Pet Cancer Answers: What You Should Know

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What is Cancer?

Cancer is a broad term used to describe cells within the body that are growing and dividing in an abnormal manner and rate. Healthy cells go through a cycle in which they grow and divide as the body needs new cells. Abnormal cells grow and divide at uncontrolled rates,often forming tumors or masses. These growths can be either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

In some cases, the cancer cells do not form growths; instead they affect the blood, which circulates abnormal cells throughout the body.

Is My Pet at Risk?

It may surprise you to know that cancer is the #1 disease-related killer of pets. Though pets of any age can develop the disease, it is generally more common in adult and older animals. Also, certain breeds of dogs and cats have a higher incidence of some types of cancers. Talk to your veterinarian about risk factors that may affect your pet. Early detection of pet cancer is critical for successful treatment and recovery.

Don’t Delay Detection and Diagnosis

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Regular check-ups play an important role in the early detection and diagnosis of cancer. Twice yearly wellness exams and annual blood screenings can catch problems before they become more serious, improving the odds of effectively treating pet cancer. If there is cause for concern, your veterinarian may recommend additional X-rays, ultrasound or other diagnostic tests.

Lumps and Bumps

Not all tumors or growths are cancerous. Sometimes they can be as simple as a mass of fatty tissue (also known as a lipoma). To be safe, see your veterinarian if you notice any lumps on your pet’s body. Cat owners should look for lumps that appear at the site of a vaccination or injection, as these may signal a problem. However, cancer can also affect parts of the body that you can’t see, like the blood or internal organs. That’s why it’s important to make sure your pet receives regular exams, so that problems can be detected and treated early.

Financial Protection Against Pet Cancer

VPI medical plans already include some cancer coverage for conditions such as skin cancer, bone cancer and leukemia. For those seeking more protection, VPI offers a Cancer Rider, which increases the policy’s reimbursement benefits.

This rider is not available online. Please call 866-VET-PETS for more details.

Further Reading:

Is Pet Cancer Treatable?
Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, there are more options for treating pets with cancer, helping improve their longevity and quality of life.

Common Cancer Terms 
Become familiar with these descriptions before seeing your veterinarian.

Pet Cancer Early Warning Signs 
Contact your veterinarian if your dog or cat displays any of these signs. Remember, early detection is critical in the fight against pet cancer!

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