By E A Chandler; C J Gaskell; Rosalind M Gaskell; British Small Animal Veterinary Association

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These agents are frequently irritant and cause harmful local effects on direct contact with the skin or the eyes. People handling and administering these drugs should be properly instructed so they are aware of potential hazards to themselves, their clients and their patients. Data and health hazard sheets should be consulted before using any cytotoxic agent for the first time. Detailed local rules and practices should be established in the workplace for the safe handling of these substances. Cytotoxic drugs should not be handled by pregnant women.

V. once Source: Vail & MacEwen (2001). o. every other day from this point). c. twice daily over 2 days at these treatments. c lf in complete remission at week 9, continue to week 11. d If in complete remission at week 25, therapy is discontinued and cat is checked monthly for recurrence. Haematology should be performed before each cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin chemotherapy. 0 x 109/l cut-off. question its value in combined protocols (Kristal et al, 2001). Idarubicin has also recently been evaluated as an agent that can be given orally to maintain remission (Moore et al, 1995) and appears to offer similar remission times to COP.

Mechanism of action: form stable complexes with DNA, thus inhibiting DNA synthesis and transcription. These actions are not cell cycle specific. Mechanisms of resistance: decrease in membrane binding and uptake, inactivation by intracellular enzymes, multidrug resistance. Main tumour activities: broad spectrum of antitumour activity (see below). Major toxicities: myelosuppression is the major side-effect of antitumour antibiotics (with the exception of bleomycin). They also cause a dose-related gastrointestinal toxicity with anorexia, vomiting and diarrhoea.

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