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November Marks Fifth Annual National Pet Cancer Awareness Month
Date:10/29/2009

BREA, Calif., Oct. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Cancer is not strictly a "human" condition. As the No. 1 disease-related killer of dogs and cats, cancer claims millions of pets each year. This November, Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, will seek to increase awareness about the prevalence, detection and treatment of pet cancer during its fifth annual Pet Cancer Awareness Month. To raise funds for pet cancer research, VPI has partnered with the Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF) and organized its third annual VPI K9K Pet Cancer Awareness Walk in Long Beach, Calif. on Nov. 14. VPI also provides pet cancer detection tips and urges ACF donations through the purchase of pet cancer awareness collars and wristbands at www.petinsurance.com/cancer.

VPI started Pet Cancer Awareness month in 2005 after noticing that cancer diagnoses often caught pet owners by surprise. Many either did not know their pets could develop cancer or underestimated the cost to treat cancerous conditions. In 2008, VPI received nearly 30,000 claims for pet cancer. The most common form of pet cancer, lymphosarcoma, made up about a fifth of those claims. Other common forms of pet cancer included: mast cell tumors, fibrosarcomas (which stem from connective tissues), and hemangiopericytomas (a tumor generally located on a limb). Other types of neoplasias --defined as a growth or tumor--were commonly found on the liver, spleen or eyelid.

Overall, cancer claims were the sixth most common type of medical claim received by VPI in 2008. According to VPI's claims data, which draws from a population of more than 474,000 insured pets, following are the 10 most common types of cancer found in dogs and cats:

                  Top Pet Cancer Claims in 2008
                  -----------------------------
    1. Lymphosarcoma             6. Neoplasia - Liver
    2. 
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SOURCE Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.
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