Animal Update: Chemotherapy For Pets

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Jeff Bell20100908_KCBS_0122r Jeff Bell
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(KCBS) – Pets, like humans, are at risk for cancer.

But, the same types of cancer?

“Yes and no,” explained Jennifer Scarlett, DVM, co-president of the San Francisco SPCA. “On a cellular level, humans and animals are almost identical in that we have the same weaknesses and propensity for cancer. And no, in that we see different proportions of cancer and different biological behaviors based on our age, species, gender and environmental exposure.”

“The most notable example is primary lung tumors,” she continued. “Very common in people who have smoked and relatively uncommon in our pets.”

KCBS’ Jeff Bell Reports:

The side effects of chemotherapy are well known in human cases. The same can hold true for animals.

“We use many of the similar types of drugs that are used in human chemotherapy. The difference is that as veterinarians and pet guardians, we know that our animals don’t understand remission. So we grapple with the ethics of whether or not we should put them through the side effects,” said Scarlett.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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