Cancer Diagnosis in Pets: Growing Health Concern | PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

Cancer Diagnosis in Pets is a Growing Health Concern

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
2 years ago

PetFirst discusses diagnosis and the treatment of cancer in dogs and cats, plus how pet insurance can help in your pet’s care.

Cancer diagnosis in pets has become as common as it is for humans.  Cancer accounts for almost half of the deaths of pets over the age of 10, primarily in dogs, while cats see fewer diagnosis.  PetFirst offers pet owners more information on the different stages of cancer and the treatment options to keep in mind when faced with the illness.

According to the American Humane Association, cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs with one in every two dogs developing the disease.  Of those, one in four will die as a result of the cancer.  The numbers for cats diagnosed with cancer are not as extreme; however, the reasons vary based on less cats being seen by a veterinarian on a regular basis.

The first step in the fight against cancer for pets is prevention and awareness.  Prevention can be as simple as routine visits to the veterinarian to have your pet examined.  Blood and fecal tests, as well as a physical exam can show changes from visit-to-visit, allowing your veterinarian to monitor your pet’s overall health.  As a pet parent, also be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer, paying close attention to changes in your pet’s behaviors.  A few specific items to watch include:

  • Not eating or eating infrequently
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in their urine
  • Losing weight
  • Lethargic
  • Inability to be comfortable when resting, restlessness

Certain breeds of dogs are more likely to develop cancer, even specific cancers.  A few of the top breeds include:

  • Greyhounds are prone to Bone cancer
  • Scottish terriers are prone to Bladder cancer
  • Pugs are prone to Mast cell cancer
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to Histiocytic sarcoma
  • Boxers are prone to Brain cancer
  • Collies are prone to Nasal cancer
  • Chow Chows are prone to Stomach cancer
  • Golden retrievers are prone to Hemangiosarcoma and Lymphoma
  • Labrador retrievers are prone to Hemangiosarcoma and Lymphoma
  • Poodles are prone to Mammary tumors (incidence greatly reduced in dogs neutered prior to puberty which is six months to one year of age)

With cats, the breed isn’t as much a factor in the diagnosis as the type of cancer such as:

  • Injection-site sarcoma
  • Oral cancers
  • Lymphoma
  • Feline leukemia
  • Mammary tumors (incidence of mammary tumors greatly reduced in cats neutered prior to puberty which is six months to one year of age)

Once your pet has been diagnosed with cancer, there are several treatment options that can prolong your pet’s life.  One treatment option is the removal of the mass through surgery.  In some cases, removing the mass resolves the problem and the pet is considered cured.  In other instances, chemotherapy may be required, even radiation therapy is an option.  The bottom line in the care of your pet is maintaining the highest quality of life for the longest time possible.

Maintaining that quality of life for your pet can become expensive, even cost prohibitive for some families.  A pet health insurance plan can assist with those expenses.  It is important to establish a pet insurance policy early, prior to any cancer diagnosis or symptoms.

The Lifetime Accident and Illness policy options with PetFirst cover chronic and hereditary conditions, including various treatments for cancer.  Policy options range from $5,000 to $20,000 in coverage with no per-incident limit and most claims are reimbursed within 10 days of being submitted.

Dog wearing a white piece of paper around his neck, and the paper says, "I've been cancer free for 8 months."

Securing a pet insurance policy is easy and can be done either online or by phone.  To find PetFirst, visit www.petfirst.com or call 1-855-270-7387 and a representative will customize a personal insurance plan for you and your pet.

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