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Veterinary Pet Insurance Kicks Off Fourth Annual Pet Cancer Awareness Month

November Marks Month to Educate Pet Owners and Contribute to Research

BREA, Calif., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Once a guaranteed death sentence for pets, cancer is claiming fewer four-legged victims these days thanks to sophisticated treatments and the willingness of pet owners to pursue those treatments. Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest pet health insurer, will seek to raise national awareness about the disease this November with its fourth annual National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. VPI launched Pet Cancer Awareness Month in November 2005 to educate pet owners on the prevalence and management of cancer in pets and raise funds for research through the sale of Pet Cancer Awareness dog collars.

"Cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death in pets," said Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. "Even though nearly one in four pets will be diagnosed with cancer, few pet owners know how commonly it occurs and what treatment options exist. It only adds to the shock of the diagnosis when pet owners are unprepared for the costs. Our goal for Pet Cancer Awareness Month is to educate and empower pet owners so they can make optimal health care decisions for their pets."

Now through the end of November, visitors to will have the opportunity to purchase exclusive Pet Cancer Awareness dog collars, with all profits going directly toward advancing the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancers in pets and people. Designed specifically for Pet Cancer Awareness Month, VPI's Pet Cancer Awareness dog collars are available in sizes small to extra large and range in price from $23 to $33. All profits made from the collars will be donated to the Animal Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organization which develops and supports cancer research for pets and people.

VPI claims data from 2007 reveals that the most common cancers in dogs were lymphosarcoma (a cancer affecting the lymph system), skin tumors and osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer). Cats similarly suffered from lymphosarcoma and skin tumors, but showed higher rates than dogs for intestinal cancer and leukemia. Claims data from previous years showed almost identical trends in cancer disease rates. Combined cancer claims were the sixth most common canine and fourth most common feline medical claims submitted in 2007. The total number of canine and feline cancer-related claims in 2007 was 25,519, up from 21,881 in 2006.

"Successful treatment of pet cancer depends on early detection," said McConnell. "Routine physical examinations are essential for every pet. Additionally, pet owners should regularly monitor pets at home for symptoms that could indicate a cancerous condition. Clinical signs of cancer can include unexplained weight loss, non-healing lumps or sores, an increase or decrease in appetite, difficulty chewing or swallowing, unusually strong bodily odors, and/or exercise intolerance."

VPI Pet Insurance can help defray veterinary costs for testing and treatments should a pet develop cancer. Plans provide partial reimbursement for X-rays or biopsies to detect or assess the spread of cancer, surgery to remove cancerous growths, and radiation or chemotherapy treatments. In addition to its base medical plans, VPI offers an optional cancer rider that significantly boosts available cancer benefits should a pet require treatment. VPI's cancer coverage is renewable each year of a pet's policy, providing there are no lapses in coverage. Medical coverage also includes benefits for secondary conditions and complications related to cancer.

Pet caregivers can purchase Pet Cancer Awareness dog collars and find more information on the early warning signs of cancer by visiting

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the nation's oldest and largest pet health insurance company. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America's pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education. VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional Pet WellCare ProtectionSM for routine care is also available.

Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 2,000 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit

SOURCE Veterinary Pet Insurance
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