Here at McMaster & Heap we want to take the stress out of chemotherapy for you, the owner, and your treasured friend.

We are offering a “Referral Outpatient Chemotherapy Service “whereby your pets cancer has been diagnosed and possibly surgically removed by your primary veterinarian and then we are employed, once we know what the cancer is by way of pathology, to establish what is the best chemotherapy protocol and then deliver it to your pet safely and easily.

This means we need to get your pet’s history from your primary veterinarian. We consult with Veterinary Oncologists in Australia regarding the best treatment plan for your pet’s type of cancer. They decide on the best plan taking into account your pets age, disease status and type of cancer. We discuss with you this report tailored to your pet, which includes drugs used, side effects noted, length of treatment and prognosis for survival.

If you choose to go ahead with chemotherapy, we are set up to safely  administer these potentially toxic drugs and we comply with Best Practice Safety guidelines. We can deliver these drugs to your pet as an outpatient. This means you can stay and wait as the delivery of these drugs takes about 30 minutes tops and usually sedatives are not required. Your pet is hooked up to intravenous fluids and the chemotherapeutic drugs are delivered safely via the “phaseal closed system”.

We have skilled staff in oncology to carry out this service for you. They can answer any questions you have and provide ongoing support via phone should you need it.

On a personal note, my very precious black Lab Lola, underwent 4 rounds of chemotherapy with Doxirubicin last year, to treat a malignant kidney tumour. She’d had her right kidney and associated lymph node surgically removed and then chemotherapy was recommended to mop up any malignant cells in her bloodstream. She coped brilliantly, 3 days post chemo she had diarrhea for 2-3 days then came right. She wasn’t off her food, didn’t vomit or lose her hair. Her treatments were staged 3 weeks apart. I would definitely recommend it. In my opinion there was no point putting her through an involved, difficult surgery to remove a cancerous kidney without back up chemo. She wasn’t sick, she didn’t lose any hair and she was still energetic and essentially well. She would have been dead without it I believe.

Please contact the Practice for any questions or queries you may have.


Dr Michele McMaster

McMaster and Heap Oncology Care – From one of the nurses who administer Chemotherapy

My name is Sarah, and I have been a vet nurse for 13 years; I completed my studies at Christchurch CPIT. In 2006 I travelled overseas and spent about a year and a half travelling around Canada, the States and the UK, I then moved to Melbourne with my now husband.

In Melbourne I was extremely fortunate to gain a position at a multi disciplinary specialist centre as an Oncology and Internal Medicine Nurse. I worked closely along side another nurse, two specialist veterinary oncologists and a resident. This clinic worked entirely on referrals from general practices all around Australia. We provided initial consultations for patients recently diagnosed with cancer, from there the oncologist would create a plan with the client. This would range from surgery, further diagnostic tests, screening test to see if the cancer had spread, chemotherapy, radiation and palliative care. In most cases more than one of the above would be recommended.

Unfortunately cancer is common and sometimes serious disease. Cancer can be a scary word, with many people having had a personal connection to someone that has been diagnosed with cancer and received chemotherapy and/or radiation.  Therefore I believe it is important to provide clients with clear and precise information allowing them to make informative decisions regarding their beloved pets.

I believe are that our pets are extremely fortunate that the veterinary oncology field is developing and we can provide up to date effective treatments for most cancers. Here at McMaster and Heap we want to provide a comprehensive oncology service to pets throughout Christchurch and the South Island.

If your pet has recently been diagnosed with cancer then we can help. We will work closely with your regular vet and will develop a plan best suited to you and your pet. We consult directly with Veterinary oncologist in Australia. Once the cancer has been confirmed, we will likely recommend ‘staging tests’ these can be carried out at either your regular vet or here at McMaster and Heap. The staging tests may involve one or more of the following: biopsy’s, chest x-rays, ultrasound, blood and urine tests. These tests will tell us the extent of the cancer and if it has spread. If chemotherapy is indicated then we are fully set up to administer this safely, we adhere to work safe cytotoxic regulations. Chemotherapy is administered either intravenously or orally; most cases pets tolerate chemotherapy well with only 20% experiencing minimal side effects.

Each chemotherapy protocol is tailored to individual pets and their cancer we monitor their progress and response and alter the protocol as needed. Prior to each treatment your pet will need a blood test to check their red and white cell count as well as their platelet count, chemotherapy is then given usually without the need of sedation. Most treatments take about 40 minutes and then your pet is ready to go home.