Are we getting the complete story about canine chemotherapy? How many dog owners are aware that giving their pets these toxic drugs may potentially result in “chemo residue” being left throughout their house?
Chemo residue is a huge issue in human oncology clinics. Volumes of material have been written on this topic. It’s a huge problem. Actually, you could even call it a public health problem.
Despite the most stringent precautions, traces of these toxic chemotherapy residue has been found on counter tops and even in other parts of the medical facility, far removed from the cancer clinic, such as on computer keyboards and elevator buttons.
Chemo Transferred To Others
The American Cancer Society has published a set of guidelines for what to do when someone (a person) in your household is undergoing chemotherapy. These include:
- Having the patient use a separate bathroom, if possible. That’s because chemo drugs are excreted in the urine. When the toilet is flushed, some of the molecules will become airborne. If they aren’t inhaled, they will eventually land on surface areas. (For instance, I wouldn’t keep my toothbrush in the same bathroom used by a chemo patient, due to the problem of drug residue.)
- To protect other family members, chemo patients are advised to leave the toilet seat cover down while flushing. It is also recommended that the toilet be flushed twice, after every use.
- After washing their hands, the ACS suggests that patients use a paper towel. That’s because some of the drugs leave the body by way of the skin.
Canine Chemotherapy Drugs
Should it be any different when a dog is on chemotherapy. These drugs are largely excreted in the urine. What happens if your dog has an accident on your kitchen floor? You try to clean it up. You think you get most of it.
However, even hospitals are unable to thoroughly clean. Most of them have more cleaning resources at their disposal, compared to the average household.
So your dog has an accident on the kitchen floor. You wipe it up as best you can. Then your infant crawls across the floor. Did your veterinary practice warn you about the potential risks to humans? Let’s hope so.
Can Canine Chemotherapy Hurt Humans?
Anyway, I think you get the picture. These toxic chemicals do not stay in the body. Instead, the system (whether it’s human or canine) tries desperately to clear them, using every available means.
Although canine chemotherapy protocols are less intensive than human drug regimens, it appears as if some dogs take these drugs indefinitely. Animals also tend to lick themselves a lot. This will likely result in some level of chemicals being transferred to their fur.
Pregnant women and parents of small children need to know this, before making a decision to treat their dog’s cancer with chemotherapy.
Is Dog Chemotherapy Worth It?
We’ve seen very little published about the risks of canine chemotherapy to humans. (Or, if it is published, it’s very hard to access.)
Yet this is information pet owners deserve to have, so they can make an informed decision. Not only do they have to decide if canine chemotherapy is worth the financial outlay. They also have to determine if it poses a possible health hazard to humans living in the same house with the dog.
Please understand this is my personal opinion only. I’m not a doctor or a veterinarian. I’m just a dog Mom and a natural health blogger. If you’re interested in reading more about the potential risks of chemotherapy, I suggest doing some Internet research on chemotherapy in humans, and the possible risks to other people, who aren’t being treated with these pharmaceuticals.
When searching for articles to read, type in the term “second hand chemo.” A large number of articles will pop up. Yes, this is something’s that caught the attention of the medical community. (Also, if people in the home are going through chemo, make sure to keep a healthy pet away from soiled laundry, which should be washed separately from other clothing.)
My next post will discuss the serious issue of dog chemotherapy and human pregnancy.
Chemotherapy for Senior Dog
Just so you know, we now own an elderly dog with cancer. He has lived to the ripe old age of 16. That we’re happy about. However, then we learned he had cancer. This was very unhappy news. But we’ve decided to manage it naturally. Without drugs. Without chemo drugs.
This I know was the right decision. Our dog is very elderly. Chances are, his heart murmur will get him before the cancer does. Also, chemo is unlikely to be curative. Will it buy him more time? We don’t know. There’s very little information published on the effectiveness of cancer drugs for dogs. We do know that it’s not curative for many types of metastatic cancer in humans though.
Also, there’s the sad reality that chemo drugs are highly toxic. They don’t stay put. The rest of the family will be exposed to these toxic compounds. For a very uncertain benefit.
Plus, our dog is doing fairly well with natural remedies only. The tumor on his lower eyelid is not growing larger and the bleeding has stopped.