Side Effects of Chemotherapy in Animals

Last Modified: September 17, 2012

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What side effects could I expect my dog to have from chemotherapy? When do they start and how long will they last? Are there medications to treat these or make them not as bad?

Erika Krick, VMD, DACVIM Veterinary Medical Oncologist, University of Pennsylvania, responds:


The most common side effects of chemotherapy in dogs include decreased appetite, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, and a low white blood cell count which an increase risk for infections. They usually start within a couple of days after a chemotherapy drug is given and last 1 to several days. There are available medications to decrease these side effects, such as anti-nausea medicine, anti-diarrhea medicine, and antibiotics.

Learn more about chemotherapy in pets.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from When a Beloved Pet has Cancer.

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