Cancer Ranks Fourth Among Most Common Pet Health Conditions

Veterinary Pet Insurance Promotes Education, Philanthropy Through National Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Nov 01, 2011, 09:00 ET from Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.

BREA, Calif., Nov. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In 2010, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, received more than 71,000 claims for cancer diagnosis and treatment in pets – making cancer-related conditions collectively the fourth most common type of medical claim received last year. In a continuing effort to educate pet owners about the prevalence, detection and treatment of pet cancer, VPI again recognizes November as National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Partnering with the Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF), VPI will host the VPI K9K Pet Cancer Awareness Walk on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 in Long Beach, Calif., to raise funds for pet cancer research.  

"Events like the VPI K9K Pet Cancer Awareness Walk are vital to the success of the Animal Cancer Foundation," said Barbara Cohen, executive director, ACF. "Every year, the VPI K9K generates greater public awareness about the increase in pet cancer diagnoses and the impact comparative oncology can have on treatment for pets and people."  

VPI launched National Pet Cancer Awareness Month in 2005, calling attention to the number one disease-related killer of dogs and cats. Below are the 10 most common cancer-related claims received by VPI in 2010:

Cancerous Conditions


Lymphosarcoma or Lymphoma


Skin Cancer (Malignant Skin Neoplasia)


Splenic (Spleen) Cancer


Bone or Joint Cancer


Eyelid Cancer


Hepatic (Liver) Cancer


Thoracic (Chest) Cancer


Bladder Cancer


Brain or Spinal Cord Cancer


Oral (Mouth) Cancer

Treating these pet cancers can be a considerable financial burden. In 2010, VPI policyholders spent more than $26.4 million on the top 10 cancer-related conditions. Cancer of the brain or spinal cord was the most expensive on the list, costing policyholders an average of $720 for the diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment options. For those who opted to pursue surgical treatments for this condition, policyholders incurred $2,642 on average. To ensure that VPI policyholders are able to pursue optimal cancer treatment, VPI's medical policies include benefits for the diagnosis and treatment of cancerous conditions, including chemotherapy and radiation when necessary.  

"It's important for people to realize the prevalence of this disease among companion animals," said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "Pet owners should become familiar with the signs and symptoms of pet cancer, as well as consider the financial responsibilities involved with the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. Whether it's through a savings account, additional credit and/or pet insurance, financial preparation is key."      

Cancer Detection Tips

To detect cancer early, pet owners should be attentive to any growing lump or sore that fails to heal. They should also monitor their pet for 1) drastic changes in the pet's appetite or weight; 2) unusually strong odors coming from a pet; 3) discharge or bleeding from any body opening; 4) difficulty chewing or swallowing; or 5) an unwillingness to exercise.

Further detection tips and information on National Pet Cancer Awareness Month, as well as registration information for the Long Beach VPI K9K Pet Cancer Awareness Walk, can be found by visiting For more information on the Animal Cancer Foundation, please visit

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

With more than 485,000 pets insured nationwide, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the No. 1 veterinarian-recommended pet health insurance company and is a member of the Nationwide Insurance family of companies. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America's pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education. VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional CareGuard® coverage is available for routine care.

Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 2,500 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. Pet owners can find VPI Pet Insurance on Facebook or follow @VPI on Twitter. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

About Animal Cancer Foundation

Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer by funding research in and increasing public awareness of comparative oncology, the study of naturally occurring cancers in pets and people. ACF provides research grants to medical and veterinary oncology professionals studying comparative oncology models. ACF does not fund studies that would induce cancer in pets. Clinical trials are offered to pet owners in their local oncology practices. ACF serves as a preeminent resource in educating the public and scientific communities to the value of the comparative oncology model not only to discover valuable new ways to treat cancer in pets, but that these advances may lead to more effective, less toxic therapies for people.

SOURCE Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.