Objectives: To describe the range and frequency of cytotoxic drugs prescribed within UK veterinary practices to treat dogs and cats with cancer, determine the effect of practice demographic variables on this practice and determine the frequency with which intravenous catheters were used during administration of parenteral cytotoxic drugs.
Methods: A postal survey of 1838 veterinary practices providing care for dogs and cats within the UK.
Results: Prescription of cytotoxic drugs to treat dogs and cats with cancer during the preceding 12 months was reported by 70·8 per cent practices. The most widely prescribed agents were cyclophosphamide (65·4 per cent) and vincristine (63·5 per cent). Twenty-three per cent of responding practices had prescribed an antitumour antibiotic and 8·3 per cent had prescribed a platinum agent. The median frequency of prescription was between once a month and once every three months. Increasing frequency and range of cytotoxic drug prescription were associated with practice employment of higher numbers of veterinary surgeons and increased levels of pet insurance among practice clients. Almost a quarter of practices administering vesicant parenteral cytotoxic drugs failed to always use intravenous catheters to do so.
Clinical Significance: Prescription of cytotoxic drugs, and therefore the potential for occupational exposure of staff, was widespread among UK veterinary practices providing care for dogs and cats.