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Dr. Amy
Dr. Amy, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 266
Experience:  9yrs. experience in small animal medicine, surgery, and dentistry.
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We are administering Chlorambucil to our cat at a dose of a

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We are administering Chlorambucil to our cat at a dose of a half pill every other day. The pills must be split in half here at home. Our vet told us to use gloves to handle this medication. After reading online about safe handling (scary but not very thorough), we are concerned about the residual that might be on the pill bottle, the pill splitter, the refrigerator door handle, or other areas that we may touch with gloved hands after handling the pills. Is a thorough hand washing enough to protect us? Is it safe to throw the vinyl gloves in the trash or should they be disposed of as hazardous waste or incinerated? We are very concerned.

Hello and thank you for your question!


I just wanted to ask a couple things.


Why is your cat on chlorambucil? Is it the 2mg tablet you are cutting half? How much does your cat weigh?

Are there any children in the home?

Are there any pregnant women in the home?

Are there any people in the home on chemotherapy or have bone marrow disease?


I will wait for your reply. Thanks!

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Our 13 year old cat weighs between 8 and 9 pounds (much thinner now than before he got sick). He was diagnosed with lymphoma after the Dr. did an ultrasound and found a large mass growing on his kidney and then did a needle aspiration. We cut the 2 mg tablet in half. He also takes prednisone twice a day and an antifungal to fight a fungal infection in his nostril. There are no children or pregnant women and no one on chemo or who has bone marrow disease. Just my husband and I (50's). But...if it's significant, my husband had Lymphocytic lymphoma in his early 20's, but it's been over 30 years since he was cured.

Thank you for the additional information.


Many pet owners give this medication to their cats. I have had many clients give it with no problems to their own health. Also, I have not heard of any person having a problem from giving this medication to their cat. But, anything is possible. In general, I tell my clients to take precautions. It is more a situation of better safe than sorry. It is better to handle the drug carefully and educate owners so they have a healthy respect for the medicine.


Since I am not a human doctor, I can't comment on your husband's previous medical history and handling chlorambucil. You could always check with your family physician. One extra precaution to take is for him to not administer the medication.


The reason that clients are cautioned when handling chlorambucil is because it is an alkylating agent. This is a type of chemotherapy drug that can be carcinogenic (cancer causing) and teratogenic (damaging to a fetus).


I recommend that owners handle the medication with gloves and wash hands immediately afterward. Children; women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or nursing, and immunocompromised people should not handle the medication at all.


Tablets should NOT be split or crushed. For the most part, the drug is broken down into inactive ingredients before it is eliminated from the body in feces, but trace amounts of intact drug might be present in feces, urine, and possibly saliva (especially right after oral administration).


I do not routinely recommend limiting contact with the cat (kind of defeats the goal of quality of life), but I do recommend that gloves be worn when scooping or cleaning the litter box.
And anyone who shouldn't be touching the drug shouldn't be handling the litter.

The risk to the you is minimal, but with these simple precautions, the risk can be almost zero.


So, for your situation you may want to discuss with your vet the possibility of changing the dosing schedule so you do not need to split the tablets. The tablets have a coating on them. When you split them, there is more likely of exposure to the medication.


Another option would be to consider injectable chemotherapy administered at your vet. Not all vets that are not oncologists are comfortable with the dosing or administration, but you could ask.


Here is an article about chlorambucil:


Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. I am here to help.

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