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Chemotherapy: Safety at Home
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
Cancer and Tumors
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Click here for a pdf version of this article.  See related products at DrsFosterSmith.com Pet Supplies
After being treated with chemotherapy, your pet continues to have the drug in his system for about 48-72 hours. During that time, some simple precautions can help prevent you or your family members from being exposed to the drug. The drug will be eliminated from your pet's body in urine or feces. If your pet vomits, the vomit may also contain some of the drug. For these reasons:
  • Disposable glovesWear disposable gloves if cleaning up any urine, feces, vomit, or cleaning the litter box. Dispose of the gloves in the trash by placing them inside a bag, and then enclosing that bag in another one (double bagging). Wash your hands after removing and disposing of the gloves.

  • Prevent pets who have been treated with chemotherapy from eliminating where children may play. (Always do this for all pets, as feces can contain harmful bacteria or parasites that could infect a child.)

  • Also discourage your dogs from eliminating where other dogs do.

  • During the first 48-72 hours after your pets' chemotherapy treatment, pick up any feces from outdoors as soon as possible, and dispose of it in the trash by double bagging it. Clean litter boxes daily and double bag what is removed. Seventy-two hours after the cat's chemotherapy treatment, completely change the litter and disinfect the litter pan.

  • Some dogs will eat the stool (or vomit) from other pets. Prevent pets from eating the stool or vomit from the pet who received chemotherapy.

  • If an "accident" occurs in the house, wear gloves and use paper towels to absorb as much of the fluid as possible. Double bag the gloves and soiled paper towel. Use bleach at a dilution of approximately 1 part bleach to 32 parts water (1/2 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water) to clean the area. For your safety and comfort, use the bleach solution in a well-ventilated area. Eye goggles and rubber gloves are also recommended.

  • Launder any pet bedding separately from that of the family.

  • If you are exposed to your pet's urine, feces or vomit, wash your skin thoroughly. If your skin becomes irritated, contact your physician.

If you are giving oral chemotherapy to a pet at home, follow these simple precautions:

  • Store the chemotherapy drugs out of the reach of children and pets. Store the medication in the original container. Do not store the medication in the kitchen or bathroom.

  • Wear gloves when handling and administering the chemotherapy drug. Wash hands after removing and disposing (double bagging) of the gloves.

  • Do not open any capsules, attempt to cut or break tablets, or dissolve them in water.

  • Do not eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum when giving the medication.

The following people should avoid handling the pet or the pet's feces, urine or vomit:

  • Young children
  • Pregnant women
  • Men and women who are attempting to conceive a child
  • Women who are breastfeeding
  • People taking immunosuppressive drugs (treatments for cancer or an immune disorder)
  • People who are immunosuppressed or seriously ill

Conclusion

By taking simple precautions, you can help to make sure you and your family have minimal exposure to any chemotherapy administered to your pet.


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Chemotherapy: Drugs Used to Treat Cancer in Dogs and Cats 
Click here for a pdf version of this article.  See related products at DrsFosterSmith.com Pet Supplies  
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