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Comprehensive Guide To Leukeran For Cats and Dogs
What Is Leukeran?
Leukeran is the brand name of the drug, called Chlorambucil. It is a medicine that suppresses the immune system and is used in the treatment of cancers like lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, and more.
What Causes Cancer in Dogs and Cats?
Cancer is a tricky illness. It can be a genetic disorder, or it can be caused by environmental issues. While the exact cause of the relationship between old age and cancer remains unclear, many vets have observed that dogs and cats have an increased tendency to develop cancer when they are older.
Just like in humans, if your dog or cat has had cancer in their family, they are more likely to develop cancer themselves. Some breeds of dogs like Golden Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Rottweilers, and Boxers are predisposed to getting cancer. Additionally, there are environmental factors that increase the chances of your pet getting cancer.
These environmental factors are excessive exposure to the sun's UV rays, second-hand tobacco smoke, extreme smog, and air pollution. All contribute to the formation of cancer cells in your cat or dog. The risk of cancer increases if your cat or dog is exposed to pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides that are frequently used in agriculture.
There are a few substances around the house or home environment that are carcinogenic. These substances are uranium, radon, vinyl chloride, nickel, benzidine, cadmium, and asbestos. Not only is asbestos carcinogenic for your dogs and cats, but it is highly hazardous for humans as well!
Cancer can be transmitted during sexual intercourse. If you mate your dog, make sure their partners are checked for canine transmissible venereal tumors. Some viruses can cause cancer in cats and dogs.
What Are Some Symptoms of Cancer in Dogs and Cats?
There are so many different types of cancers that it can be challenging to find specific symptoms that are unique to only cancer. However, some signs that you can look out for. If there are any lumps or growths on your dog or cat that were not there before, you should get it checked out by a vet.
Oddly enough, ear infections and teary eyes can be symptoms of tumors. Growths on your pet's mouth area, including inside the mouth like on the tongue, can be symptoms of oral cancer. The development of cancer can cause behavioral changes. Your cat or dog can become irritated or fearful and shun contact.
Unfortunately, many of these symptoms overlap with other medical conditions. If you suspect your dog or cat has cancer, the surefire way to get an answer will be at the vet.
How Does Leukeran Help?
Chlorambucil is typically used to treat the painful symptoms of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and malignant lymphomas. This includes Hodgkin's disease, lymphosarcoma, and giant follicular lymphoma. Vets can use Leukeran for cats to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Leukeran helps to ease symptoms like polydipsia, polyuria, persistent fever, bruising, and enlarged lymph nodes.
Leukeran is not considered a cure for cancer. However, while they get treatment to rid themselves of cancer, Chlorambucil can increase the quality of life for your pet.
What are the precautions I should take before giving Leukeran to my pets?
You should determine if your cat or dog has any resistance to Chlorambucil before starting this medication. Additionally, you should not give Leukeran to pets who have had adverse reactions to this medicine before.
If your dog is on any other long term medication, you should go over the list with your vet before starting your pet on Leukeran. This includes supplements and vitamins, as your vet knows which drugs or conditions can affect the efficiency of Leukeran.
Are There Leukeran Side Effects I Should Know?
Most drugs that treat severe conditions come with a few side effects. When you give your pet Leukeran, you might notice that the severity of the side effects peak a week or two after you start the initial dose. Reviews say that the severity tapers off after that.
In dogs, you might notice your furry friend's fur is becoming sparse, and it looks very different from before. The coat becomes dull and patchy. Usually, this is a minor side effect that does not need further intervention. Some side effects indicate a severe problem.
These include a loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, twitching in the eye or face, bleeding, vomiting, bruising, and diarrhea. Along with this, if your pet experiences any seizures or epileptic episodes, you need to contact your vet immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does This Need a Prescription?
Yes, Leukeran is a prescription medication. Because it is used to alleviate the symptoms of cancer, you should never administer it on your own. If you think your cat, dog, or horse has cancer, you should contact your vet for confirmation and treatment.
Can This Be Used on Other Animals?
Vets commonly use Leukeran for extra-label use in dogs, cats, and horses. If you have exotic pets, you should make sure they are never given this prescription medicine without a vet's supervision.
How Should I Store Leukeran?
Leukeran should be stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
What Are the Dosage Guidelines for Leukeran in Dogs and Cats?
Leukeran is a prescription medicine and has a wide variety of uses. The dosage for your pet will depend on what condition they have, the severity of that condition, and the overall health and unique characteristics of your dog. Please stick to whatever dosage your et has recommended for you as it can vary widely.
Please note: Leukeran must be refrigerated and will be shipped overnight automatically.
Side Effects & Warnings
If your pet exhibits bruising, bleeding, infection, difficulty breathing, or low-energy, contact your veterinarian as these symptoms may be due to anemia or a bleeding disorder. Other side effects may include: low white blood cell count, low platelet count, damage to the gastrointestinal tract, bone marrow suppression, damage to the kidneys or liver, blood cell deficiency, lung disease, infertility in males, and hair loss in some breeds. Contact your veterinarian if you notice anything unusual.
Talk to your veterinarian and use with caution pregnant or young pets. Not for use in pets with pre-existing bone marrow suppression, already immune suppressed pets, or pets with chronic infections. Tell your veterinarian if your pet has experienced any medical diseases or conditions, digestive upset, or allergic reactions to Chlorambucil or similar products.
Tell your veterinarian about any other medications, vitamins, or supplements that your pet is taking. Possible drug interactions include: azathioprine, allopurinol, amphotericin B, colchicine, chloramphenicol, corticosteroids, and cyclophosphamide.
Each tablet contains 2mg Chlorambucil
Leukeran, a derivative of the nitrogen mustard chemical group is a veterinary medication used in treating leukemia as well as Hodgkin’s disease in dogs and cats. Recognized as the alkylating agent, the medication is also effective in the management of the cancer affecting lymphatic system and tumors. The drug is also used in treating certain other immune-mediated conditions in animals. Leukeran, the active ingredient present in the medication is an antineoplastic and immunosuppressant, which acts by connecting DNA strands to modify protein formation. The medication also augments the production of lymphocytes, thus proving effective in the management of diseases that affects the immune system of animals, especially in cats. Leukeran is available only by prescription and comes in 2mg sugar coated tablets.
The conditions for which the animals are being treated differ, so is the dosage, frequency and duration of medication. Always follow the directions provided by your veterinarian.
However, dogs are usually prescribed a dosage of 0.1mg/lbs to be provided orally for about two weeks. In cats, it is 0.05-0.1mg/lbs daily. In either case, continue the medication till the prescribed duration, even if the animal is registering steady improvement.
This medication is administered by mouth. Wear gloves when handling this medication. As a cancer drug, the usual dose is once a day, once every other day, or every 2-3 weeks. As an immunosuppressant, the usual dose is once a day or once every other day.
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