Retrospective assessment of tolerability and efficacy of zoledronate in the palliative treatment of cancer-bearing dogs

Aust Vet J. 2022 Nov 16. doi: 10.1111/avj.13218. Online ahead of print.


Zoledronate is a bisphosphonate frequently used for the treatment of hypercalcaemia of malignancy and tumour-associated bone pain in dogs, however, there is a paucity of information regarding its use in veterinary medicine. The aim of this retrospective study was to report the tolerability of zoledronate in the palliative treatment of cancer-bearing dogs and secondarily to to assess the efficacy of zoledronate for the treatment of hypercalcaemia of malignancy. Thirty-seven dogs (22 with tumour-associated bone pain and 15 with hypercalcaemia of malignancy) that received 114 zoledronate infusions were included. Tolerability was assessed by the absence of post-zoledronate hypocalcaemia or other adverse events as defined by Veterinary Cooperative Oncology Group-Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events criteria. Efficacy was assessed by comparison of available ionized calcium levels before and after zoledronate administration in hypercalcaemic dogs. In 79% of zoledronate infusions, no adverse events were reported. The majority of adverse events which occurred in the other 21% of infusions could be attributed to concurrent chemotherapy or the underlying neoplastic disease. There was a small but significant increase in creatinine following treatment with zoledronate, however, none of the dogs developed clinically significant renal disease. In eight hypercalcaemic dogs with available ionized calcium following zoledronate administration, ionized calcium decreased rapidly within 7 days following treatment with zoledronate. Zoledronate is well-tolerated with few recorded adverse events, however, monitoring of serum creatinine is advised. Zoledronate seems to be effective in the treatment of hypercalcaemia of malignancy.

Keywords: bisphosphonates; canine; hypercalcaemia; neoplasia; tumour.