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Will my chemo affect my cat?

Kristin

Animal Communicator
Sending healing thought to you Susan. I'm sure Xumi will be helpful while you go through this.
 
Susan, you probably will not get a definitive answer...I would ask the nurses and oncologist, but perhaps for the first 24 hours after chemo, I would not let the cats lick me. Chemo drugs can be excreted throughout he skin and of course, urine, but I am not sure the skin excretion is substantial...

I am sorry to hear this and wish you the best - our thoughts and prayers are with you!!! Please let us know if we can help in anyway!

Paige, thank you for your concern. I've read everything from "it's nothing to worry about", "don't let pets lick you for 24-48 hrs after treatment", to "stay away from pets during the entire course". When I asked my oncologist, he recommended staying away from all animals for the whole course. I asked why, and he said he didn't want to risk my getting infections from germs, scratches, bites, etc. Makes sense, and I'll be careful, but there's no way I'm going to avoid my furbaby. I think I'll have to work out a schedule of sleeping alone for a day or two after infusions.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
It isn't the immediate time after the infusions where you're at risk, but over time getting a series of treatments that you start becoming more susceptible. Of course, they also have treatments for that as well so again, depending on the particular agents you'll be getting your Oncologist will hopefully keep you as protected as possible.
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
I think you would balance the risk of infection from your pets against the comfort and happiness they bring you... being unhappy over not being able to be with your pets can't be good for you either.
 

Brandy DW

Missing Neka, Loving Sabriel, Nakaia, & Trance
"he didn't want to risk my getting infections from germs, scratches, bites, etc."

What in the world, you're going to encounter germs everywhere, at least with pets they give you comfort and love which is big help when you're going through something like cancer. I work at a specialty pharmacy and we have an oncology team, I've never heard a pharmacist mention "stay away from pets" or anything of the sort. That being said, it's possible that the patient just never brought it up. I would speak to the pharmacy you get the chemo medication from as to the effects of chemo (specific medication used) on pets (not a retail pharmacy as they likely deal with oncology meds a lot less), if your oncologist is the one who orders the medication and you're not sure where it's coming from just ask him or ask your insurance.

As to the chemo weakening your immune system and making you more susceptible to infection, people who take immunosuppressive medications are not encouraged to stay away from pets... It'll make the chance of an infection slightly higher over time, and make it harder to fight off infection but that doesn't mean you'll get an infection from your cats. That being said, if you do get cat bites from your cat during the time, I would consult your doctor to see if antibiotics should be recommended from the get go, just in case...

Sending healing thoughts your way, I don't know what type of cancer you have or what stage it's at and it's none of my business but hopefully the chemo will send you into remission quickly!
 

Brigitte Cowell

Moderator
Staff member
Brandy, if you work at a pharmacy with an oncology team, maybe you can ask them about this issue? Whether pets are at risk if they lick their owners...and if the owner should keep their pets away from them? they might have information at hand on how much of the chemo drugs do end up being excreted via skin, so what the danger level is?
 

Brandy DW

Missing Neka, Loving Sabriel, Nakaia, & Trance
Brandy, if you work at a pharmacy with an oncology team, maybe you can ask them about this issue? Whether pets are at risk if they lick their owners...and if the owner should keep their pets away from them? they might have information at hand on how much of the chemo drugs do end up being excreted via skin, so what the danger level is?

I don't work on the oncology team to clarify, I actually work on a different team. I can ask a pharmacist tomorrow in general could a cat or dog licking a persons skin who is taking chemo be detrimental to the animals health, but it would be a general answer. Oncology meds have different active ingredients, different levels of toxicity, and different levels of skin excretion. Also she would likely be on more medication than just the chemo, she could be on methotrexate as well, zofran for nausea, all sorts of other medications to go with the actual chemo. Those would be taken into account by a pharmacist. It would not be ethically or morally right to ask her to name the meds she would be on... That's why I encouraged her to contact the pharmacy that would be dispensing the medication, they would know more about her situation and would be able to advise accordingly.
 

SV Dad

Savannah Super Cat
FYI, folks, I am a pharmacist. The point is there really is no information about an animal being affected by chemo agents that their owners were being administered. Other than handling the medication with gloves, I would not make any specific evidence based issues with household animals.
The issue of infection risks from the animals is worth considering as immune systems can be seriously compromised during chemotherapy.
Unfortunately, the incidence of chemo therapy, is not uncommon, and I would suspect issues of related to home animals becoming affected would have had some mention in the literature by now.
Per, if you happen to read this thread, are there literature reports of issues in the veterinary field?
 
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