Veterinary oncologists and pet owners differ in their perceptions of chemotherapy-related adverse events in cancer-bearing dogs

Abby J. Leonardi Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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Christopher M. Fulkerson Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Institute for Cancer Research, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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Cleveland G. Shields Department of Human Development and Family Science, College of Health and Human Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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Michael O. Childress Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Institute for Cancer Research, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Chemotherapy is widely used in veterinary oncology but carries real and perceived risks of adverse events (AEs). Human cancer patients perceive AEs from chemotherapy as more severe than do their attending physicians. It is currently unknown whether this discrepancy exists in veterinary oncology. This survey study’s aim was to assess differences in the ways that pet owners and veterinary oncologists perceive chemotherapy-related AEs. We hypothesized that veterinary oncologists would accept higher grade AEs and tolerate a greater risk of AEs of any grade than pet owners.

SAMPLE

152 pet owners and 111 veterinary oncologists.

METHODS

Separate surveys were derived for pet owners and veterinary oncologists. Respondents were asked to define maximally acceptable AE scores and risks of AEs given 3 hypothetical outcomes of treatment: (1) cure, (2) extension of life, and (3) improved quality of life. Statistical tests were used to compare responses between groups.

RESULTS

Veterinary oncologists accepted higher grade AEs if the hypothetical goal of chemotherapy was cancer cure (P = .003) or extension of life (P = .026), but owners accepted higher grade AEs if the goal of chemotherapy was to improve quality of life (P = .002). Owners accepted greater risk of moderate (P < .0001) or serious (P < .0001) AEs across the 3 treatment outcomes.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

This was the first study to assess how pet owners and veterinary oncologists differ in their perception of chemotherapy-related AEs. These initial results may help to frame discussions with pet owners on the expectations of chemotherapy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Chemotherapy is widely used in veterinary oncology but carries real and perceived risks of adverse events (AEs). Human cancer patients perceive AEs from chemotherapy as more severe than do their attending physicians. It is currently unknown whether this discrepancy exists in veterinary oncology. This survey study’s aim was to assess differences in the ways that pet owners and veterinary oncologists perceive chemotherapy-related AEs. We hypothesized that veterinary oncologists would accept higher grade AEs and tolerate a greater risk of AEs of any grade than pet owners.

SAMPLE

152 pet owners and 111 veterinary oncologists.

METHODS

Separate surveys were derived for pet owners and veterinary oncologists. Respondents were asked to define maximally acceptable AE scores and risks of AEs given 3 hypothetical outcomes of treatment: (1) cure, (2) extension of life, and (3) improved quality of life. Statistical tests were used to compare responses between groups.

RESULTS

Veterinary oncologists accepted higher grade AEs if the hypothetical goal of chemotherapy was cancer cure (P = .003) or extension of life (P = .026), but owners accepted higher grade AEs if the goal of chemotherapy was to improve quality of life (P = .002). Owners accepted greater risk of moderate (P < .0001) or serious (P < .0001) AEs across the 3 treatment outcomes.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

This was the first study to assess how pet owners and veterinary oncologists differ in their perception of chemotherapy-related AEs. These initial results may help to frame discussions with pet owners on the expectations of chemotherapy.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Material S1 (PDF 372 KB)
    • Supplementary Material S2 (PDF 277 KB)
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