Handling Chemotherapy

Whenever handling chemotherapy medications or caring for patients that have received chemotherapy, there are some general precautions that should be taken to minimize the potential for human exposure to the drugs.

  1. When handling the drugs, you should wear protective gloves and wash your hands well after handling them.  We will provide you with gloves for those drugs that are to be given only once or over several days.  For those medications that are to be administered on an ongoing basis, you should purchase exam gloves at your local drugstore to use.
  2. Tablets should not be split, crushed, or dissolved as this may disrupt the protective film coating that many of the drugs have.
  3. Capsules should be administered whole, and not opened when given.
  4. Many of the drugs can be given with food or in food.  It is important if it is given in food, to make sure your pet eats the entire dose.
  5. If a tablet or capsule becomes moistened, crushed, or broken while giving it to your pet, you should wear gloves when re-administering the drug.
  6. Drugs should not be handled by children or by women that are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or who are nursing.
  7. Keep the drugs in the prescription vial or original packaging, outside of the reach of children and pets.
  8. Any remaining drug that is not to be used should be brought back to your veterinarian for proper disposal.
  9. Chemotherapy can be eliminated in the urine and feces following treatment, particularly for the first 48 hours.  In order to avoid any possible exposure, we recommend that you wear gloves and wash your hands well after cleaning up after your pet.  This includes when cleaning a litter box.  You should also take care that your pet does not eliminate in the areas where children may play.
  10.  If the bedding becomes soiled during the first 48 hours, you should wear gloves
    while handling the bedding and wash it separately in hot water.
  11. If your pet has received oral chemotherapy within the past 6-12 hours and
    vomits, we also recommend that you wear gloves while cleaning up after your pet, and wash your hands well.