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Cyclophosphamide for Cancer in Dogs

By Evan Ware, DVM

Basic Information

Cyclophosphamide is an alkylating agent that is used in veterinary medicine to treat certain types of cancers and tumors. While both dogs and cats can be treated with this medication, it is used predominantly in dogs.

Cyclophosphamide targets cancer cells and interferes with their DNA and other genetic factors to slow growth. Since they may not grow as intended, it leaves them susceptible and eventually leads to the death of the cell.

Veterinary Medicine Uses for Cyclophosphamide

Cyclophosphamide also is used to treat certain immune system disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, but only when other treatments have failed to provide successful results. It also can be used as part of a multiple-drug treatment program to treat lymphoma in dogs.

Potential Side-Effects for Cyclophosphamide

Cyclophosphamide is generally considered appropriate for use in animals, but since it is a very powerful medication, some animals can experience certain side-effects. Common side-effects are nausea, loss of appetite, bladder irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, and in some cases, bone-marrow suppression.

This medication can interfere or interact with other medications, such as digoxin, allopurinol, and phenobarbital.

Precautions for Using Cyclophosphamide

Cyclophosphamide should not be administered to an animal patient with a known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug. It also should be avoided in animals with serious active infections. This medication can be administered in certain cases where the patient has pre-existing kidney or liver problems or bone marrow problems, but extreme caution and careful monitoring should be used.

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Therapeutic Class Immunosuppressive/Antineoplastic

Dogs, Cats

May Be Prescribed by Vets for:
Use in combination with other agents as both antineoplastic and immunosuppressant

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About the Author

Dr. Evan Ware

Evan Ware, DVM

Dr. Evan Ware is a veterinary practitioner in Phoenix, Arizona. He received both his undergraduate degree in microbiology and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Ware is currently the Medical Director of University Animal Hospital (VCA) and is also the owner of two other hospitals, including Laveen Veterinary Center and Phoenix Veterinary Center. His areas of interest include orthopedic medicine and surgery, veterinary oncology and chemotherapy, and general and advanced soft-tissue surgery.