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Objective

To quantify owner concerns regarding clinical signs in canine patients receiving chemotherapy and to assess degree of concordance between client and veterinarian concerns regarding patient quality of life.

Methods

Retrospective analysis of owner-reported concerns during chemotherapy treatment. Owner-reported adverse events were recorded sequentially for each patient through a partially open design questionnaire and correlated with veterinary patient summaries for each visit. Canine patients treated for transitional cell carcinoma, haemangiosarcoma, malignant melanoma or osteosarcoma were eligible for inclusion. Minimum treatment eligibility was two chemotherapy treatments given in 21-day protocol cycles, with a maximum of six treatment cycles recorded.

Results

A total of 553 evaluable visits, seen by 18 oncology clinicians, were assessed. Owners expressed concern before chemotherapy in 48% of visits. Owner concerns at the first visit did not differ significantly from those expressed at the sixth visit. Remission status was a significant factor in owners’ rate of reporting concerns. Diarrhoea grade was associated with owners’ concerns. Clinician gender was not associated with responsiveness to owners’ concerns.

Clinical Significance

Questionnaire-based surveys appear to be an effective tool for communicating dog owners’ concerns regarding chemotherapy and potentially for monitoring a clinician's attentiveness. Owners expressed concerns at approximately half of chemotherapy appointments.