01669-A: Determining the Role of Bacterial Infection in Complications after Chemotherapy

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $6,115.39
Dr. Jonathan F Bach, DVM, University of Wisconsin, Madison
May 1, 2011 - April 30, 2014
Sponsor(s): Westie Foundation of America, Inc.
Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Oncology

Abstract

Since cancer cells lack the normal response to 'stop replicating' signals, the approach to treatment of this cellular proliferation is use of chemotherapeutic agents that target rapidly dividing cells. However, the use of chemotherapy also targets the patient's own normal rapidly dividing cells (e.g., bone marrow and gastrointestinal tract). Therefore, patients receiving chemotherapy are often immune-suppressed (low white cell count) and have a weakened natural barrier (gastrointestinal tract cell death). As a result, chemotherapy patients are highly susceptible to life-threatening infections from overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria already present in their body, or to other community- or hospital-acquired infections. Collection of samples such as blood or urine for culture and sensitivity are standard protocol for human chemotherapy patients suspected of having an infection. In veterinary medicine, data are lacking of the basic incidence of bacterial infection in such patients, and what types of bacteria are most common in immune-suppressed cancer patients receiving chemotherapy is undocumented. Therefore it is difficult to ascertain which antibiotics will be the most useful. The primary purpose of this observational study is to determine the frequency and type of bacteria in the blood and urine of dogs receiving chemotherapy, and to determine whether there is a difference in either the incidence or types of organisms found in cancer patients with low white blood cell counts with or without fever. Dr. Bach hypothesizes that chemotherapy patients with fever and low white blood cell counts will more frequently have bacteria isolated from urine or blood samples compared to those without fever.

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