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Understanding quality of life during chemotherapy treatment of lymphoma in cats

Thornton LA, Cave N, et al. Owner perceptions of their cat’s quality of life when treated with a modified University of Wisconsin-Madison protocol for lymphoma. J Feline Med Surg.2018 Apr;20(4):356-361.

Lymphoma is the most common cancer in cats, encompassing 30% of all cat tumors and 90% of hematopoietic tumors. Chemotherapy is the primary treatment of choice for the majority of cases of feline lymphoma. Yet, a number of clients decline treatment due to concerns about a decrease in their cat’s quality of life (QofL), potential suffering and lack of a cure. Quality of life can be more important in their decision-making process about allowing treatment over longevity.

There are different chemotherapeutic protocols for consideration. It has been suggested that the QofL of cats receiving a cyclophosphamide, vincristine and prednisolone (COP) protocol might be better than that of cats receiving a doxorubicin-containing protocol (CHOP). The concern is that incorporation of doxorubicin might bring about additional adverse effects, such as myelosuppression, nausea, vomiting, anorexia and renal toxicity, all that can affect QofL.

The authors developed a quality of life questionnaire for clients whose cats were receiving a doxorubicin-containing chemotherapy for lymphoma. Clients with 33 cats who fit the criteria were contacted and twenty questionnaires were completed (62% response).

The results found that the QofL scores were comparable to a previous study using the COP protocol and using the same scoring system.  The authors conclude that although QofL scores during chemotherapy were not significantly improved over those at diagnosis, the patients tolerated the protocol and client satisfaction with the protocol was high. Appetite was definitely associated with a client’s perception of their cat’s QofL during chemotherapy, therefore, appetite should be actively monitored during treatment and any poor appetite issues addressed. (VLT)

See also:

Tzannes S. Hammond MF, et al. Owners ‘perception of their cats’ quality of life during COP chemotherapy of lymphoma. J Feline Med Surg. 2008 Feb;10(1):73-81.