Think Pink! Petplan on Breast Cancer Awareness Month
America’s No. 1 pet insurance provider encourages at-home checks and frequent vet visits to help fight mammary cancer in kitties and canines
PHILADELPHIA (October 2, 2012) – As pet parents, we share everything with our furry family members: love, friendship, joy, comfort – some even share our beds! Unfortunately, we also share the same genetic basis for certain types of cancer, including breast cancer. This October, as you’re donning that pink scarf or taking part in a walk in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Petplan pet insurance urges you to consider the impact a cancer diagnosis may have on your pet – and what you can do to give her the best fighting chance of avoiding it.
When it comes to breast cancer, dogs are slightly better off than their feline friends; around 50% of canine mammary tumors are malignant, while approximately 90% are typically malignant in cats. Like cancer in humans, breast cancer that affects our pets can metastasize to other areas of the body in both species, often spreading rapidly to the lymph nodes and lungs.
And, with an increasing number of treatment options, those lumps come with a cost. According to Petplan claims data, treatment for mammary cancer – which includes surgery to remove the lump and possibly chemotherapy – averages over $1,800 per pet, with some pets bringing home vet bills as high as $16,500.
“Despite ever-improving methods of diagnosis and treatment, cancer still represents one of the most frequent causes of death in both humans and our pets,” says Dr. Jules Benson, VP of Veterinary Services for Petplan. “Fortunately, in the case of mammary cancer in cats and dogs, there are steps you can take to not only help prevent the disease, but also to detect it early on, so your pet’s prognosis can be the best possible one.”
To help pet parents keep their feminine four-legged family members cancer-free, Petplan offers the following tips:
- More Than a Feeling: Like human breast cancer, successful diagnosis and treatment depends largely on early detection. Checking your furry friend for signs of abnormal growths around the mammary glands is as easy as giving her a belly rub. When your pet is lying on her side, gently massage each teat and the surrounding tissue. Abnormalities can range from smooth, pea-sized growths to lumpy larger masses. If you think you’ve detected a lump, it’s time to visit the vet.
- Spay Away: Spaying while a pet is young has been shown to drastically reduce instances of breast cancer later in life. In fact, dogs spayed before their first heat are 50 times less likely to develop mammary tumors as they get older. For cats, the incidence of mammary tumors is reduced by 91 percent when spayed prior to six months of age, and by 86 percent in cats spayed before their first birthdays. If your pet is unspayed, call your veterinarian to discuss your options.
- Get Vetted: There are certain factors that can put pets at higher risk for developing mammary tumors, including hereditary, hormonal and environmental factors, age and diet. Veterinary visits are vital to detect early signs of illness and begin treatment. To help your vet spot anything unusual early, bring your pet in for regular check-ups and discuss your furry friend’s risk factors.
- Think Ahead: Protect your pet with pet insurance as soon as possible after you adopt or purchase her(don’t wait until she gets sick – no pet insurance provider can cover pre-existing conditions) and make sure the policy covers comprehensive cancer treatment. Pet insurance can ensure peace of mind that you won’t be faced with choosing between your pet and your pocketbook down the road, and you’ll be able to approve the treatments your veterinarian recommends to save your pet’s life without worrying about cost.
To learn more about pet insurance, visit www.GoPetplan.com.
Top-rated pet insurance provider, Petplan, is the only pet insurance company to have been included on Inc. Magazine’s list of 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in America. Petplan’s fully customizable dog insurance and cat insurance policies provide coverage for all hereditary and congenital conditions for the life of the pet as standard, and meet the coverage requirements and budget for pets of all/any age. Petplan pet insurance policies are underwritten by AGCS Marine Insurance Company in the U.S. and by Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company in Canada. The Allianz Group is rated A+ by A.M. Best (2011). For information, about Petplan pet insurance, visit www.GoPetplan.com, read the Petplan Pet Insurance Blog, or call 1-866-467-3875.