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Chemotherapy “In-House”: How to Out Common Medical Oncology Treatments Safely, Without Referral

04 Jul 2024
Small Animal Vet Stream

In this lecture we will cover the essential, practical aspects of administering common cytototoxic drugs in practice, such as those commonly used to treat a pet with lymphoma.

But first things first.  “We haven’t got the facilities to give chemo here” is a phrase with which oncology specialists hear a lot!  Actually, not having “facilities” doesn’t have to be a barrier to the safe use of cytotoxic drugs; all you need to give chemotherapy safely is a person with the willingness to treat, a helpful assistant, a single-use closed-system transfer device and the correct PPE.  A quiet, secluded area of the building is also important, but expensive items like a fume-cupboard are not!  Since you can buy pre-loaded syringes of cytotoxic drugs, along with one treatment’s worth of closed system transfer devices and PPE on next-day delivery, the need for expensive purchases is abrogated. 

Once you have a working knowledge of the closed-system transfer device of your choice, the next step is to understand the particulars of the drugs you intend giving.  There is not a large amount of information you need to know about each drug, but understanding certain points is essential.  Happily such information can be readily accessed within texts for example the BSAVA formulary.  And once you are in possession with knowledge of the drug and knowledge of the CSTD you are ready to go – all the rest, including details of what blood tests or urine tests you need, and when, should fall into place!  

Key Learning Objectives

  • List the equipment needed to safely administer cytotoxic drugs in practice.
  • Describe important safety measures to prevent exposure of  yourself or your staff to cytotoxic drugs. 
  • Describe appropriate pre-and post-chemo monitoring tests for commonly-used cytotoxic medications.
Speakers
Owen Davies - Bristol Vet Specialists
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