Next Article in Journal
Statistical Evaluations of Variations in Dairy Cows’ Milk Yields as a Precursor of Earthquakes
Next Article in Special Issue
Environmental Enrichment in Kennelled Pit Bull Terriers (Canis lupus familiaris)
Previous Article in Journal
Corporate Reporting on Farm Animal Welfare: An Evaluation of Global Food Companies’ Discourse and Disclosures on Farm Animal Welfare
Previous Article in Special Issue
Dairy Cows Produce Less Milk and Modify Their Behaviour during the Transition between Tie-Stall to Free-Stall
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Animals 2017, 7(3), 18; doi:10.3390/ani7030018

Factors Which Influence Owners When Deciding to Use Chemotherapy in Terminally Ill Pets

1
Animal Health Research Group, Hartpury University Centre, Gloucester GL19 3BE, UK
2
Veterinary Nursing Research Group, Hartpury University Centre, Gloucester GL19 3BE, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Clive J. C. Phillips
Received: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2017 / Published: 7 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Ethology and Welfare of Animals)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1815 KB, uploaded 9 March 2017]   |  

Simple Summary

Cancer is as common amongst pets as it in humans. Chemotherapy can be integrated into treatment regimes for terminally ill pets to attempt to shrink tumours to extend life expectancy, but it does not cure cancer and it can have negative side effects including vomiting, depression and behavioral changes. To date, little research has been undertaken to explore owners’ decisions whether or not to treat their animals with chemotherapy. Seventy-eight dog and cat owners completed an online questionnaire to determine if they would opt for chemotherapy if their pet was diagnosed with cancer, and asked how they thought their pet’s quality of life would be affected. Fifty-eight percent of respondents would not use chemotherapy largely due to their previous experience of it. Seventy-two percent over estimated pet survival time post chemotherapy, with most people believing it would lead to remission or a cure. Owners expected their pets to be less active, sleep more and play less, reducing their quality of life. Common side effects associated with chemotherapy were not rated as acceptable. The results suggest pet owners would benefit from an increased understanding of the positive and negative impacts of chemotherapy when initially discussing treatment options with the veterinary team.

Abstract

Chemotherapy is a commonly integrated treatment option within human and animal oncology regimes. Limited research has investigated pet owners’ treatment decision-making in animals diagnosed with malignant neoplasia. Dog and cat owners were asked to complete an online questionnaire to elucidate factors which are key to the decision making process. Seventy-eight respondents completed the questionnaire in full. Fifty-eight percent of pet owners would not elect to treat pets with chemotherapy due to the negative impact of the associated side effects. Seventytwo percent of respondents over estimated pet survival time post chemotherapy, indicating a general perception that it would lead to remission or a cure. Vomiting was considered an acceptable side effect but inappetence, weight loss and depression were considered unacceptable. Owners did expect animals’ to be less active, sleep more and play less, but common side effects were not rated as acceptable despite the potential benefits of chemotherapy. Based on the results, veterinary teams involved with oncology consultations should establish if clients have prior experience of cancer treatments and their expectations of survival time. Quality of life assessments should also be implemented during initial oncology consultations and conducted regularly during chemotherapy courses to inform client decision making and to safe guard animal welfare. View Full-Text
Keywords: veterinary medicine; oncology; client decision-making; cancer; pets veterinary medicine; oncology; client decision-making; cancer; pets
Figures

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Williams, J.; Phillips, C.; Byrd, H.M. Factors Which Influence Owners When Deciding to Use Chemotherapy in Terminally Ill Pets. Animals 2017, 7, 18.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Animals EISSN 2076-2615 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top