, discontinue Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide) and call OSU.

If you have any problems or questions, please do not hesitate to call your veterinarian or the Oncology/Hematology Service at The Ohio State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, 614-292-3551. If it is an after-hours emergency, please have the Front Desk page or call the Oncologist on call.