Frequently Asked Questions

What are some warning signs of illness or cancer in pets?
Please refer to the *Warning Signs of Illness or Cancer in Pets* and visit 
your Veterinarian if your pet has any of the signs listed.

Will my pet get sick from chemotherapy?

The drug dosages used in veterinary medicine do not cause side effects in the majority of animals. However, there is a slight risk of side effects and a small percentage of animals may become ill after chemotherapy. Most side effects occur during the first 72 hours after therapy and last only a few days. Usual side effects can include lethargy, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. If your pet does have side effects, the drug type or dosage will be modified to minimize the chance of side effects recurring. Our clients are sent home with a Cancer Care Package at their first visit. The package contains medications that can be administered to their pets at home to treat these side effects if they occur.

Will my pet's fur or whiskers fall out with chemotherapy?

Most animals do not experience fur loss. However, shaved areas will grow back slowly. Cats can lose their whiskers and guard hairs. Dogs that need to be clipped and groomed, such as poodles, bichons, malteses, etc., are likely to have mild to moderate hair loss. The hair loss tends to be worse following treatment with Adriamycin. The hair will re-grow once the treatments have finished. Occasionally the hair will grow back a different texture or color. This is a cosmetic side effect only and does not negatively impact the quality of your pet's life.

What diet should I feed my pet with cancer?

For cancer patients we suggest a low carbohydrate diet, following the concept that cancer cells readily use sugar. We suggest canned food in preference to dry foods. Use high quality store brand diets or prescription diets. If your pet prefers dry food choose a line of no grain dry food. If you are able to incorporate whole fresh foods like chicken, fish, cottage cheese, canned pumpkin, dark green leafy vegetables into their meals that is a very healthy approach to the best nutrition possible while their immune systems work hard to fight their disease. If your pet does not enjoy eating green vegetables whole, you can put the cooked green vegetables into a blender with some chicken broth and make a slurry. Then adding several tablespoons of the green slurry into yout pet's regular food each meal can help your pet get their "green" nutrition much easier.

What snacks can I feed my pet with cancer?

Try to keep your pet on a low carbohydrate diet. This includes snacks. Suggested snacks include frozen fish fillets( not breaded), turkey and other lunchmeats cut into bite sized slices, meatballs, meatloaf, chicken, and other meats cut into small pieces.

Can my pet exercise if diagnosed with cancer?

With few exceptions, your pet should be able to enjoy life and participate in routine exercise. Follow your pet’s lead for normal walks, jogging, swimming or hikes. If he/she seems sluggish or less enthusiastic, then skip or modify the exercise to accommodate your pet’s level of energy. Be observant during exercise in case your pet becomes compromised.

Can my pet be vaccinated while receiving chemotherapy?

We do not recommend vaccinating your pet during chemotherapy. Your pet's immune system may be compromised to both the cancer and the chemotherapy, and it is unknown whether your pet will have the normal beneficial response to the vaccine. Vaccines stimulate the immune system and we do not want your pet's immune system unnecessarily challenged. We can request a Vaccine Deferment on your pet’s behalf in the city in which you live.

Can flea and tick control or heartworm prevention be used while the pet is receiving chemotherapy?

Yes. However, our rule of thumb is treat your pet with the minimal amount of product needed to treat the specific vectors for your area. For example, if ticks and mosquitoes are not an issue use a plain flea product only.

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As of February 1, 2021, Dr. Alice Villalobos is now fully retired from practice.  Please contact your primary care veterinarian for oncology referrals.  Thank you

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