November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month


In 2012, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, received more than 55,000 claims for cancer diagnosis and treatment in pets – making cancer-related conditions collectively one of the most common type of medical claim received. In fact, last year, VPI policyholders spent more than $20 million on the top 10 cancer-related conditions. 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.

Throughout the month of November, VPI will donate $5 to the Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF), up to $10,000, for every photo, story or statistic shared on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #CurePetCancer. For more information about the campaign, visit

Partnering with the Animal Cancer Foundation, VPI will also host the seventh annual VPI K9K Pet Cancer Awareness Walk on Nov. 9, 2013 in Long Beach, Calif., to raise funds for pet cancer research. To date, VPI has raised more than $160,000 to benefit the ACF.

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

Cancerous Conditions


Lymphosarcoma or Lymphoma


Skin Cancer (Malignant Skin Neoplasia)


Splenic (Spleen) Cancer


Bone or Joint Cancer


Hepatic (Liver) Cancer


Thoracic (Chest) Cancer


Bladder Cancer


Brain or Spinal Cord Cancer


Peritoneal (Membrane Lining the Walls of the Abdominal and Pelvic Cavities) Cancer


Anal Gland (Sac) Cancer

Treating these pet cancers can be a heavy financial burden for pet owners. Lymphosarcoma or Lymphoma was the most expensive condition on the list, costing policyholders an average of $2,281 per pet.

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, radiation and metastasis screening.  

VPI received 7,000 more cancer-related claims in 2012 compared to 2011. "With cancer so prevalent among companion animals, it's vital that pet owners recognize the signs and symptoms of cancer in their pets," said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "Many people don't know that advances in treatment can save pets' lives, and that there are financial options available to help pay for those treatments."

Pet 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 go to