Dogs and Cancer

Dogs and Cancer

If you have ever considered veterinary pet insurance, you may have thought, “I won’t need this. My dog will never be sick enough to need insurance coverage.” Now consider this: there are 80 million dogs in the United States; 20 million will die of some form of cancer. That’s 1 in 4! For dog lovers, this number is staggering. In fact, cancer is the leading cause of death in American dogs. Fortunately, many veterinary pet insurance policies cover cancer treatments, ranging from chemotherapy and radiation to antiangiogenic therapy (drugs used to stop the growth of tumors/progression of cancers) and holistic/alternative options.

Cancer is an immune dysfunction disease, regardless of the species. Canine cancers do affect some breeds more than others. Below is a list of some breeds and the cancers they are most likely to develop and/or are susceptible to:

o Bernese Mountain Dog – histolytic sarcoma (soft tissue)
o Boxer – lymphoma and brain cancer
o Cocker Spaniel – lymphoma
o Golden Retriever – lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma (rare, malignant neoplasm characterized by rapidly proliferating anaplastic cells derived from blood vessels and lining blood-filled spaces.)
o Labrador Retriever – lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma
English Springer Spaniel – Mammary gland cancer
o Pug – mast cell (a connective tissue cell)
o Shar-pei – mast cell
o Greyhound – osteosarcoma (malignant primary neoplasm of bone composed of a malignant connective tissue stroma with evidence of malignant osteoid, bone, or cartilage formation)
o Rottweiler – osteosarcoma
o Collie – nasal cancer
o Scottish Terrier – transitional cell carcinoma (bladder) and melanoma
o Chow chow – stomach cancer
o Flat Coated Retriever – transitional cell carcinoma (bladder) and melanoma

As is the case with any cancer, early detection is the key, which is why annual check-ups for your dog (also covered by veterinary pet insurance) are vitally important. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, http://www.avma.org/ , early warning signs of canine cancer for which you should stay abreast include:

1. Abnormal swellings that persist/continue to grow;
2. Sores that do not heal;
3. Weight loss and appetite loss;
4. Bleeding and/or discharge from any body opening;
5. Unusual/offensive odor;
6. Difficulty eating and/or swallowing;
7. Hesitation to exercise; loss of stamina/energy;
8. Persistent lameness or stiffness;
9. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

Pets Best Insurance is located in Boise, Idaho and provides pet insurance for the healthcare of dogs and cats. Jack Stephens, DVM is the president and co-founder of Pets Best and was the original founder of pet health insurance in the United States .

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